10 top tips for writing a white-hot whitepaper

Developing a whitepaper can be a challenge, but it is a great way for your business to stand-out from your competitors. 

Whitepapers not only position your business as a thought leader and reliable source of quality information, but provide engaging website and social media content and often underpin coverage in the media.

While smaller businesses will often view a whitepaper as the reserve of their much larger competitors, the truth is anyone with an insight into a particular market or issue can author a valued piece that proves interesting to their target audience.

If you’re thinking about developing a whitepaper we have put together the following tips to support you through the process.

  1. Write about a trending, emergent or important topic that people will want or feel the need to read about. Establishing who your audience is and what they are interested in is the first and most important step – you need to give them an insight into something that they don’t understand and will affect them and their business.
  2. Be informative, professional and use examples and data where possible. Writing a whitepaper is not the same as writing a press release, feature or blog post. The writing style needs to be formal, descriptive and explore issues in real depth – remember there is no word limit and engaged readers will want as much details as possible.
  3. Be organised. Clearly define and structure the outline of the whitepaper before you start writing it and make sure the topics you plan to cover marry up with your goals.
  4. Get it down on paper. Once you have your outline start writing everything down, make sure that you always have a pen and paper to hand and capture every thought you have. Making sure that everything flows and the piece reads nicely can be achieved in the editing stage.
  5. A great intro is vital. You need to tell the readers what you’re going to talk about, what the issue is and what they will gain by reading your paper.
  6. Understand that the whitepaper is about value. Your whitepaper is not an advert or a space for you to talk about your business – it is a document that positions you as an expert that can offer your readers something valuable and insightful. When the time comes for them to make a purchase they’ll remember you as the person who really gets what’s going on in their industry.
  7. Proofread. Ask your colleagues for their opinions and get them to proof your paper as they will spot mistakes and often provide further insight into the issues you’re discussing.
  8. Design. Make sure your whitepaper looks the part, readers will be turned off by a plain Word document and a small investment will pay off.
  9. Call to action. While you shouldn’t mention your products or services in the main body of the paper, readers will be well aware that you’re talking about an issue because your business has a vested interest in it. Make sure you mention your business and relevant services it at the end of the paper and encourage readers to get in touch.
  10. Proliferate your content. Use your whitepaper as content for wider media and communication activities – include it in e-newsletters, write a press release about it and host it as a download on your website.

Whitepapers create and a foster a feeling of credibility around your business. Your customers are also more likely to be responsive and engage with informative write-ups more than they do to adverts. If you make sure your whitepaper is organised and considered you will create a natural and genuine interest in your services or products.

We have successfully developed and commissioned or written white papers for clients across all of our specialist markets – food and drink, outdoor, packaging and sustainability. Get in touch to see how we can help you drive brilliant results.

Pelican Communications are specialists in the environmentfood and drinkoutdoor and leisure and packaging sectors and offer a range of services such as media relations, brand management, event management and people development.