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The definition of a whitepaper varies closely from business to business, which is usually a little complicated for entrepreneurs trying to create one for his or her enterprise.

content team working on the design of a whitepaper

The old-school definition comes from politics, the place it means a legislative doc explaining and supporting a specific political answer.

In tech, a whitepaper often describes a idea behind a brand new piece of know-how. Even a enterprise whitepaper can serve quite a lot of makes use of and audiences — some extra product-focused than others. And though it’s put collectively like an e-book, the 2 are written fairly in another way.

→ Download Now: 36 Free Ebook Templates

We’re right here to arm you with the finest definition of a whitepaper within the context of enterprise and what to do (and never do) as you create one. This text covers: 

What Is a Whitepaper?

A whitepaper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a particular subject that presents an issue and gives an answer.

Entrepreneurs create whitepapers to coach their viewers a couple of explicit difficulty, or clarify and promote a specific methodology. They’re superior problem-solving guides. Usually, whitepapers require at the least an e-mail tackle for obtain (often they require data greater than that), making them nice for capturing leads.

What Is not a Whitepaper?

A product pitch.

Though Investopedia defines a whitepaper as “an informational doc issued by an organization to advertise or spotlight the options of an answer, product, or service,” be warned that overtly shilling your individual stuff might flip off your readers.

The purpose of a whitepaper is to tell and persuade primarily based on details and proof, not inform the world why folks want to purchase your product proper now.

How Are Whitepapers Completely different From Weblog Posts and Ebooks?

Talking of what a whitepaper is not … for those who’re on the lookout for a fast and interactive approach to current your worth to the business, a whitepaper shouldn’t be your solely choice. There are additionally ebooks and weblog posts — each of which have varied variations from a whitepaper.

What actually set these merchandise aside are the scale, look, and time dedication of every one. Whereas writing weblog posts and ebooks can take anyplace between just a few hours and some weeks, whitepaper can take between just a few weeks and some months to jot down and polish. They’re much less flashy, far more critical in tone, and extra closely researched than weblog posts and ebooks.

Let me present you a comparability. The set beneath is considered one of our personal e-book templates (which you may get free of charge right here). It is a thorough however easy learn:

Cover of a free ebook template offered by HubSpot  Page from a free ebook template offered by HubSpot

Now, here’s a whitepaper primarily based on our newest analysis on rising tech for small to mid-sized companies (an amazing report — see the net model right here). You may see how a lot element whitepapers can go into, each in textual content and in its photos:

hubspot research whitepaper cover that reads: "a practical approach to emerging tech for smbs"   hubspot research whitepaper internal page that is about why blockchain mattersPhotographs by way of HubSpot Analysis [PDF]

Ebooks and whitepapers can begin on the identical template. However finally, whitepapers are the tutorial papers of promoting content material. Readers anticipate a excessive diploma of experience backed by stable analysis that’s absolutely documented by references.

Ebooks, however, are sometimes extensions of a topic you cowl commonly on a weblog. They will come out of diligent analysis, however they attraction to a wider viewers when unpacking a enterprise topic.

You may think about this makes them sort of boring as compared — in truth, most individuals do not really need to learn whitepapers, however they do it anyway to construct their data of an operation they want extra perception on earlier than making their subsequent transfer.

For that reason, they are usually significantly detailed and informative, authoritative, and written by business consultants. And these qualities could make some choice makers really feel higher a couple of future buy.

What Makes a Good Whitepaper?

Technically, there are not any minimal necessities for whitepapers. Anybody can name something a whitepaper — this doesn’t suggest it is best to, although. With out some boundaries on what’s and what is not a whitepaper, we threat complicated our viewers and shedding credibility. This is what an A+ whitepaper appears to be like like:

  • Size: No fewer than six pages, together with illustrations, charts, and references. Might be upwards of fifty if the subject requires that a lot element. (Chances are high, it will not.)
  • Construction: There may be often a title web page, desk of contents, quick govt abstract (elective however useful), introduction, a number of pages educating the reader about the issue, a number of pages hypothesizing an answer, a number of pages providing an instance of an organization that used that answer to attain outcomes, and a conclusion.
  • Density: Denser than an e-book. Whitepapers aren’t often straightforward to skim — actually, readers often must learn them over greater than as soon as to get each morsel of knowledge out of it.
  • Format: PDF in portrait orientation (8.5″ by 11″).
  • Type: Skilled, critical, effectively written, and effectively edited. I would suggest hiring a graphic designer to design web page format, photos, fonts, and colours as effectively.

