The White Paper Basics


mcrae communications consultancy, copywriter, evie mcrae, white paper

A White Paper is an authoritative or credible report that highlights a problem and then provides the solution in fairly detailed terms.

White Papers are educational and are used at the early stage of the buyer’s journey when the prospective customer is doing their research.

The document should present facts, figures and a logical argument to the reader, thereby helping them reach a ‘favourable’ decision with regards to buying a product or selecting a service.

Commercial White Papers are often used to generate sales leads, establish thought leadership, make a business case, educate customers, channel partners or investors.

How to write a White Paper

  1. Don’t be scared.
  2. Know your target audience/readership. If you don’t know yet, do your research and identify with their pain points and the environment they operate in.
  3. With regard to the solution or service in question, focus on the problem or the challenges that need to be addressed. That’s what people are interested in.
  4. Keep your tone of writing simple. Avoid jargon-filled, complex content. Too many people make the mistake of thinking big words and jargon will make them look clever. This just gets in the way of comprehension and readability.
  5. Present case studies of people who have had these problems but now benefit in some way from the solution or service. This is the best way to gain credibility and show you’re not just talking a good game.
  6. Present facts – not marketing/sales speak. This is just as relevant when presenting the problem as the solution.
  7. Illustrate with charts or graphs instead of statistics.
  8. Remember to keep your target audience in mind – don’t be overly ‘pushy’ about your agenda as your audience is smart and they will turn off!
  9. Read through your White Paper. It should either educate or persuade.
  10. Remember – include a call to action – provide your website details or a phone number, otherwise you have just lost an opportunity to keep the conversation going.


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