What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]


The definition of a whitepaper varies closely from trade to trade, which could be a little complicated for entrepreneurs trying to create one for his or her enterprise.

The old-school definition comes from politics, the place it means a legislative doc explaining and supporting a specific political resolution.

In tech, a whitepaper often describes a idea behind a brand new piece of expertise. Even a enterprise whitepaper can serve a wide range of makes use of and audiences — some extra product-focused than others. And though it’s put collectively like an e-book, the 2 are written fairly otherwise.

→ Download Now: 36 Free Ebook Templates

We’re right here to arm you with the finest definition of a whitepaper within the context of enterprise and what to do (and never do) as you create one. This text covers: 

What Is a Whitepaper?

A whitepaper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a particular matter that presents an issue and supplies an answer.

Entrepreneurs create whitepapers to coach their viewers a few specific concern, or clarify and promote a specific methodology. They’re superior problem-solving guides. Usually, whitepapers require no less than an electronic mail tackle for obtain (often they require info greater than that), making them nice for capturing leads.

What Is not a Whitepaper?

A product pitch.

Though Investopedia defines a whitepaper as “an informational doc issued by an organization to advertise or spotlight the options of an answer, product, or service,” be warned that overtly shilling your individual stuff might flip off your readers.

The purpose of a whitepaper is to tell and persuade primarily based on information and proof, not inform the world why folks want to purchase your product proper now.

How Are Whitepapers Totally different From Weblog Posts and Ebooks?

Talking of what a whitepaper is not … when you’re searching for a fast and interactive approach to current your worth to the trade, a whitepaper is just not your solely possibility. There are additionally ebooks and weblog posts — each of which have numerous variations from a whitepaper.

What actually set these merchandise aside are the dimensions, look, and time dedication of every one. Whereas writing weblog posts and ebooks can take wherever between a number of hours and some weeks, a very good whitepaper can take between a number of weeks and some months to write down and polish. They’re much less flashy, way more severe in tone, and extra closely researched than weblog posts and ebooks.

Let me present you a comparability. The set beneath is considered one of our personal e-book templates (which you can get for free here). It is a thorough however easy learn:

Cover of a free ebook template offered by HubSpot  Page from a free ebook template offered by HubSpot

Now, here’s a whitepaper primarily based on our newest analysis on rising tech for small to mid-sized companies (an ideal report — see the web version here). You may see how a lot element whitepapers can go into, each in textual content and in its photographs:

hubspot research whitepaper cover that reads: "a practical approach to emerging tech for smbs"   hubspot research whitepaper internal page that is about why blockchain mattersPhotographs through HubSpot Research [PDF]

Ebooks and whitepapers can begin on the identical template. However in the end, whitepapers are the educational papers of promoting content material. Readers anticipate a excessive diploma of experience backed by strong analysis that’s absolutely documented by references.

Ebooks, alternatively, are sometimes extensions of a topic you cowl repeatedly on a weblog. They will come out of diligent analysis, however they enchantment to a wider viewers when unpacking a enterprise topic.

You may think about this makes them sort of boring compared — in truth, most individuals do not really need to learn whitepapers, however they do it anyway to construct their data of an operation they want extra perception on earlier than making their subsequent transfer.

For that reason, they are usually notably detailed and informative, authoritative, and written by trade consultants. And these qualities could make some determination makers really feel higher a few future buy.

What Makes a Good Whitepaper?

Technically, there aren’t any minimal necessities for whitepapers. Anybody can name something a whitepaper — this doesn’t suggest you must, although. With out some boundaries on what’s and what is not a whitepaper, we danger complicated our viewers and dropping credibility. Here is what an A+ whitepaper seems to be like:

  • Size: No fewer than six pages, together with illustrations, charts, and references. Might be upwards of fifty if the subject requires that a lot element. (Chances are high, it will not.)
  • Construction: There may be often a title web page, desk of contents, quick government abstract (non-compulsory however useful), introduction, a number of pages educating the reader about the issue, a number of pages hypothesizing an answer, a number of pages providing an instance of an organization that used that resolution to attain outcomes, and a conclusion.
  • Density: Denser than an e-book. Whitepapers aren’t often simple to skim — in reality, readers often have to learn them over greater than as soon as to get each morsel of knowledge out of it.
  • Format: PDF in portrait orientation (8.5″ by 11″).
  • Fashion: Skilled, severe, properly written, and properly edited. I might advocate hiring a graphic designer to design web page structure, photographs, fonts, and colours as properly.

Whitepaper Examples for Lead Era

So, if whitepapers are so boring, why do entrepreneurs create them? Properly, they’re an ideal useful resource in your prospects and gross sales workforce, and so they aid you construct credibility and belief along with your readers. Additionally, individuals who select to obtain whitepapers usually are additional into the customer buying cycle.

With that in thoughts, listed here are two use instances for a whitepaper:

A Technical Case Research

It has been mentioned that case research, like ebooks, are very completely different from whitepapers. Nevertheless, some case research are lengthy sufficient that they are finest packaged as whitepapers themselves.

A case research is basically the story of a buyer’s success reaching a purpose because of their partnership with one other celebration. This success is finest conveyed by sure metrics the shopper has agreed to be measured on. And relying on how technical or complicated the service is that they obtained, the extra analysis and element different potential prospects will wish to see as they proceed their purchaser’s journey.

Due to this fact, case study-based whitepapers could be a terrific means of demonstrating thought management on a dense idea by a real-world instance of how this idea helped another person succeed.

A Reference Information

Think about you’re employed for an organization that sells kitchen cleansing tools to eating places and also you write a whitepaper in regards to the upkeep and inspection of economic kitchens.

