How to Write a White Paper That Drives the Reader’s Attention?

What is a white paper?

How about treating your customers with authoritative content on your company’s products or services? You can talk about product benefits and methodology or even provide solutions to problems related to your product. Yes, you can do that very well using a white paper approach.
White paper refers to long-form content structured as a report or article to provide deep insights about a product/service/issue and address its related problems.

From being released by the government, public organizations, and even research centers to share information and developments in their field, white papers have penetrated the World Wide Web. Releasing white papers on niche-related issues is also considered an effective tool in content marketing.

Further,white papers are categorized into two types:

1. Backgrounder

The Backgrounder approach works well for introducing a product/service. It can include its benefits, methodology, and thorough profiling.

2. Problem solution write up

As the title suggests, this approach works if you address a problem, provide a user guide, or extend general customer support.

Whatever approach one chooses, a white paper is ultimately an authoritative piece of content framed in your brand voice to reach your customers.

How can white paper contribute to your content strategy?

In this era of 140-character tweets, you might wonder about the utility of lengthy white papers. But here are 5 significant benefits of adopting white papers actively in content marketing strategies.

1. Build brand trust

To businesses looking for long-term clients, creating and building brand trust is an absolute imperative. Trust builds on a brand through its products and based on its customer service, troubleshooting support, and genuine concern. Providing white papers related to your niche is a great way of articulating your customer support commitment and fostering long-term trust with your clients.

2. Lead Generation

Lead generation is essential to any business as sure leads provide an unambiguous target audience. And white papers can be a great tool in acquiring leads for the company. A Content Preferences Survey by DemandGen revealed that nearly three-quarters of respondents have been ready to trade confidential details for a white paper compared to other forms of content like ebooks, website brochures, emails, etc. White papers are more than content displayed on your website; they are your content resources. If a business holds an authoritative white paper, gating, and semi-gating processes can help it gain interested customer leads.

3. Boost sales

Customers think twice before buying anything without labels and greatly need customer support or service guides. And some customers do not buy a product lacking detailed information. What if using a white paper can help you bridge information, user guides, and customer support gaps for your products? It’s excellent as the utility of white papers does not stop at generating leads for your business but can transform them into customers.

4. Educate your customers

Fewer doubts can be solved through FAQs, and shallow user guidance can be provided through blogs. What if you have to cater information to a loyal customer base that needs deep-dive technical and pictorial information on your high-end products/services? You can cater information to a craving customer base through authoritative white papers on your products/services.

5. Share your niche expertise

What if you have niche-related issues/happenings/discoveries that you need to share with the target audience? No worries! The white paper is not bragging about your company’s products and services. It can be a great medium to share your niche expertise. Industry knowledge and foster thought leadership in your field.

Reach out to our professional white paper writing services

Questions that need to be answered before starting a White Paper

After learning the multi-dimensional benefits of white papers, you might be already tempted to publish the following extensive article in your niche. But you are drawn too soon. You need to address some fundamental questions before drafting a white paper.

1. What is the topic of the White Paper?

It is the first and the most critical question. You might choose a product/service, discover, answer FAQs, or even pick up the most pressing issue in your niche. Regardless of the topic selected, there are two things you need to be clear about. Firstly, only choose a topic that you are acquainted with. White papers are authoritative content, and writing them with shallow knowledge about a subject will affect their quality. Secondly, you need to be interested in writing on the topic. Writing half-heartedly about a little-known topic will only result in a bland piece of content.

2. Who is the target audience?

Once you decide on the topic, it’s time to define your target audience. Knowing your readers can provide better guidelines while writing. Little jargon won’t become a liability if you are writing for an industry-specific audience. But if you present something new for your audience, filling it with unnecessary jargon will only slide their interest out of the paper.
Hence, decide on your target audience and keep it relevant for them.

3. What is the “content gap” that needs to be addressed?

Writing about a product user guide that already exists in forty different versions needs to be more novelty. As you decide on the topic and target audience, it’s time to ponder on the content you are newly adding to the niche. If you are writing on a never before written topic, then its likely to generate some organic traffic and response for your work. So measure the content gap and develop new ideas to fill it creatively with a white paper.

4. What is the motive behind writing the White Paper?

One last question you need to ask yourself before delving into white paper drafting-What is the motive or purpose to be served through this white paper? Is it for lead generation or sales boost?

