Delivering white papers over the Internet is a great way to communicate in-depth information to highly targeted audiences. White papers also offer companies the opportunity to build marketing lists…. But, you’ve got to write them first. Some tips for producing first-rate white papers follow:
1. Offer a solution. Many white papers waste all kinds of time and ink on theory, probability and speculation. Good white papers establish well-defined problems and offer easily understood solutions. Leave the pontificating to the industry analysts.
2. Reduce marketing language to a minimum. These days, this tip even applies to marketing materials. The more you economize your exposition and eliminate hyperbole, the better.
3. Support assertions with evidence and examples. Tangible, mentally vivid examples help pull readers through long pieces of text and provide them with ammo when they go to present your assertions to somebody else. Metaphor is also helpful (for example, ammo).
And the bonus round:
1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them. Classic business presentation structure.
2. Use graphics, charts and pull quotes. White papers tend to be long. So, help the readers along with visual cues and graphics that complement the text and illuminate your explanations further.
3. Watch the length. Less than 15 pages is preferable for a given topic. Eight pages is even more common these days. If you find that your page count is hurtling toward novella length, consider breaking the project into several separate but related white papers.