The 2 Things that Make a Killer White Paper
Connotations offers a white paper writing service along with numerous other kinds of content creation for B2B and B2C clients. White papers are relatively new as online marketing tools despite having been around for decades, so it is not unusual for people to misunderstand their benefits in the digital age. As such, we sometimes find ourselves educating clients about white papers.
A well-written white paper can constitute a killer piece of content with long-term residual value. That is the goal, ideally. A poorly written white paper can become an albatross around the neck of the company that published it. Our goal at Connotations is to create those killer white papers that prove to be extremely valuable to our clients.
Over the years, we have learned that there are two things that make for a killer white paper. Yes, a properly written white paper contains several different elements that follow a standard structure in terms of layout and presentation, but in the end, the following two things largely determine whether a white paper will be a killer piece of content or an albatross.
1. A Topic That Appeals to Your Audience
Choosing a topic may be one of the most difficult parts of writing a killer white paper. As a white paper writing service, we know all too well that lousy topics get lousy results. Topics for white papers are critically important because the whole idea behind the white paper is to establish authority and boost your reputation. You can’t do either by writing on a topic your audience doesn’t care about.
When choosing a topic, you should think about the following:
- topics no one else in your industry wants to address even though they are critical;
- topics that everyone is talking about but remain controversial nonetheless;
- topics that address an emerging trend very few people in your industry see on the horizon; and
- topics that will establish you or your company as a thought leader in your industry.
Let’s say you run a firm that provides financial advice relating to pensions and retirement. Your competitors are constantly talking about the inequities of the state pension system, the need to diversify for maximum returns, how to take advantage of pension reforms, etc. No one is talking about ways to establish a solid pension strategy that will do well no matter how Brexit negotiations pan out. There is a topic just begging to be explored in a white paper.
2. A Solution That Appeals to Your Audience
A white paper does more than just present a problem or challenge. It also presents your solution as the obvious best choice for your audience. But guess what? The solution you offer must appeal to your audience. If it’s not appealing, it really doesn’t matter how well you make your case in the preceding paragraphs.
Using our previous example of pension saving and retirement, consider what the average pension saver is thinking about as retirement approaches. He or she is thinking about having enough money to live a comfortable lifestyle for the remainder of life’s years. Your white paper can make an excellent case for building a strong and stable pension strategy that can withstand Brexit, but if your solution requires workers to live like paupers for the remainder of their working lives, your strong case will not matter.
The trick here is making sure you actually have a solution that addresses the presented challenge in a way that is appealing to your audience. In the absence of such a solution, it might be better to hold off on your white paper until you have one ready to go. Another alternative is to choose a different topic.
The two most important things for creating a killer white paper are your topic and solution. Both have to appeal to your audience in a way that establishes your authority and gives your audience a reason to download and read your piece. Get these two things right, and you’ll have a killer white paper capable of generating long-term results.