What Does A White Paper Look Like?
Your white paper must be simple to navigate. Sections ought to naturally lead into one another. Use formatting to make your white paper skimmable, and graphics to attract consideration to the important thing factors you’re making.
Listed here are the important thing elements white papers usually have:
- Title web page
- Desk of contents
- Government abstract
- Sections and subsections
- Graphics, charts, and/or sidebars
- About your organization
Align Your White Paper To Strategic Enterprise Values
1. Know Your Viewers
“Write for pay scale, not demographics.” That is what Jimmy Daly, co-founder of Superpath, wrote in an Animalz article. Pay scales outline how tactical or strategic the knowledge must be to enchantment to your goal reader:
Which means your goal reader wants various kinds of data inside the identical matter relying on whether or not they’re a pacesetter or an implementer. Leaders want technique and frameworks to assume inside, whereas implementers want hands-on techniques and instructions.
To be taught extra about your target market, we suggest studying:
2. Know Your Enterprise Experience & Strengths
White papers are a type of thought management — content material that positions your small business as a good supply in your business. They provide the likelihood to spotlight your strengths.
However, how are you aware what topic areas your small business excels at? Carry out a SWOT evaluation.
Throughout a SWOT evaluation, you determine the strengths, weaknesses, alternatives, and threats your small business faces. You’ll be able to persist with the strengths and alternatives whenever you carry out one to determine your experience.
Take into consideration the matters you recognize extra about than your competitors (strengths), and brainstorm topics your competitors doesn’t cowl (alternatives).
3. Select A Matter That Intersects Viewers Wants & Enterprise Strengths
For the very best likelihood of white paper success, select matters that your small business makes a speciality of that your viewers additionally cares about.
At CoSchedule, we name this strategy the content material core. It balances your focus between visitors and promotion.
Once you use the content material core to determine in your white paper matters, everybody wins. Your clients get content material they need to learn, and also you unfold the phrase about your small business.
And that mixture results in your ultimate clients getting extra information about your product, taking them via the advertising funnel.
4. Analysis Your Matter
Begin with inner analysis and collect all proprietary data that helps your matter. This consists of:
- Outcomes out of your purchasers or clients, like buyer success tales
- Unpublished buyer interviews
- Anecdotes out of your gross sales and customer support groups
- Viewers surveys (for instance, our advertising statistics report is predicated on a survey we ran)
- Quantitative information out of your person base (for instance, Mailchimp makes use of their person information to publish e-mail advertising benchmarks)
- When you’ve got the time and assets: your individual analysis research (Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media Studios has a implausible information to get you began)
Then, leap into exterior analysis. It will rely in your business, however listed here are some preliminary factors to begin:
Be aware of all the things that aligns together with your matter. Proper now, you may’t know which information factors or examples you’ll use, so it pays off to maintain observe of something fascinating.
5. Outline The Drawback Your Viewers Wants To Clear up
Return to the viewers analysis you carried out in step one and consider issues your clients face that your white paper matter may remedy. By understanding the problems your clients have associated to your matter, you’ll have the ability to current your white paper as the answer.
Ask your self these questions to search out issues associated to your matter that your viewers faces:
- What data gaps does my viewers have on this matter?
- How does this matter problem my viewers of their enterprise day-to-day?
- What worries in regards to the future does my viewers have associated to this matter?
- What troubles does my viewers have implementing this matter of their enterprise?
6. Outline The Answer Your White Paper Gives
Now that you recognize the problems your clients face associated to your matter, you may create an angle to your white paper. Take into account how one can share data about your matter to resolve your viewers’s drawback.
Let’s have a look at how Deloitte presents an answer in its 2022 Retail Trade Outlook white paper’s introduction.
It begins by presenting the issue: Retailers have to preserve remodeling their companies within the face of pandemic-fueled change.
Then, it offers the answer of informing retailers about 2022 tendencies to allow them to preserve their companies on the correct course sooner or later.
Plan Your White Paper Writing & Formatting
7. Write Key Factors In A White Paper Define
Depart notes for your self to quote references and sources. Writing from a content material define helps you’re employed sooner and crush author’s block.
Right here’s learn how to construct your white paper define with the analysis you probably did thus far:
- Headline: Begin with a working model that describes your matter; you may all the time polish it up later. CoSchedule’s Headline Studio can assist!
- An govt abstract: A placeholder for a brief description of what your white paper is about. Add key factors right here so you may construct your abstract later.
- Introduction: What’s the hook that may draw your readers to maintain studying the white paper? What are the primary ache factors and matters you’ll cowl?
- Part subheadings: Every part is some extent that helps your general argument or a step within the course of you’re presenting. Their subheadings ought to clearly introduce them.
- Subheading content material: Listing the subpoints you make in every part and any supporting data that you simply got here throughout in your analysis.