Product promotion or customer support? Sharing expertise or building brand image?
Deciding on the purpose can help you streamline resources, efforts, and research and customize it according to the purpose it chooses to serve.

Steps to follow while formatting a white paper

You have reached the grand level three of the white paper discussion. Here are the steps you need to follow in drafting a compelling white paper.

1. Deciding on basics and sources

As discussed earlier, deciding the essential factors of what, why, how, and for whom is crucial in framing a white paper. This critical step can help you narrow down the sources and references required for drafting.

2. Using case studies and reliable examples

Content marketing refers to sharing non-promotional content with audiences to raise their awareness of a business and products, and white paper is one of the essential tools of content marketing. Try using only reliable examples and useful facts in your white paper. It should be a valuable addition to the line of knowledge in a niche/field.

3. Balancing text and graphics

The white paper involves interesting knowledge sharing through appropriate images and graphics.
With the ever-growing amount of visual content on the internet, it is harder to attract, retain and impress the white paper audience. Your painstakingly collected facts and stats must be presented with the right images and designs to make them visually striking and enticing for readers. But be careful not to overwhelm the draft with one of the components(text or visuals) and carefully strike an appealing balance between the two.

4. Editing and proofreading

Once you finish the draft, editing and proofreading are the undeniable steps in finalizing a white paper. Check all the readability issues and eliminate syntax, errors, complicated sentences, passive voice usage, and industry-specific jargon(unless you create a white paper for internal use and discussion).

5. Sticking to the topic

One of the weaknesses that writers give is including everything they know and want to write about the topic. Once you set a precise topic, stay within its boundary and fill it with only relevant information. Adding unnecessary information or beating around the bush will only sacrifice the gripping narrative and make it uninteresting for your readers.

6. Answering FAQs

Once you have decided on the topic, try to look up the frequently asked questions about it. Gather the relevant and most important questions asked about your case. Try to address and include answers to such questions in your white paper draft. This way, you are creating reader-demanded content and valuing their readership.

7. Gating your white paper

The term seems strange, but what does gating mean? Gating is a process that lets you achieve the most imperative objective of creating a white paper: lead generation. Gating refers to walling off expert content behind a form used to acquire personal information(contact name and email address). Gating works best with expert and premium content like Ebooks and white papers.

  • Gating white papers are an excellent tool for acquiring leads. But gating counts on the quality of the white paper. If you are using some mediocre paper to receive valuable tips, then it might not garner a good impression about your brand.
  • If you write on a niche issue or development rather than a product or service, you might even publish the white paper on your website. It can point towards positive content marketing and growing website traffic.
  • But if you are neither ready to completely gate your white paper nor publish it for free on your site, then there is mid way to do things. It is known as semi-gating. It allows readers to have a free trial of the first few pages of your white paper while gating off the premium content in exchange for lead information. Interested readers can sign up for the form to access the rest of the article. It is one of the most accepted gating methods as it doesn’t seem to be too much information seeking nor generates only interested and genuine leads to follow-up.

8. Marketing your white paper

Your task doesn’t end with creating and publishing a white paper. With marketing efforts, it can miraculously get viral to generate website traffic. Without proper promotion, it risks receding into obscurity and joining the board of millions of other white papers.

So here are some marketing tips to stop such a catastrophe.

Try to find channels that your white paper target audience is most likely to visit. Keep the paper accessible on such platforms.

  • Consider promoting your white paper on your social media handles. Though social media is known for short and crisp content, it can do best in promoting links and hashtags connected to your white paper.
  • To take a step further, shortlist influencers in your niche or field. You can reach out to them and ask them to promote your white paper on their popular handles. It can surely help increase awareness and generate traffic to your white paper.
  • You can even interview an expert or resource person in your niche. It can increase the credibility and endorsement possibilities of your white paper.
  • Do not neglect the power of email marketing to promote your white paper. Email marketing can help you promote your white paper directly to the most interested audience. If you have a ready list of email subscribers, you don’t have to think twice before promoting your white paper.
  • Another stint in marketing can be used like this: You can ask your customers about the topics they require a white paper on. Doing this lets, you know what your customers want and create some buzz before releasing a white paper.

Tips that can be a value addition to your white paper

There are two options available for white paper writers. They can either draft a namesake white paper as a complex collection of facts and stats and add it to the pile of content already available on the internet, or they can work smarter in making their white paper exciting and challenging to ignore for their readers. If you are on the latter side, here are some tips to help improve your white paper game.

