White papers are a favorite marketing tool for companies to sell products as solutions to their customers. The purpose of a white paper is to educate readers and help them make decisions in choosing the solution that suits their needs. In this case, the white paper becomes an excellent marketing and SEO tool that advertises the company’s products or services.
But writing a white paper is a challenging task. It involves an in-depth study of the product and its application, gathering information from the subject matter experts, and studying the product design documents. The objective is not only to convey information but to spark reader’s interest to engage him in reading the rest. Precision and clarity are the watchwords. Naked facts are not enough to invite a reader’s invitation to the rest of the document.
Here are the main guidelines for writing a white paper:
Interview the SME
Meet the product owner, understand the requirements, check the target audience, ask for a target date of completion, and get a brief demo of the product.
After the preliminary discussion, do your own research. More than 70 percent of your time should be spent on study and research.
Once you gain knowledge, write the first draft, juxtapose words, and convey information that gives a richer experience to the readers. When you’re satisfied with the first draft, send it for review.
Occasionally, the first draft may not meet the expectations. It can be due to many factors such as you might have missed certain features, or it might not have been discussed in the first meeting. Take an appointment for a second round of discussion. This is when you will get a fresh revelation. Capture these intricate details and put them into your second draft. Over the years, I have learned that a writer needs a tough skin, for no matter how advanced one’s experience and career, expert criticism cuts to the quick, and one learns to endure and to perfect.
Once you have incorporated all comments, publish it in the Word or PDF format.
Principal components of a white paper
A good page layout – A good page layout ensures that language, graphics, and colors combine on a page to promote clear communication. Readers of the page will find it pleasing and easy to read even though they may not be conscious of all the page layout techniques.
A title that arouses curiosity – A good title is the title of a successful white paper. A good title is like coming to a house you have never been in before and having the owner open the door and say “Welcome”. A good title can make a tremendous difference in the early acceptance of a white paper.
Table of Contents – TOC help readers in two ways: 1. they outline the structure of the document and thus provide insight into the document’s organization. 2. they provide the page numbers for all sections and subsections, thus helping readers to locate parts of the document.
Background/introduction to the document – The introduction sets the stage. It normally includes the historical background of the product and establishes the scope of the product. In essence, the introduction is a road map, it orients the reader by providing a context for the reading. In short, the introduction prepares the reader for what will follow.
Graphics – Graphics are essential for conveying key information in the white paper. Readers will recall one impactful graphic long after they have forgotten a thousand words of text. Create visuals first, write text last. Graphics are more emphatic than text and should, therefore, be designed early in the writing process.
In addition, the following information should be provided for a white paper to be effective:
- How the product solves the problem
- System functions
- Evaluation criteria for choosing the product
Contact Geenu Ann at +65-82086393 or email info@ThomasEcafe.com to explore creating white papers for your product/solutions.