A white paper is a supremely powerful marketing strategy, but it can throw down some tricky obstacles. A strong white paper generates leads, positions a company as an industry expert and stands as an effective marketing legacy, but a weak white paper wastes time and money and may ding a company’s reputation. Is your team equipped to write strong white papers?
Effective white papers analyze a problem, offer expert analysis, and give an objective assessment of solutions. When successful, a white paper helps readers identify the authoring company as the solution’s source—not because of a direct pitch but because the paper positions the company as an industry leader with a balanced perspective.
Ineffective white papers usually fail because they don't grab an audience's attention or they slip into sales-speak. The title and first sentences must signal that a white paper is interesting, applicable, and offers a significant return on investment. A white paper must also maintain a balanced, informative tone: salesman-like posturing discredits content and alienates readers.
English PhD, former arts administrator, obsessive cook, native East Coaster, mom to two rabblerousers.
English PhD, former high school teacher, obsessive organizer, native Midwesterner, mom to three troublemakers.