How to Write a White Paper That People Enthusiastically Read

how to write a good whitepaper

How to write a white paper can indicate how your business’s power is in the industry

In report and research writing, you are not only obliged to know how to write a press release but also go deep on how to write a white paper. A white paper is powerful for every marketer and business to be the thought leader in the field. 

Are you still unfamiliar with this stuff? Do not panic! This ultimate guide will reveal how to write an excellent white paper. But first, you need to know… 

What is a white paper?

The term “white papers” was actually far from business documents. It was initiated by former British prime minister, Winston Churchill, in 1922 as government documents. However, nowadays this term is applied to business, specifically in B2B sectors. 

In marketing, a white paper is a comprehensive report of a selected topic that shows a problem along with the solution in a particular field. This type of content writing usually looks like an e-book but it can be in the form of slides on your business website. 

A white paper is powerful for your business since it builds the superiority of the products or how proficient a business is in performing research to solve a problem in the industry. It can also be profitable to be a lead magnet due to the in-depth description in a white paper. 

How to write a white paper 

1. Find the topic

The first step on how to write a paper is focussing the white paper on a certain topic. When you decide the topic, consider these significant formulae.

  • Little had been known in the area you study. Choosing a topic for your white paper is like academic research: you should find the gap. 
  • Before you pick a topic, make sure you know what your audience likes. This determines whether your white paper will arouse their interest.
  • Not only about an external factor from the audience’s interest, but you should also select a topic that you master. In this case, you will be qualified and knowledgeable in conducting the research and showcasing the content.

2. Do a thorough research

Because a white paper is the “academic writing” in content marketing, you should differentiate it from e-books and blog posts in terms of the research. A white paper has more well-grounded references. 

You can check other research reports like Forrester and Garner to look for existing analytics and research. They can provide a well-crafted foundation for your content. Then, if it is requisite, hold a survey to make original statistics in order to get specific data you need.

3. Know the criteria of a white paper 

The next action to do on how to write a white paper is recognizing the features of a white paper. A white paper should have a professional and formal tone because it applies academic writing. Next, the topic must be specifically focused on. 

Another thing you have to underline is that the arguments, claims, or explanations in a white paper must be based on facts and backed by data. 

DemandGen conducts a survey that people are willing to barter their personal information for a white paper because it offers them valuable insights they may not get in podcasts, blog posts, and e-books. Therefore, you must scrutinize references in a rigorous way. 

4. Follow the format to write a good white paper 

After collecting verified data, let’s be ready to connect those details with your main solution. Like any other type of writing, there is a format of a white paper to follow. 

  • Headline
    Use a headline that represents the topic and content.
  • Summary/Abstracts
    Put a brief summary containing around 200 words to tell what the white paper is about. Imagine that this is a short pitch for your readers. 
  • Introduction 
    The introduction keeps points that will you extend in the body section. It usually contains the table of contents too. 
  • Headings and subheadings
    Headings and subheadings help you have a crystal clear idea of what each section discusses. 
  • Sidebars
    A sidebar is a box containing additional material, like what you have in the magazine.
  • Conclusion
    At the end of the white paper, input a conclusion about the content. You are also allowed to put a call-to-action here. 

5. Visualize the content 

The tex carries your strong explanation, but pictures can speak louder than words. As a result, you are demanded to integrate it with pictograms, charts, or even photos. Those elements will also be helpful for the readers to understand the content and keep engaged. 

Suit the charts with your needs. For instance, when showing revenue growth over time, you can use a line graph. But, pick pie charts instead to display parts of a whole. Besides charts, pictograms are also an effective method to resemble real objects or statistical data.  

6. Be mindful about the design 

So, you have included the visualizations in the content. Do not forget the logos, footnotes, and copyright info. Consequently, there is a big chance to make your white paper become cluttered. 

So, have some white space on the pages to allow the design to “breathe”. You can apply a clean and minimalist color scheme so that the readers can focus on data visualization. 

Do not forget to integrate the design with your brand voice by being unique to improve your brand recognition. And, stay consistent with the design, so the audience can simply know that “this is you.”

7. Edit 

A white paper is a great project. You cannot stop only in the first draft. Gather your team to develop a complete editing process. First, check the content about its grammar and readability. In this step, get help from handy tools such as Grammarly and Hemingway. 

However, it is not only the language you need to check. Ask yourself and your team whether the data are accurate or the explanation has answered all of the problems because the quality of the content is much more critical. 

You have passed your essays at university, this guide on how to write a white paper will be a piece of cake for you!