White Paper in a Nutshell

When written and applied properly, white papers act as powerful tools from a company’s sales and marketing perspective. A well-written white paper has the potential to make a company credible – establishing its presence as a thought leader to their target audience. However, white papers are often the most misunderstood in the marketing arsenal of a company.

It’s a short article, so let’s squeeze in some relevant content
White papers provide information that is directed at solving the reader’s problem. What is more important here is that the white paper: 1) should tell the reader why the problem needs to be solved, 2) provides alternatives to the solution, and 3) should tell the reader objectively in subtle but convincing words that your company has the required skillset and knowledge to approach and solve the problem.

Avoid being technical, go logical
Yes. That’s right. Technical documents are available for a dime a dozen. When you sound too technical about the product, it goes into the promotional domain without you noticing it. White papers are essentially educational in tone and are specific to the target audience. Therefore, the writing should be as such that it: 1) attracts all the concerned stakeholders, 2) engages the reader in their own language, that is, relatable, and 3) is objective and informative at the same time.

Go beyond words
You don’t really need Picasso, but carefully designed graphics and illustrations convey information like none other. Good graphics and illustrations are like the first 3 make-or-break seconds! More often, top-level executives may want to go through the entire white paper, but they simply might not have the time to do that. The end result is that your brilliant efforts go down the drain. So, plan it if you have to, but make your effort count!

Too much principle, but not enough branding…
Well, that was some sermon on being principled, but we are the corporate guys at the end of the day. Yes, we do need branding, but subtlety is the key in achieving the desired effect. Less is always more!

Okay, one more to go!
While product managers and engineers often the closest to a company’s product and service, they tend to get too technical. They are very competent and write the most informative pieces. However, when subtlety is the key…well, you guessed it right…sshhh! While getting a good writer is prudent, it is often not easily possible. The middle way or the most feasible way is to take your white paper through the editorial review process. This ensures accuracy and makes sure your effort yields the desired result.