The Essential White Paper Template
A white paper is an influential form of business collateral designed to perform essential marketing functions. Different from a blog or an e-book, a white paper template begins with a problem or need and concludes with a proposed solution. It is a formal, research-based report with a singular focus.
To write a successful white paper, you need to understand the template. This article will help you decide if a white paper is right for you. If the answer is yes, we will show you how to prepare and produce one.
What is a White Paper?
A white paper is a data-centric, authoritative business document that addresses a specific need or question. It uses written content, statistics, research, and an attractive visual layout to help the reader to understand a topic and make an informed decision. A white paper concludes with a recommended solution or answer to the problem it addresses.
White papers are one of the most under-the-radar content marketing tools to generate new leads – if well executed. Poorly written white papers with undirected content and uninspired design can be dry and uninteresting.
When executed by a white paper writer, designed to its full potential, and properly distributed, a white paper can be a highly shareable, problem-solving guide for its intended audience.
Why is a White Paper Called a White Paper?
The origin of the term ‘white paper’ can be found in government documents. Reports were coded by color according to their authorized audience. Papers in white covers were approved for public access.
The British may have first coined the term white paper. In the British government, a white paper is a policy paper that focuses on a specific issue and provides clear recommendations for policymakers.
From their origins in politics, white papers have become popular in technical fields and as a content marketing tool in business. The format of the report varies for each purpose. In this article, we give you the white paper template for businesses.
Why Publish White Papers?
White papers increase a brand’s online visibility and authority. The most valuable content offers a useful solution supported by relevant facts – which is the definition of a white paper.
Because it is a more comprehensive and authoritative report than a blog or a marketing page, interested shoppers are willing to share their email address to access your company’s white papers, making them an excellent tool for capturing leads.
Marketers can use white papers to:
- Present a detailed look at a specific topic
- Educate buyers during the decision-making process
- Support a position or solution
- Simplify and communicate technical knowledge
- Promote a company or launch a new product
- Capture leads
- Build authority and establish industry expertise
White paper writers support their points with references, statistics, infographics, and charts. By providing useful and beneficial content to the reader, the white paper is seen as a solution.
How to Write a White Paper
Writing an authoritative, sharable white paper is not a simple task. However, the investment of time or money can leverage your company’s expertise into valuable marketing documents.
To select a white paper topic, start with your audience in mind. Who will read your document, and what problems do they come to your business to solve? Once they engage with your company, what products and services do new customers discover that they did not know were available?
Align your customer’s problems with your products and services. Each problem can be the topic of one or more white papers, written from different angles.
How to Write a White Paper Introduction
Your white paper’s introduction should present the problem to be solved. It can highlight ways the old solution falls short and the needs left unfulfilled. In the white paper template, you do not share your solution in the introduction. Instead, save that until after the reader has reviewed the supporting data.
Although it has a more formal tone than many blogs, the white paper’s introduction still has to captivate your audience and entice them to read further. Spark their curiosity with a brief summary of what they’ll learn, emphasizing the benefits they’ll gain from reading it.
What a White Paper Should Include
A white paper should include a(n):
- Precise Title
- Index with Page Numbers
- Problem to be Solved
- Background (researched information in support of the solution)
- Solution (your product, service, company, or recommendation)
- Reference section
Make Sure the Title is Accurate
A good title instantly communicates what a reader will learn from the white paper. It should entice them to read further.
You can choose to include ‘white paper’ in the title or leave it out; it is optional.
The Abstract is a Quick Summary
The abstract allows readers a quick glance at the white paper’s contents by offering a brief overview of the main points.
The abstract aims to confirm for the reader they have found the information they wanted.
Present the Problem
The problem statement is an opportunity to further engage your audience by directly addressing the challenges they face. In this section, present the problem to be solved in a context that will resonate with your target audience.
Build a Background for Your Solution
Why is your solution the right one? What logic, data, and research brought you and others to understand its importance? The answers to these two questions will make up the bulk of your background section.
In this section, you can dive deeper into the problem to be solved. Present data, experience, and research that will help the audience to understand and embrace the solution.
Avoid long paragraphs of content where your point may get buried in the text. Present the information in easy-to-scan sections. You’ll hold your reader’s interest and get your point across more effectively.
Ask your white paper writer to notate where graphics or charts would visually support their points for the design phase. If any original research is included, communicate the methods, so they are transparent to the reader.
Reveal the Solution
By the time you reveal the solution to the reader, they should have a clear understanding of the problem and be educated on how and why this solution is an outstanding one. It is the moment of reveal, where you pull back the curtain and show them what you’ve got.
Although you may present a product, service, or your company at this point, the solution section is not a sales pitch. Maintain a formal tone and build your assertions on the information you presented in the background section.
Conclude with Instructions on How to Proceed
Conclude with a summary of the white paper’s significant findings. A reader who starts with the abstract and skips to the conclusion should still get an overview of the problem, the background, and the solution.
Finish the conclusion with recommendations. How should the buyer proceed? What next steps are available?
Cite Your References
A formal reference section adds validity to your document. Include both the sources you cited and the ones you used to create the document. Some readers want to do further research or investigate specific points.
Check with other white papers in your industry to see if they follow MLA or APA citation formats and match your industry’s standard.
Design and Distribution of Your White Paper
Layout and design are crucial to an influential white paper. An attractive layout with supportive visuals can take dense and even technical information and display it for easier consumption.
Once the content of your white paper is ready, it’s time for an experienced designer. Your white paper writer can now hand it off to your design team. Color, layout, infographics, charts, and highlights make your completed document more shareable. The design becomes part of your branding and should represent your company.
The distribution strategy for your white paper is as important as the quality of your content. You may have a compelling, well-researched, and visually stunning white paper, but if no one sees it, what impact will it have.
Common distribution strategies can include:
- Offering it on your website
- Distributing through your email list
- Submitting it to industry publications,
- Sharing through social media
- Paid ads to generate new leads and capture email addresses
ContentWriters Manages White Paper Writers
A white paper is a powerful marketing tool to build brand authority and capture and convert new leads. Now that you have the white paper template and understand why it starts with the problem and leads to the solution, you’re ready to start.
A well-written document performs better than one that is unfocused or hard to follow, but writing a white paper takes time. With ContentWriters, you can hire a great white paper writer with expertise in your industry. A separate editor and proofreader review your document, and our content success specialists oversee the process from start to finish. It is delivered ready for your design and distribution teams.
Whether you write in-house or hire a specialist, a white paper is a persuasive template to deliver data-backed expertise in a visually appealing format that makes it easy for people to understand.
Joan Weisman’s strong research skills, SEO knowledge, adaptability of style and voice, and passion for staying current make her an asset for freelance web content, SEO, and copywriting.