8 Expert White Paper Writing Success Tips

8 Expert White Paper Writing Success Tips

8 Expert White Paper Writing Success Tips

One of the most successful white papers created a trillion dollars worth of wealth in less than 10 years. In 2008, a cryptographer who went by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto released a white paper called "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System." This simple 800-word white paper helped sell the idea of Bitcoin to millions around the world.

Today, white papers have become a popular way to communicate concepts, sell ideas and share insights. In this guide, I will reveal the proper steps required when it comes to white paper writing.

What Is A White Paper? 

A white paper is a piece of written communication that is designed to share concepts, propose new ideas, or win over an audience. When successful, a white paper will be able to easily explain or communicate an idea or proposal to its intended audience. 

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the length of a white paper. Some white papers can clock in at over 10,000 words, while other white papers have successfully communicated their ideas in under 1,000 words. Effective white paper writing should clearly explain the writer wants to express. 

Think of a white paper as part explanatory guide, part sales brochure. The piece should be able to sell an idea that should be easily understood by its intended audience. When successful, a white paper can position the author as a thought leader on the subject matter. 


Why Write A White Paper?

There are a number of reasons to create a white paper. Originally, white papers were created by think tanks, government agencies, and consultancies to present information in a succinct manner. Today, white papers are often used to generate interest in a business or a concept. 

One of the most popular reasons to write a white paper is to sell an idea or a concept to a specific audience. For instance, a business founder may write a white paper as a sales pitch to investors. 

In other cases, someone may write a white paper to introduce a new idea or concept to a mass audience. 

Some businesses have even used white papers as a way to generate email address leads for an upcoming product or service launch. 

No matter who writes a white paper, the purpose of this type of communication is to present information that leads to an idea or conclusion that the author wants to communicate to the target audience.


Steps To Writing A White Paper 

Writing a white paper is a simple process if you follow the right steps. The following is a sort of white paper template that can allow anyone to write a white paper from start to finish. 

Steps To Writing A White Paper

Steps To Writing A White Paper

Find The Right Topic 

The first step is to create the right white paper topic. Ideally, a white paper should have only one topic that needs to be conveyed to the audience. This will allow the white paper to be easier understood by the audience. 

Before the first piece of content is written, the topic should be set in stone. It is not a good idea to start on any part of the white paper until the right topic has been decided. 

So how do you decide what exactly is the "right topic" for a white paper? Consider asking the following questions:

  • Who is the intended audience? (Clients, reporters, investors, etc.)

  • What is the objective of the white paper? (Create an email list, get investors, or become a thought leader)

  • What problem needs to be solved by this white paper?


Define Your Audience 

After the topic has been selected, the next step in the process is to properly define the audience. When the audience has been defined, it is easier to "talk" to the audience through the white paper.

As an example, if the intended audience is investors, then the white paper should focus on the opportunity. If the intended audience is scientists, then the white paper should focus on research. 

When defining an audience, it is important to make sure that the audience is not too broad. It will be hard to create a successful white paper that talks to both investors and researchers. If one needs to communicate to both audiences, then two separate, targeted white papers would be a better idea.


Review White Paper Examples

Before starting your own white paper, be sure to look at well written white paper examples that closely mirror your subject matter. You can find a number of white paper templates here. Pay special attention to the structure and the flow of the white paper. This will be an invaluable guide to help you through the white paper writing process. 

Churchhill Eduation White Paper

Churchhill Eduation White Paper

Acquire Wealth Solutions White Paper

Acquire Wealth Solutions White Paper

Actors Centre Australia White Paper

Actors Centre Australia White Paper

Create An Attention-Grabbing Intro And Persuasive Conclusion

Effective white paper marketing starts at the very beginning of the document. That is because the average person is exposed to thousands of pieces of communication per day. A white paper has only seconds to "grab attention" or all the following information will be ignored. 

There are several ways to create a persuasive attention grabber within the introduction of a white paper:

  • Use Statistics - Statistics are powerful because they are factual and provide instant authority when backed with research via a link to a reliable source of the data.

