Witty White Paper – Best Content Practices

Last updated on October 17th, 2022

What Is a White Paper?

A white paper is a persuasive essay that uses facts and logic to promote a certain product, service, technology or viewpoint. Should not be confused with a Manifesto, brochure, green paper, annual report or case studies.
-Gordon Graham

Other Terminologies: Competitive Review, Evaluation Guide, Executive Briefing, Market Overview, Position Paper, Product Briefing, Special Report

According to Graham Gordon, a white paper must consist

  • A document containing narrative text
  • At least 5-6 pages or minimum 1000 words
  • Oriented in portrait format (landscape format tends to be for B2B e-books)
  • Educational, practical and useful, not a sales pitch
  • Used before a sale, not after a sale
  • Provides facts, not just opinion
  • Includes an introduction or executive summary.

Types of White Papers

In Business, White Papers can be considered as a part of extended marketing to persuade clients and customers and promote company products and viewpoints. It can be used to generate leads as well as boost business conversations. For a better understanding of Business White Papers, kindly read:

In Politics, government White Papers can be used to educate the audience about firm policies, while receiving an opinion on the same. For a better understanding of Government White Papers, kindly read:

White Paper Structure

White Papers are authoritative essays that are written keeping specific issues, products, audience, and decisions in mind. One of the earliest publication includes The Churchill White Paper. Going through some of the texts of this paper, it becomes clear that a White Paper must involve facts, dates, verified news, citations, references and thorough knowledge of white paper writing styles.

Since it involves the Palestine situation and the Arab-Jewish subject, the Churchill White Paper consists of subject research, official statements, governmental press releases, specific event dates, reference to the Senate and Constitution, etc.

Apart from techniques and content writing best practices, a White Paper must be built around a definite Structure. A Well Structured White Paper has the following flow of elements:


The 5-W Approach Towards Writing a Well Structured White Paper

To achieve a successfully written White Paper, kindly ask the following 5 Questions before writing.

  • What is the purpose (statement) of this White Paper?
  • Why is the White Paper being written?
  • Who will read it?
  • Where will It be published?
  • When will it be published?

Best Practices for Writing a White Paper

According to Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose, the following framework must be followed for best practices:

Source: Content Marketing Institute

  1. DISCUSSING ideas and making a plan in the early stages of white paper documentation will help generate a clear process outline.
  2. BUILDING FRAMEWORK is crucial for achieving the set targets and goals of the final white paper.
  3. DEADLINES are important and must be decided upon in advance.
  4. DRAFTING a copy at early stages will go a long way.
  5. VISUALS/IMAGES must enhance the textual content and not distract from it. Kindly use only official and verified images, data, charts, and graphs.
  6. COLLABORATE/COMMUNICATE with other writers/editors in the event of a team effort with regards to white paper development so that all ideas, thoughts, and facts are incorporated and structured.
  7. FOLLOW APA REFERENCE method and kindly use Citations wherever required. Number your references well. APA Citation Guidelines
  8. HYPERLINK wherever required. Citations for Electronic Referencing is also mandatory. APA Guide to Electronic References
  9. PLAGIARISM will not be tolerated. Always cite references, wherever required, e_specially_ while quoting others.
  10. FOLLOW the 3-30-3 RULE for Whitepapers
  • You have 3 seconds to grab your reader’s attention. A couple of seconds to get the audience to click on your ad or link, so they become interested in your paper.
  • You have 30 seconds to engage your reader. Once they have clicked, you need to engage them with a summary of the paper either to get them to read the white paper or to get them to download it.
  • You have 3 minutes for your prospect to read the paper. No matter how amazing your content is, people are busy and tend to skim them.  Don’t make the content too dense.  It is better to simplify the content and offer an additional white paper than to include too much information in one white paper.

The above blog gave you information on what white paper is,and some of the best white paper practices. Use the best tools for researching,curating and writing great content to have maximum impact.

Use them well!

Happy writing!

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