If you are ready to showcase your company’s expertise in your industry, you should start by educating. You can educate potential clients, investors, other industry leaders, and employees. A great way to do this is through the creation of a whitepaper. Using whitepapers is an excellent way to help pass on your knowledge and doubles as an important marketing tool. In order for your whitepaper to be the most successful, you’ll should have a solid understanding of what it is. Also, you should know what makes it more beneficial than other options you might consider, and how to properly format it so it makes the most impact. This guide will show you how to do exactly that.
What are Whitepapers?
Whitepapers are thorough reports on a specific topic that present the reader with both a problem and a potential solution. They are a method of educating a company’s audience about a product or technique. The paper focuses on what the company believes will make the lives of their target market easier. They are not, however, to be confused with product pitches. They inform the audience about what makes the product or technique stand out from its competitors. However, a product pitch will feel more like the writer is trying to sell the reader something. A whitepaper, on the other hand, will be rich with information and evidence. It will persuade the reader by appealing to their sense of logic and by offering real examples of when the product or technique has worked.
Reasons for Using Whitepapers
As previously mentioned, whitepapers can be useful for two main reasons. For one thing, they can work as an educational tool to inform readers about a company’s product or technique. This includes the company’s employees, particularly the sales team. They are also an inexpensive marketing tool to educate a wider audience. They differ from blog posts or ebooks, which could essentially do the same thing. Whitepapers allow the writer a considerably larger amount of space to convey their thoughts, compelling evidence, and fact-based research that supports their ideas. These other modalities can be quite limited in comparison. As readers see a greater depth of knowledge, the business gains credibility as a reliable source on the subject.
It is also worth mentioning that creating a whitepaper can be a time-consuming process. This makes it incredibly important to determine what the purpose of your whitepaper is before diving in to create it. If you can achieve your message or goal through a blog post or an ebook, that may be the best route. If you do decide to pursue the creation of a whitepaper, it must have a great structure.
What is the Structure of a Whitepaper?
Whitepapers typically follow a similar format and are broken down into smaller sections to encourage readability. This does not, however, imply that they are easy to skim. A whitepaper is dense with information and will usually need to be read through several times. This way, the reader will fully comprehend all the data contained. The tone of a whitepaper is generally on the more serious side. It is well-written and professionally edited. Many whitepaper authors will hire graphic designers to help with the layout. This ensures their documents accurately portray their professionalism and expertise on the subject. A whitepaper can be anywhere from six to 50 pages and possibly more. It will likely include multiple graphs, illustrations, charts, or references that support the main idea. It may also include the following sections.
- Title Page: The first page, displaying the title of the work, the author’s name, and the publisher’s name and edition, if applicable.
- Table of Contents: A list that identifies the page that each section title begins on.
- Introduction: The introduction offers the reader a broad overview of what the document is about. This way they can determine whether it is pertinent to their needs.
- Problem Statement: This section begins to look more specifically at exactly what problem the document addresses. It gives the issue context so that the reader can sufficiently understand it.
- Background: This section might document how you found the problem. It also explains what research has been done to clarify that it is, indeed, an ongoing issue that needs addressing.
- Solution: The solution section of a whitepaper is where the writer establishes evidence and information. They redescribe the background section and find a solution. The solution they present is the company’s product or technique. The solution needs to be sufficiently backed up by previous trials.
- Conclusion: This section offers a concise summary of the researchers’ findings, as well as the recommendations determined through those findings.
- References: This is the space to cite any sources that the writer mentions in gathering the information for the whitepaper. It may offer readers resources where they can go to further research the subject on their own.
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Preparing for Using Whitepapers
If you do intend to construct your own whitepaper, there are some factors you will want to take into consideration. For one thing, know your audience. If you do not have a target reader in mind as you begin your paper, it is quite likely it will miss the mark and not get the bandwidth and exposure that you are hoping for. When you have figured out who your target is, you can begin to explore their “pain points” and use those to determine which questions they may have which your product or technique could offer a solution to.
Next, you want to make sure that your company is an absolute expert in the area that you are choosing to write about. Do your research thoroughly! A whitepaper is data-focused, so the more reliable information that you can offer your reader, the more credibility you will gain. Make sure that you properly and accurately cite any resources that you use. It may also be helpful to read other whitepapers on the same or similar topics so that you can ensure that the information you are offering is new and relevant, rather than a regurgitation of existing knowledge.
Lastly, establish organization. With all the research you will be doing, it is common to have a lot of information spread all over the place. A great organizational tool that might benefit you as you categorize and join relatable information together is a mind-map. The internet has many free mind-mapping templates and software options that will help you keep all your data neatly cataloged.
Conclusion for Using Whitepapers
Overall, a whitepaper can be a valuable way to effectively communicate your business’s level of expertise on a subject. Although potentially time-consuming, the benefits tend to be worth the investment.