You need to know how to write a white paper for marketing because white papers can be a powerful marketing tool. Detailed documents that explore complex issues to educate audiences, their goal is to offer facts and arguments to convince people that your product, service, or strategy offers the best solution for the situation.
Knowing how to write a white paper for marketing is important
White papers work well in today’s business environment, because customers and prospects are hungry for good information, but they’re also busy. That’s why they appreciate practical guidance that’s focused on their specific needs. Most are suspicious of advertising or other obviously sales-focused approaches, but they’re more likely to trust white papers that are informational and based on facts.
White paper length
While a blog post might be 300 to 700 words long, white papers are generally between 1500 and 5000 words, which typically works out to 6 to 20 printed pages. The topic and information should drive the length, because the quality of information is more important than the quantity.
Titles of marketing white papers should be serious and straightforward, instead of clever or promotional. A product brochure might use a headline like “Process three times as many radishes with our veeblefetzers,” while a white paper on the same topic might use something more like “Evaluating processing alternatives for radish production.”
Focused on issue, not company
Effective white papers often begin with a short section describing your customers’ problem or challenge. That builds a bond with readers, who see you have a solid understanding of the situations that are keeping them awake at night.
Explore the different solutions that have been developed for the problem or challenge. After a general discussion, examine the advantages and disadvantages of each. The most convincing approach is to focus on facts, keeping the content general. Of course, you get to select which facts you’ll present, and your product or service will reflect the most advantageous approach. Discuss the advantages of your product or preferred approach in general terms, rather than talking about how great your product or service is. If you’ve included the right information and presented it in the right way, readers will come to that conclusion on their own.
Tell, don’t sell
You may be tempted to get into great detail about what makes your Model SD60M the best product in the universe, but 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.