If you want to get a jump start today on what’s going to be happening tomorrow in the world of technology, then look no further than reading up on white papers.
What are white papers, you may ask? They’re basically guidelines that outline a specific piece of research or technical report. In other words, they’re detailed reports with a distinct, well-defined purpose.
In the technology world, it’s not uncommon for a company to release white papers so potential clients can get a glimpse of what their product or service is all about. In fact, it’s become so popular that some companies have even moved to release white papers as a means of marketing themselves instead of traditional advertisements and fliers.
It’s no surprise then that you want one in your corner before going into business – either independently or partnered up with other entrepreneurs. And while a lot has been written on the topic, there are still a lot of questions you might have. Questions like: How do I make my white paper stand out from the rest? And how do I get people interested enough to download it?
Here are a few white papers do’s and don’ts to guide you on what kind of content should go into a white paper, who should be writing them, and how they can help your business stand out from the competition.
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Do come up with a catchy headline relevant for your white paper marketing.
For people to even give your research or technical report a glance, you need to have an attention-grabbing headline that will really reel them in. If you’re creating something more formal, rely on keywords that allow Google bots to easily index your page. These include words like “software,” “computers”, and “mobile.” You may also want to add a number to your headline to make it more enticing, such as “5 Steps to Making Your Mobile App” or “7 Key Benefits of Installing Security Software.”
Do include keywords without sacrificing readability in white paper writing.
Writing white papers is entirely different from writing traditional copy for the web. Many writers think that by stuffing their research with keywords, they’re doing themselves a favour, but all it does is turn off readers. That kind of writing makes the content harder to digest because readers are forced to sift through vast chunks of text to get a general idea – not exactly ideal when you want people looking for specific information.
Do know what your target audience wants before diving into a whitepaper.
It’s easy enough to look at your industry and pinpoint the keywords you think people would search for. But to get conversions, it’s essential to know what your target audience is looking for. For example, if you’re a lawyer who specializes in business law, then chances are that people aren’t going to be looking for terms like “Employment Law” or “Intellectual Property.” They’re going to go straight for something along the lines of “business formation,” so make sure your research reflects that.
Answer what your white paper is about, and don’t forget about formatting.
Many people think white papers are just books where they can take their time writing out every detail – not actual! You need to remember that this is online content and needs to be formatted accordingly so that people can scan it and find what they need in time. Use an infographic maker and white paper maker tool like Venngage to help you out.
Don’t forget the basics of white paper meaning.
Remember that you’re writing something that needs to be taken seriously by your readers, so don’t skimp out on editor’s notes like breaking up text into subheads or using bold letters to highlight important points.
It doesn’t take much for people to lose interest if they feel like they’re wading through a sea of words without coming across anything useful, so make sure your content flows well and is easy enough for anyone to read. Make it more visual by using images and posters. There are tons of free poster maker apps for you to choose from online.
Don’t make it all about you.
While white papers are usually used as marketing tools for businesses, they should still serve the reader first and foremost. By pushing your information on them, you’ll be missing out on potential customers who probably aren’t interested in what you’re offering to begin with. Think of ways that readers can benefit from the research instead of how it can help you achieve your goals.
Do set aside time to write it.
People’s biggest mistake is thinking that they can just whip up a white paper overnight without putting any thought into its contents. However, even if it’s just 10 pages long, writing is still an exercise in mental endurance so remember to allocate enough time for this project to create something that will actually be useful for your readers.
Do make it actionable.
Remember, the whole point of writing a white paper is to provide information on how other people can use what you have to offer. So instead of just telling them about the problems they’ll face if they don’t do anything, detail specific steps that they can take to fix these issues – whether it’s installing new software or simply changing their passwords every now and then. Don’t go overboard with this since people are just looking to get an overall idea of your research. Rather than follow a strict guideline to success!
No matter what type of research or technical report you’re working on, there will always be questions you might have before getting started. But now that you know what white papers can do for your business and how to make sure yours stands out from the rest, then maybe it’s time to start writing and see where it takes your business. Check out Venngage right now for white paper design ideas today.