What a white paper looks like


White Paper Structure White papers generally have the following sections: Title — You'll want an attention-grabbing title that clearly communicate the problem you are solving and is appropriate for your target audience. Even for Product Knowledge white papers, it's not a good idea to include the product name in the title. Your title should be benefit, not feature, oriented. The abstract or executive summary — You may be tempted to put your conclusion at the end, but a white paper needs to grab the reader immediately.

Include direct, pithy statements of your position to engage the reader. Although this section provides a short summary of what the paper is about, you need to provide enough detail to satisfy a busy executive while encouraging the reader to continue on to the meat of the paper. Introduction — Define the issue and provide background discussion while building credibility.

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Find common ground with your audience and hook them in. Problem Definition — Don't start what a white paper looks like yet.

Tailor the language to a general audience. Optimal title length for search engines: A typical white paper might list ways to meet a client's marketing needs, suggest the use of a certain product for a technical process, or identify ways to tackle municipal problems. A White Paper 4 Get right to the point. But sometimes ebooks are a better way to share in-depth content online: See our User Agreement and Privacy Policy. The abstract or executive summary — You may be tempted to put your conclusion at the end, but a white paper needs to grab the reader immediately. You can imagine this makes them kind of boring in comparison -- truthfully, most people don't actually want to read whitepapers, but they do it anyway because they tend to be particularly detailed and informative, authoritative, and written by industry experts.

Thoroughly and completely identify the business problem your technology solves. This section should be entirely from the perspective of the target audience. High-Level Solution — Describe relevant technologies at a high level, including any competing technologies which you will rebut later. Support your arguments with tables, charts, and graphics.

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Quote industry experts as needed to bolster your positions. You are educating your target audience on the current state of the art, as well as where your solution fits. Solution Details — Having thoroughly explained the problem and the general approach to solving it, it is finally time to describe your solution in more detail. You can start selling know, but avoid grandiose claims; the soft approach works better in white papers.

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Be sure to show how your solution is vastly superior to the competition. Remember your audience and use appropriate language and need one essay an ideal student of detail. This is the heart of your white paper and you'll probably want to use what a white paper looks like studies or customer testimonials to support your arguments. Business benefits — This section is the soul of your white paper, where you continue reading to grab the reader where he or she lives and provide plenty of assurances that your solution will work for them.

Discuss return on investment ROIusability, adherence to standards, and speed of implementation. Show you understand your readers' pain and can relieve it.

  • If your content does that, you can call it an e-book, a white paper, or whatever… and your audience will still thank you for it.
  • Use hard evidence, such as trade journals, government publications, and the data and figures in your research, to explain why your solution is the best course of action to take.
  • Keep reading to take a deep dive into each of these areas.

Customer quotes again may be helpful. Summary — A quick summary emphasizes both the benefits of your solution as well as the risks to readers who decide not to use your product or service.

What a white paper looks like

Many readers may skip the entire document and read this section only, so write this section as if it were an entirely standalone document summarizing the main selling points about your solution. Conclude with the most important point that you want the reader to remember. Call to action — You'd be surprised how many white papers either leave this most important section out or fumble it at the end.

Emphatically tell readers what you want them to do and how to do it. We're not talking about simply dropping in a contact person's name and telephone number as well as Website, email, and snail mail addresses.

What a white paper looks like

We prefer white papers that end with offers — free trial version, free assessment, free gift certificate if you call today, that sort of thing. The White Paper Process.

Use subcategories as required to help readers draw distinct boundaries between different parts of the solution. Show you understand your readers' pain and can relieve it. Chapman from their book, Content Rules: Be clear regarding how these solutions address the problem statement s. Chances are, it won't.


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