Get the Best Writer on board
Individuals with no writing experience are often delegated to write the white paper. In
the IT industry, a common mistake is to assume that the developer is best suited to write
about the solution in question. However, let's be honest: writers write and programmers
program. There are some individuals who have both skills, but these are far and few
In general, developers are not ideal for writing white papers; neither
is the Sales Manager.
Youll save yourself a lot of pain by hiring an experienced writer who can look at
your product or service and then make it easy to understand. Professional writers will
also know how to sell the conceptif isnt fair to expect
programmers to have this skill.
Attractive graphics will reinforce the message you intend to convey. Diagrams and
charts will also stop glazed eyes syndrome occurring when the readers
faced with 20 lengthy pages, possible with little use of white space. Text-heavy
documents drain the reader very quickly! Make sure to combine charts, diagrams
and tables to reinforce the main selling points and sustain their interest.
Geekspeak and Three Letter Acronymse.g. B2B, B2Gare endemic in the IT
industry. Experienced writers avoid TLAs, as they know that readers wont understand
the terminology and become frustrated. If you have to use these terms, include a reference
section at the start to explain their meaning.
Readers dont like been patronized. Technical terms without a clear
definition will lose their confidence in you and your products. As previously
mentioned, they will stop reading and go somewhere else. After all, your beloved White
Paper is not the only show in town!
Subject Matter Organization
Before you get into the heart of your paper, provide the relevant background material
to support your arguments. Explain in the opening section why your solution exists and the
specific problem(s) that it solves.
White papers that meander from topic to topic lose the reader. Each paragraph
should only discuss one idea. Dont mix ideas in the same sentence or
For example, when writing the document, assume that the reader is completely new to the
issue at hand. Start with the most significant issues and then progressively walk them
through your solution; start off with the larger issues and sequentially move down though
the main points.
Abstract v. Reality
Many white papers discuss the theoretical application on the solution, e.g. Product X
will do Y in situation Z. Thats fine up to a point as it helps paint a picture for
the reader. However, you need to back up your theory with real world examples.
Case studies and customers quotes are a very effective way to illustrate how your
solution performs in a working environment. Case studies reinforce the theoretical
concepts and help the reader to see how the solution could work for them. If the
reader cant relate to your solution in a practical sense, they will search elsewhere
for another product.
Many readers will read this first. The summary should explain the essence of the white
paper and clearly outline your key selling points.
Make your points. Make them clear. Make them stick.
White Papers provide an excellent format to promote your product and gain an advantage
over your competitors. They also have a long shelf life. They will live on the web,
intranets and hard-drives long after your product has been upgraded or youve changed
For this reason, be very careful that what you publish endorses your companys
high standards. Dont publish anything that your not totally satisfied with; poor
quality material will have the opposite effect of what you intended.
White papers written to the highest standard pay for themselves many times over in the