State the problem first in a problem-solution white paper

Problem-solution white papers are one of the most effective ways to provide information that will be valuable and useful to your customers and prospects. Most companies create products or services that are designed to address specific problems or challenges their industries face. Using a problem-solution approach in a white paper is an excellent tool for explaining what makes your company’s solution to the problem the best choice.

The most effective problem-solution white papers start with a short section that describes the problem or challenge customers are facing. You can handle it by talking directly about the problem, or you can develop a fictional scenario that captures what your audience deals with on a daily basis. There are two goals to this approach. First, it builds a connection with your readers, because they see you understand the situations that are frustrating them. Second, it prepares them for a discussion of the solution, so they’re more likely to read the rest of the white paper.

Talk about the solutions that are available

It’s tempting to jump in and immediately offer your company’s solution, but that’s rarely the most effective approach. Why? It provides less credibility. If you say, “here’s your problem and here’s our miracle solution,” your white paper is going to sound more like an ad or a marketing brochure instead of a serious review of the issue. People become wary when reading advertising.

It makes more sense to discuss the solutions that have been developed for the problem or challenge and detail the advantages and disadvantages of each. To keep your white paper convincing, focus on facts and keep the content general. Don’t make a strong push for your company’s solution yet.

Zero in on your approach

After you’ve reviewed all the solutions that are currently available, it’s time to present your company’s solution as the best answer. But be careful how you do that. Rather than boasting about how great your product or service is, discuss its advantages in general terms.

Don’t make your white paper an ad

While it’s tempting to get into great detail about what makes your offering better than the competition, that kind of content will destroy the impression of objectivity you’ve tried to create. Instead, end your white paper with a short section describing your product or service, and an even shorter description of your company. If you’ve included the right information and presented it in the right way, readers will come to the conclusion that your solution is best on their own.

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