White papers are valuable because over 9 in 10 (91%) buyers rank them as the second most effective type of content in the buying process (behind product literature).
To ensure your white paper resonates with your audience and provides them with value, your white paper writer will pull on a variety of techniques. Here, I will share 3 of these with you:
Your white paper writer will conduct extensive research
White papers are valuable because they contain a lot of factual information. The opinions of your subject matter experts are always valid because they’re based on the skills, knowledge, and experience of doing the job over several years – but it is still an opinion, which makes it easy to argue.
A better way to present opinions or ideas in your white paper is to back them up with credible research. For example:
“Digital transformation projects are more successful when broken down into smaller chunks of change. According to HBR, organisations need to deconstruct big change into small steps, because it allows you to change behaviours that ensure the buy-in needed for transformation to succeed.”
A white paper writer will spend significant time researching all elements of your content to ensure you put forward a ‘water-tight argument’, which ultimately helps your audience to make the right decision for their organisation.
To give you an idea of how I conduct research and collate everything I need to write a white paper, I have documented my process in this template:
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Your white paper writer will seek to repurpose your existing assets
Every piece of content you create holds value and nothing should ever be created to be used once. When writing a white paper, you should seek to draw on the insights you’ve shared before, as it helps to ensure consistency in message, reinforces your position as a subject matter expert, and creates seamless user journeys.
As a white paper writer, part of my briefing process is to research the content assets you already own – specifically thought leadership articles, case studies, and reports – and identify those that add value to the new white paper.
For example, if we imagine a white paper that talks about cloud migration, we could repurpose the insights from a blog about expected cost-savings when rightsizing cloud environments, and then use the highlights from a case study to demonstrate how you did this in practice.
If you want to learn more about how to repurpose your existing content into new assets, read ‘Content creation for targeting a new sector’ or download this one-pager:
|TEMPLATE: white papers
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Your white paper writer knows the right running order
Every piece of content has a specific structure, and your white paper writer will know the best framework to present your ideas and opinions.
It starts with an ‘executive summary’ to establish the context and demonstrate empathy with the audience’s current situation. This then leads into the ‘contents’ – essentially telling the audience what you’re about to cover in the white paper.
The subsequent sections then cover everything from the problem to the opportunity, anticipated outcome, solution and evidence of it in action.
Finally, we reach the ‘conclusion’. This is the point at which we sum up everything the white paper has just covered. It also leads nicely into the call-to-action (CTA) where you tell the audience what you want them to do next.
Top tip! Because a white paper is a meaty asset, it requires the audience to make an investment of their time to read it. Therefore, your audience is more likely to agree to a bigger CTA, such as booking a demonstration, signing up to attend an event, or scheduling a call.