You might need a white paper if…

  • You want the reputation as a thought leader or expert in your field.White Paper Screenshot
  • You want to introduce a new product to prospective customers.
  • You need to show that you understand a problem or challenge and why you have the best solution.
  • You want to help a potential buyer justify the purchase of an expensive product.
  • You’d like a marketing tool that generates leads quickly – and can also be used long-term.
  • You don’t want to hope people will see your website or blog to discover what you offer.
  • You want to increase readers for a newsletter.
  • You need something to mail or e-mail to a prospective client who has inquired about your service or product.

What is a white paper?

A white paper is an in-depth report that contains information about a product or a service, used to persuade potential clients to consider buying a product or service. A white paper can serve as a background piece, a summary of product highlights, or a more detailed statement of the problem and the solution. It is usually 3 to 14 pages long, published in PDF format.

Where do you start?

  1. Focus on only one product that solves a particular problem. The purpose of the white paper is to explain your product, not sell the idea of your company.
  2. Decide who will write, design, and print the white paper. Do you have employees that can take care of those components, or will you need to use outside sources?
  3. If this is a team project, hold an initial planning meeting to ensure the team agrees on the scope, purpose, and target audience, and the parts team members will play.
  4. Also decide on the following:
    1. A budget.
    2. A deadline
    3. Distribution and promotion of the white paper

If you use an outside writer:

  1. Assign one in-house contact who will advise the writer on subject matter experts and the most effective paths to job completion.
  2. Find a writer who is adept at both writing descriptive articles and doing research, including interviews. An ability to manage the project and even design the paper are definite pluses.

What I will do for you

  • Participate in the initial planning meeting to ensure I understand the scope and purpose of the white paper.
  • Draft a plan for you to review.
  • Research the background, specifications, and benefits of your product, using available tools: in-house articles, personal interviews with subject matter experts, and the internet.
  • Prepare an executive summary, a one- or two-page document outlining the objectives and key elements of the finished white paper.
  • Provide a simple design consistent with your existing brand.
Cheryl Bryan

About Cheryl Bryan

Cheryl has years of experience in the business world, in a variety of fields: staffing, insurance, construction, and advertising, to name a few. She has freelanced since 1990. Friends and colleagues describe her as genuine, thoughtful, gracious, organized, easy-going, compassionate, a "thinker as well as a doer," and one who not only gets the job done but does it well. Born in rural Nebraska, she is back now after living in California, Texas, South Africa, Illinois, Tennessee, and Mississippi and traveling in Europe, South Africa, and Thailand.
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