- Conclusion: Summarize your key takeaways. If it’s acceptable, you may take into account including a call-to-action right here, too.
Use our white paper template for the best technique to construct your white paper define.
8. Get Inspiration From White Paper Examples
Need to get impressed by white paper examples that work? Take a look at the listing under and see how people like Apple, Amazon, and Vox Media strategy their white papers.
9. Stylize Your White Paper Doc
Use this planning and outlining stage to additionally map out graphics, charts, sidebars, and one-pagers.
You are able to do this with textual content containers, tables, and web page breaks within the Phrase doc. This fashion, you’ll have placeholders instead of visuals you’ll add within the design stage afterward. It will allow you to form your writing primarily based on the skeleton of your white paper’s remaining look.
Moreover, use this step to regulate the looks of your fonts and headers. In Microsoft Phrase, right-click the type you’re utilizing, click on Modify, and choose totally different headings or paragraphs you need to replace.
10. Write The White Paper Title
Greatest white paper headlines are those who join your matter with an final result your reader craves.
A robust headline consists of:
- Phrase stability: a mixture of widespread, unusual, emotional, and energy phrases
- Size: optimized for visibility and click-throughs on engines like google and social media
- Kind of headline: sorts of headlines embrace ‘“why” headlines, how-to, and query headlines
- Readability and skimmability: simplified for straightforward studying and understanding at a look
Begin by itemizing headline choices. Take a look at these headline formulation and templates and these 73 (!) methods to jot down a successful headline.
From there, leap into Headline Analyzer Studio and verify your strongest headline choices towards strategies. Use the phrase financial institution to strengthen these headlines and choose your favourite to make use of in your white paper.
11. Write The White Paper Introduction
Your introduction bridges the promise out of your headline and govt abstract with the important thing factors and sections of your white paper.
Greatest introductions assist the reader:
- Really feel like they’re in the correct place, studying the correct white paper primarily based on the issue they need to remedy
- Get a high-level overview of what you’ll cowl
- Show you do have the solutions they’re searching for
Use your introduction to tease upcoming sections and contact on the info, assets, consultants, and authentic analysis you’ll use to make your factors.
12. Break Up White Paper Content material With Subheadings & Subsections
Every subsection ought to make a definite level, like defining a step of a course of or making a particular argument.
If you happen to’ve researched and outlined your white paper in an organized manner, writing your white paper subsections must be comparatively simple.
As you write, you may discover a niche in your analysis or a subsection that might be added primarily based on the narrative you’re creating. If that occurs, make an observation and are available again to it in the direction of the tip of your writing to fill these gaps.
13. Embody Information & Visuals
Is there information or an concept that will be greatest introduced visually?
Mark any segments that will profit from a visible asset. You’ve marked some potential spots in your define, so now that you’ve got your draft, get particular in regards to the actual visuals you want.
- A graph or chart of an vital information level
- A one-pager with a key statistic or quote
- Comparability tables
- Customized illustrations
14. Recap The Drawback & Answer In Your Conclusion
Whereas white papers are a sort of selling collateral, they typically have a softer call-to-action than most others.
When your reader reaches the conclusion, they’ve simply gone via numerous information. Your conclusion ought to recap your white paper’s drawback and answer to tug all of it collectively and drive them to motion.
Going again to Deloitte’s 2022 Retail Trade Outlook white paper, you may see a abstract of the issue and answer in its conclusion.
As you replicate on the retail insights you learn within the white paper, the conclusion reminds you that retailers nonetheless face challenges, however in addition they have alternatives. It strikes you ahead by explaining how you need to use the knowledge you simply realized to maintain shifting towards the longer term.
15. Proofread & Edit
Along with your first draft accomplished, it’s time to assessment and edit your work—or hand it over to your editor, in case you have one.
Then, dig deeper to verify the circulation of your white paper and the energy of the factors you’re making. This consists of:
- Aim: Does the content material fulfill its promise? Does it reply all of the questions your reader may need?
- Construction: Is the construction optimized for engagement and completion?
- Information: Is all the things factually correct? Double-check details, statistics, hyperlinks, and sources.
- Understanding: How simple is your writing to grasp? If there’s language or jargon your viewers could not perceive, word it and take into account options. This may be corrected with a easy search on Thesaurus.com.
Be aware of any elements you must reposition, phrase in a different way, or make clear; when you undergo your complete doc, leap into these edits. Seize some extra modifying ideas right here in the event you want them.
Now You’re Prepared To Write A White Paper
You made it—you’re able to analysis, plan, write, design, and promote an distinctive white paper.
Observe this course of to construct a bit of content material that may serve your advertising and enterprise targets for a lot of months and years to come back. Don’t skip the promotion and repurposing efforts to make your work go a good distance.