1. Telling an interesting story

Though your white paper doesn’t need Christopher Nolan’s mind-blowing narrative, it needs a basic storyline or exciting narrative. The white paper is the art of authoritative storytelling based on facts, stats, and research findings. But most authors forget the storytelling part and make it a bland collection of facts and figures. It doesn’t count even if you have the best stats in your field; if you can’t put it forward to readers excitingly, then there are seldom chances of your white paper being popular.

2. Not hesitating multiple drafts

Perfection is rarely achieved on the first attempt. So do not hesitate to take upon multiple drafts, if necessary, in drafting a white paper. If you need clarification on the draft, try getting it reviewed by an expert or authoritative person. It can give you insights on additions and omissions and reveal lacunae, if any, in your drafts.

3. Working on intro and conclusion

In the opening white paper, it is not a bad idea to include a list of contents or a paragraph introducing the benefits of the form to your audience. It can help them start with a clear reward in mind.

For the conclusion part, try never to end it abruptly. Be sure to drive home the point on which the white paper is based. If you are writing a white paper to boost sales, try saving self-promotion to the end and include it in the form of compelling CTAs.On the other hand, if the white paper is for knowledge sharing, then try sharing the list of sources referred and some further references for enthusiastic readers(It can have a positive subconscious impression on the eager audience).

4. Optimizing your white paper for mobile

One of the critical mistakes you can make while formatting a white paper is leaving it in a PDF format. Though it might not seem a big mistake, it can cost you a severe amount of leads and conversions.PDF are hard to read and unadaptable to mobile screens. With 54 percent and growing mobile-driven traffic for the internet, keeping your White paper unresponsive for mobile screens can prove to be a fatal mistake.

5. Imbibing trends

In this dynamic world of information aligning your white paper with the most current trends is vital. Be it in information or design, try to keep readers’ preferences in mind. Write and design for them, not for search engines. You can get references on reading trends through keywords search and design trends by referring to the latest white papers.
Mistakes to avoid while framing a white paper

6. Writing based on poor research

Never start writing a white paper based on poor research. A white paper is considered authoritative and expert opinion on a topic. Drafting a white paper on poor research will only defeat its very purpose and can risk your brand’s credibility and expertise in your niche.

7. Unfitting design

We are constantly evolving toward visual content. Visuals make the first impression, at least on the internet. So don’t let poorly designed visuals and graphics vote down your white paper. Brush up on creating basics or collaborate with a designer to make white paper content worthy of attention.

8. Making your white paper a sales pitch

Never mistake a white paper for a sales pitch. Save all promotional efforts to the conclusion or CTA part and keep the white paper knowledge oriented. Undertoning your white paper with a sales perspective can only downplay your genuine efforts to share knowledge. Instead, use white paper to build trust, foster thought leadership, and draw an organic audience towards your brand.

White paper framing tools

1. Dribble

If you want design inspiration for your white paper, consider drawing it from Dribble. It is a creative platform where worldwide designers and artists share their design portfolios to inspire the audience.

2. Evernote

If you are hunting to gather sources for your white paper, make it convenient with the help of the note-taking and bookmarking tool Evernote. It can help keep track of all the sources and their highlights in a single platform.

3. Good Primers

If you are bent on self-designing your white paper, then suitable primers are an excellent platform for experimenting with designs. It has design tutorials, assistance, templates, and ideas that can drive you through the creative process of your white paper.

4. Responsive white paper-making tool

The responsive white paper-making tool by Foleon helps you make customized white papers compatible and responsive to all mobile screens. It is an excellent tool for creating an easy-to-read white paper for your audience.

5. Voila Norbert

Serious about email marketing your white paper? Then get the correct email addresses for lead generation, PR, and content marketing with Voila Norbert.

6. ContactOut

Need help discovering contact information for sales leads and PR? Your struggle ends here! Find accurate B2b data and contact information of 250 million plus professionals on

7. Google Analytics

The white paper can be marketed better and traced easier with the help of Google Analytics. It provides real-time data on lead generation, buyer’s journey, and conversion rates. Moreover, it helps in optimizing your links too! Track, assess, and market your white paper better than ever with google analytics.

Hurrah! We have covered all the tips to help you frame a white paper that draws readers’ attention. Consider visiting our site content ideators for better assistance in white paper drafting, publishing, and marketing. Whether to generate leads or boost sales, white papers are undeniable content marketing tools, and choose an apt partner for the best results!

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