Even if you’re someone who frequently handles writing for your company or organization, you may not have any idea of how long it takes to write a white paper. After all, white papers are different from blog posts, web copy, press releases, and the other types of materials that may be a regular part of your job.
It takes a lot of time to write a white paper
If you write regularly, you may be able to develop a blog post in an hour or two. A white paper takes significantly longer, often a month or two depending upon the subject, its complexity, and how many people are involved in the process. That’s because white papers require more research, drawing upon the knowledge of multiple subject matter experts (SMEs), and selecting the topics of greatest interest to the audience before beginning the process of writing, reviewing, revising, and design.
Planning to write a white paper
If you’re asked how long it will take you to develop a white paper, don’t give a quick answer, because you’ll probably underestimate the time involved. You may find it helpful to develop a chart like the sample one that follows. Start by outlining all the steps that will be involved, then enter how much time each step will take, and finally, apply that to the calendar.
|Task||Days of work||Estimated completion|
|Get management approval||1||11/4|
|Compile interview notes||2||11/13|
|Gather additional research||3||11/18|
|Develop an outline||1||11/19|
|Write the first draft||5||11/25|
|Team reviews first draft||3||12/2|
|Write the second draft||2||12/4|
|Team reviews second draft||2||12/8|
|Team approves draft||1||12/9|
|Develop layout for paper||4||12/15|
|Team reviews layout||1||12/16|
|Post to website||1||12/21|
Faster ways to develop a white paper
Working with a professional white paper writer can be an effective way to speed up the process of writing a white paper. Even if you consider yourself to be a skilled writer, it’s going to take longer for you to develop materials than it would for a professional writer. And what’s going to happen to the rest of your workload while you’re spending hours trying to find the right words and organize them into sentences and paragraphs? Is someone else going to step up and help or are your workdays only going to get longer?