  • Use a quote - Using a quote from an individual who is well-respected by the audience can quickly grab and maintain attention. 

  • Utilize tables or a chart - A table or chart is a graphic way to present statistics or data. A chart may be a smart choice if the intended audience is a scientist or financial professional. 


At the conclusion of the white paper, the author should summarize the preceding content and provide a call to action. The call to action may be as overt as requesting that the reader be added to an email list. In other cases, the author may want to attract potential customers or investors. 

Both the introduction and the conclusion should be no more than 100 words.

Create An Attention-Grabbing Intro And Persuasive Conclusion

Create An Attention-Grabbing Intro And Persuasive Conclusion

Add Lots of Value 

Chances are that the audience for a white paper is professionals. That means that their time is extremely valuable. Therefore, the entire document must deliver valuable content in return for the reader's time.

First, the white paper must provide a promise that it will deliver value in the title and introduction. Going back to the Satoshi Nakamoto Bitcoin white paper, the title offers a promise of delivering value in its title, "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System." 

If Mr. Nakamoto simply called his white paper, "Bitcoin," then it may not have been widely read, since the intended audience had no idea what a Bitcoin was. However, the idea of a peer-to-peer electronic cash system was something completely new that would likely interest the intended audience. 

After the value has been promised, it is time to deliver. The value should be delivered throughout the white paper. Value is delivered by providing the following:

  • Key opportunities to invest

  • New findings through a well-researched report

  • Key insights via industry reports, surveys, or observation

Ideally, white paper writing should deliver enough value that the reader will be persuaded to take the intended action. That action can include investing in a project, submitting their email address, or approving a proposal.


Keep the Reader Engaged 

There is a misconception that a white paper has to be a dry presentation of information. However, simply presenting information will not be enough in a world where professionals are crunched for time. 

During each part of the white paper, the reader must be kept engaged by the content. This can be accomplished by setting up a promise and then delivering with value. 

As an example, the beginning of the white paper can present a problem that is of interest to the intended audience. The white paper can then propose the solution and back up that solution with relevant data. This classic problem-solution approach can be the backbone of the entire white paper. 

Keeping an audience engaged also involves knowing your audience. If your audience is investors, then they will be kept engaged by statistics about market opportunities. Scientists and researchers will likely be engaged by statistical data from trusted studies. 


Avoid These Common Mistakes 

All too often, white papers fail to find or engage their audience due to easily avoidable mistakes. Here is a look at two of the most common errors that can lead to readability or quality issues in a white paper. 

Avoid These Common Mistakes

Avoid These Common Mistakes


Lack Of Adequate Research 

A white paper must deliver value in order to capture, engage and persuade the reader. That will require doing adequate research in order to provide that value through research, data, or other measures. 

Before a white paper is drafted, the author must do the needed research in order to deliver the required value that the reader is seeking. Also, there should be enough research performed to deliver enough value for the entirety of the white paper.


Leaving The Content Abstract

Clarity is important to a white paper. Since the reader is likely to be pressed for time, he or she should know right away what the white paper is trying to communicate. Additionally, the content should be easy for the reader to understand. There should be no content gaps or confusing information that could frustrate the intended audience. 

Finally, the white paper should clearly communicate what the reader should do or believe. Ideally, a white paper should seek to make the reader take one action or believe in one particular idea. Whether looking for an addition to an email list or a belief in a certain industry report, the intention should be clear. 


Creating a Winning White Paper 

White papers can become the ultimate tool when it comes to sharing new ideas, raising capital, winning clients, or shifting sentiment. To create a winning white paper, the author should adhere to the following steps:

  • Find the right topic

  • Define the audience

  • Create an attention-grabbing headline and persuasive conclusion 

  • Add lots of value

  • Keep the read engaged 

  • Use adequate research

  • Avoid abstract language

With excellent planning and focus, a winning white paper can create surprising results.

Hire Top Copywriters

Hire Top Copywriters