That whitepaper might be chock stuffed with details about authorized necessities for exhaust methods, cooking tools, and cleanliness documentation that might put even the most important kitchen upkeep fanatic to sleep if learn cover-to-cover.

Nevertheless it additionally serves as an extremely helpful reference for restaurant house owners who wish to know easy methods to keep their kitchens to move inspection. As soon as they understand how clear they should maintain their kitchens, they’re going to doubtless purchase some costly cleansing tools from you as a result of they see you as a useful, detail-oriented, credible supply.

Many individuals create whitepapers for this function — a useful resource that their leads can take with them to turn into higher at their commerce. Ideally, the higher they turn into, the extra certified they’re to work with the group that gave them the whitepaper.

Now that you realize the aim of whitepapers and the way they differ from ebooks, it is time to get began in creating your individual. With the above finest practices in thoughts, here is the method you’ll be able to take to supply a superb whitepaper in your viewers: 

1. Establish your viewers’s ache. 

When you’re an issue professional in a singular place to supply content material, you have to take into account your viewers and what’s going on of their lives. By making a whitepaper that addresses (and solves) for his or her wants, you may higher be capable to generate demand in your whitepaper. 

To do that, take into account creating a buyer persona. This exercise will aid you put your self of their footwear. Then, you may wish to take into account what sort of info would appeal to them, how they’d use the data, and the way it might resolve their ache or drawback. 

2. Do your analysis. 

Whitepapers are informational in nature, and you may wish to decide easy methods to present info your viewers cannot get elsewhere. You are able to do that by:

  • Operating an unique research/survey
  • Placing collectively distinctive case research
  • Detailing a singular course of or venture

Should you’re unable to do your individual analysis, attempt drawing statistics from authorities and/or survey organizations and analyzing them in a singular means (and ensure you cite your sources).  

3. Create a top level view. 

As a result of whitepapers are long-form in nature, a top level view might help manage your ideas. Think about sketching out your matter within the following format: 

  1. Introduction and Synopsis – Introducing the subject of the whitepaper, explaining why it is vital (from the standpoint of the viewers), and what the whitepaper units to do, convey, or resolve. 
  2. Overview – Defining some a few of the key phrases you plan to make use of, detailing the variables or parameters concerned, and summarizing what you may talk about. 
  3. Physique – Laying out all the important thing factors and highlights you may hit. 
  4. Conclusion – Explaining the important thing take-aways from the physique and any motion objects the reader ought to take.

4. Put pen to paper and flesh out your define. 

Utilizing an informational and fact-based tone, start increasing on the concepts you have got by utilizing the define as a information. As well as, every paragraph ought to contribute to the general purpose of the piece. 

5. Use imagery to assist your factors. 

As a result of whitepapers go deep on analysis and evaluation, visuals resembling charts, graphs, and tables might help you current info in a visually attention-grabbing means and make the paper simpler to learn. 

6. Get suggestions. 

It is important to current the most effective write-up you’ll be able to in your readers. The upper high quality it’s, the extra authority you may have in your viewers’s eyes. Get suggestions from somebody you belief to catch typos or different points with readability. 

7. Spend money on the formatting and design. 

Whereas it isn’t essential to get too flashy with it, colour, structure, and imagery goes an extended approach to make your whitepaper interesting. 

Whitepaper Examples

To supply much more inspiration, listed here are fashionable examples of whitepapers which can be emblematic of nice whitepaper execution (and why):

1. Not Another State of Marketing Report, HubSpot

HubSpot does a tremendous job yearly compiling knowledge from consultants and companions to convey fashionable developments within the advertising and marketing panorama. That is helpful for entrepreneurs as a result of they’ll use the statistics to create advertising and marketing and gross sales content material in addition to be taught from the macro shifts which can be taking place within the trade. The whitepaper presents this info with engaging graphs and quick editorial summaries together with hyperlinks to extra in-depth articles on every matter.

hubspot whitepaper example: "not another state of marketing report" cover for 2020

Image Source

2. It’s Not You, It’s My Data, Custora

Custora created this whitepaper about buyer churn, why it is vital, and easy methods to stop it. What makes this e-book nice is that it guarantees concrete worth to the reader (income financial savings from stopping attrition) backed by a wealth of knowledge and actionable recommendation. Even higher, the whitepaper is fashionable and engaging, so the studying expertise is nice. This helps the reader eat the long-form content material with out friction.

custora whitepaper example: "it's not you, it's my data" cover that reads "leveraging customer analytics to build a scalable customer churn prevention system"

Image Source

3. Google Cloud’s AI Adoption Framework, Google

This whitepaper leverages Google’s authority to influence the reader into adopting AI. By offering a technique to start with, Google goals to provide the reader the instruments to suppose by the facility of AI as it may be utilized to their enterprise. Then, the whitepaper dives into extra technical info for superior readers.

google whitepaper example: cover that reads "google cloud's AI adoption framework"

Image Source

4. Employees and Cybersecurity, Excedeo

Excedo goals to coach in regards to the safety dangers that staff might unknowingly pose to companies when improperly educated. The whitepaper advocates in regards to the forms of inside IT insurance policies and coaching which can be important in at this time’s world.

excedo whitepaper example: first page that reads "employees and cyber security" and an introduction to the topic

Image Source

Whitepapers have an extended historical past, and their makes use of have continued to alter. Remember to determine whether or not or not a whitepaper will really serve your viewers earlier than spending the months-long course of to supply it. Typically, an e-book will just do wonderful. Then again, long-form academic content material has a spot in your content material technique.

New Call-to-action


Editor’s observe: This put up was initially printed in March 2018 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here