What is a whitepaper? Ask ten people the same question and chances are you will get twenty different answers.
And that’s because more often than not businesses end up churning out thoughtless content just to meet ill-conceived content quotas, overlooking the format and butchering the overall objective of the desired content piece.
So, let’s start with the basics - A whitepaper is an authoritative and persuasive report proposing solutions against a common problem amongst its audience. Business whitepapers are usually issued by a company to break down a new technology for its users or provide solutions for a product or service in question (old or new). Also called as “problem solving guides” – whitepapers are often confused with e-books, as they are somewhat put together in a similar fashion but in fact are very different from one another. Whitepapers can be a wee bit technical (for all the reasons mentioned above), and yet extremely useful for the correct audience. They also usually require an email address for download (and much more at times), which can definitely very positively contribute to lead generation. Despite their continuous struggle, brands keep creating whitepapers across industries, taking optimum advantage of online content writing and SEO writing.
Types of Whitepapers
- Problem/Solution – presenting solution/s to a new/old problem supported by statistical data, research studies and logic
- Backgrounder – highlighting the features of a product or service
- Numbered List – providing numbered set of points, tips, answers or questions about an issue
How to Write a Whitepaper
Writing a whitepaper is not that difficult as long as you understand the need and process behind it. Don’t worry, we have got you covered. Follow these points to get started!
1. Who are you writing the whitepaper for?
Narrowing down to a specific audience is always the first step to any type of content writing. It is important for you to know whether you want to target:
- Fellow professionals who are aware of the problem in question and comfortable with your subject
- Newer audience which might not be well versed in your subject but are interested
A simple analysis like this will help you understand how much time and effort you need to put into your content.
Part of defining your audience is to also understand how they are searching online – which keywords can work in your favour. A thorough keyword research will also help you optimize your content for Google (or any search engine of your preference) and will make it easier for your audience to find you. Don’t lose your focus on SEO!
2. Find common problem you can solve
Conduct surveys, place forms on your website, or do a thorough analysis on what your audience’s pain points are and link them back to your products and services. Find out the most common problems, and pick the ones that reflect your business.
Finally ask yourself – “Can we call ourselves experts on this?”. Choose the one you say yes to and march on from there.
3. Do your research – refer to sample whitepapers
If you want to build trust and create good content, don’t go lazy on your research. Good whitepapers are always backed with strong facts and are highly research-driven. Don’t make it another opinion piece because you will get enough opportunities to do just that!
Depending upon your topic, you may not even need to look beyond your company’s insights and Google to find meat. But if you fall short - you can refer to more research reports relevant to your topic/industry or visit government websites.
Writing a whitepaper may seem time consuming but it has its own benefits. It not only helps you establish yourself as an authority in the market but also enables you to build a rapport with your audience. You can write plenty of blogs, create e-books, or even whitepapers but to know what works and what doesn’t you will have to wait and test the results.
So, keep creating content for your readers, but don’t forget to optimize it for Google. Have any questions for us? Leave a comment below!