White Papers

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Writers Who’s Guide to Writing a Great White Paper

The definition of a white paper varies from industry to industry but it is broadly understood to be an informative document that is issued by a company or organisation to educate its readers about a complex topic. It’s a marketing tool used to present a persuasive philosophy or solution to a particular issue in order to influence its readers. It is also used by governments to present policies or report on inquiries.

White paper writing inspiration

Writers Who have crafted many white papers for our clients. Take a look at the following for an idea of the type of content we’ve created for white papers.

What’s included in a White Paper ?

Every white paper will be different depending on the business or organisation and the message you want to send. Types of things that may be included in a white paper are:

  • Title;
  • Executive summary;
  • Introduction;
  • Between 5 and 10 subheadings contextualising the white paper;
  • Conclusion.

Tips for planning a white paper

A white paper is a well-researched report that will share in-depth information about a specific topic. Make sure to set aside a considerable amount of time to compile your research.

  • Take time to identify your target audience for the white paper. Are you writing to a consumer or other organisations and bodies?;
  • Determine your key message: What do readers need to know about the topic that you’re writing about and what action do they need to take?;
  • Gather consensus from within your organisation on the topic of the white paper and what you’re calling for;
  • Generally, white papers are between 1,000 and 2,500 words in length;
  • Start by compiling the important facts and figures that you need to include. Use research tools, previous white papers and annual reports, local or trade media reports, and industry data to include in the white paper;
  • Reach out to experts who could offer commentary and insights within your white paper and set up a time to interview them;
  • Appoint one or two editors to be accountable to review your work ahead of publication.

Tips for writing an executive summary

Similar to a contents page, the executive summary of your white paper will define the topic of your white paper;

  • Create an outline for how your white paper will be structured;
  • Using bullet points to outline each argument you intend to make;

Tips for writing the introduction of a white paper

  • The introduction of a white paper will need to attract the attention of your reader by touching on the most enticing information;
  • Within 1-2 paragraphs, outline the problem your industry faces, the hypothesis you aim to present to your reader or the solution you intend to present;

Tips for writing the body of a white paper

The body of your white paper is the opportunity to present your argument in all its glory.

  • The body of the white paper is where you’ll expand on your compelling introduction;
  • Start by contextualising the problem you have identified;
  • What does the industry look like in its entirety? Not every person who reads the white paper will have knowledge about your organisation, or the industry you’re writing about; Include a brief history or timeline;
  • Can you create infographics or charts to present information visually to support your writing?;
  • Include the quotes from the experts you interviewed to add authenticity and additional insights to your argument;
  • Present the compelling solution based on the information that you have included.

Tips for writing a conclusion to a white paper

  • Your conclusion will round out the argument that you’ve made in the white paper;
  • Summarise the key points and major findings you’ve presented;
  • Reiterate the recommendations you’ve made in the paper;
  • Are you calling on the action of individuals or organisations? Emphasise what action needs to be taken.

Tips for finalising the white paper

Make sure to review your white paper before submitting it. Once you’re finished, double-check for typos or errors by reading it over one more time. Is the person you’re writing it for happy with the details you’ve included and the message the white paper sends?

Are all the facts correct? Often our eyes become blind to errors in our own work. Hearing the words out loud can help you to check that everything reads okay and makes sense. Paste your copy into a text to speech generator to hear how it really sounds.

Appoint an official editor or two to review the final copy before publication.

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