One hesitation some companies have when it comes to developing a white paper is that they’re not sure about where they’ll find the white paper information needed to make a compelling case. Actually, the information you need to write a powerful white paper may be closer than you realize.

White paper information from your own experts

There are people in your company with a deep understanding of the issue you’re planning to write about and why your solution is the best. That may include product engineers, people on the production line, and top management. If you have a sales team, they’re in regular contact with customers and prospects, so they’re aware of the challenges those people are facing.

Conducting a series of interviews with your internal experts can provide much of the information you’ll need for your white paper. You may not want to use what they all say verbatim — for example, engineers frequently use complex language that may confuse non-engineers, and salespeople may oversimplify concepts worthy of a deeper discussion — but those interviews can give you a great starting point.

White paper information from your materials

Most companies produce a variety of promotional materials, including websites, blogs, brochures, sales sheets, instruction manuals, and more. All that information can provide good reference not only for what needs to be said, but how your company prefers to say it.

White paper information from your competition

No, I’m not suggesting you borrow details from your competitors, but the more you know about them and their products or services, the better you’ll be at identifying your own competitive strengths and opportunities for compelling messages. Compare their language and processes with what your company uses. Discuss their approaches with your team to understand what makes yours better. For example, if your company’s veeblefetzer uses the cross-cutting process to core radishes, rather than the spiral-coring method employed by 90 percent of your competitors, your white paper can focus on the many advantages of cross-cutting.

White paper information from outside sources

Trade publications and internet sites can also be very educational. You can enter the same search terms that prospective customers may use to find information about your products or services. Just be careful to verify that the information you’re reading is correct, and don’t copy someone’s article or site word-for-word, because you could violate copyright law or embarrass your company.

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