The first step in writing effective white papers isn’t thinking about what you want to say. It’s thinking about what your audience needs to know.

Your audience lacks your knowledge

Too many companies start creating white papers by focusing on what they think is important and what they feel the world should know. The problem is that the outside world doesn’t have the same knowledge and preconceptions as people within the companies, nor do they share the company’s biases and opinions. You may be convinced your company’s approach toward radish coring is the most sensible, but your customers may be more familiar with your competitors’ approaches.

White papers should educate the audience

Professional white paper writers generally take a different approach. They start the process of developing white papers by developing an understanding of what the audience needs to know and what’s important to them. Because they don’t have the same knowledge as the company’s employees, they’ll have to ask a lot of questions, including questions the company’s team may not have considered. Those are likely to be many of the same questions prospective customers might ask, so the writer can address those issues in the white paper. They can also challenge internal biases and opinions.

White papers through readers’ eyes

Approaching white papers through the eyes of customers or other audiences nearly always makes ideas and arguments more compelling and meaningful to the people you’re trying to reach and convince. That makes your white papers far more effective.

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