Whitepaper Examples for Lead Technology

So, if whitepapers are so boring, why do entrepreneurs create them? Nicely, they’re an amazing useful resource in your prospects and gross sales group, they usually aid you construct credibility and belief along with your readers. Additionally, individuals who select to obtain whitepapers typically are additional into the buyer shopping for cycle.

With that in thoughts, listed here are two use instances for a whitepaper:

A Technical Case Research

It has been stated that case research, like ebooks, are very completely different from whitepapers. Nonetheless, some case research are lengthy sufficient that they are finest packaged as whitepapers themselves.

A case examine is basically the story of a buyer’s success reaching a purpose on account of their partnership with one other social gathering. This success is finest conveyed by sure metrics the shopper has agreed to be measured on. And relying on how technical or complicated the service is that they obtained, the extra analysis and element different potential prospects will wish to see as they proceed their purchaser’s journey.

Due to this fact, case study-based whitepapers is usually a terrific means of demonstrating thought management on a dense idea by a real-world instance of how this idea helped another person succeed.

A Reference Information

Think about you’re employed for an organization that sells kitchen cleansing tools to eating places and also you write a whitepaper in regards to the upkeep and inspection of business kitchens.

That whitepaper might be chock filled with details about authorized necessities for exhaust techniques, cooking tools, and cleanliness documentation that would put even the largest kitchen upkeep fanatic to sleep if learn cover-to-cover.

But it surely additionally serves as an extremely helpful reference for restaurant house owners who wish to know how you can keep their kitchens to move inspection. As soon as they understand how clear they should maintain their kitchens, they will possible purchase some costly cleansing tools from you as a result of they see you as a useful, detail-oriented, credible supply.

Many individuals create whitepapers for this goal — a useful resource that their leads can take with them to turn out to be higher at their commerce. Ideally, the higher they turn out to be, the extra certified they’re to work with the group that gave them the whitepaper.

Now that you recognize the aim of whitepapers and the way they differ from ebooks, it is time to get began in creating your individual. With the above finest practices in thoughts, here is the method you may take to supply a wonderful whitepaper in your viewers: 

1. Establish your viewers’s ache. 

When you’re a subject professional in a singular place to offer content material, you should think about your viewers and what’s going on of their lives. By making a whitepaper that addresses (and solves) for his or her wants, you may higher be capable to generate demand in your whitepaper. 

To do that, think about making a purchaser persona. This exercise will aid you put your self of their footwear. Then, you may wish to think about what sort of data would entice them, how they’d use the data, and the way it might clear up their ache or downside. 

2. Do your analysis. 

Whitepapers are informational in nature, and you will wish to decide how you can present data your viewers cannot get elsewhere. You are able to do that by:

  • Working an unique examine/survey
  • Placing collectively distinctive case research
  • Detailing a singular course of or venture

In the event you’re unable to do your individual analysis, attempt drawing statistics from authorities and/or survey organizations and analyzing them in a singular means (and be sure you cite your sources).  

3. Create an overview. 

As a result of whitepapers are long-form in nature, an overview may also help arrange your ideas. Think about sketching out your subject within the following format: 

  1. Introduction and Synopsis – Introducing the subject of the whitepaper, explaining why it is essential (from the standpoint of the viewers), and what the whitepaper units to do, convey, or clear up. 
  2. Overview – Defining some a few of the key phrases you propose to make use of, detailing the variables or parameters concerned, and summarizing what you may focus on. 
  3. Physique – Laying out all the important thing factors and highlights you may hit. 
  4. Conclusion – Explaining the important thing take-aways from the physique and any motion gadgets the reader ought to take.

4. Put pen to paper and flesh out your define. 

Utilizing an informational and fact-based tone, start increasing on the concepts you could have through the use of the define as a information. As well as, every paragraph ought to contribute to the general purpose of the piece. 

5. Use imagery to help your factors. 

As a result of whitepapers go deep on analysis and evaluation, visuals equivalent to charts, graphs, and tables may also help you current data in a visually attention-grabbing means and make the paper simpler to learn. 

6. Get suggestions. 

It’s important to current one of the best write-up you may in your readers. The upper high quality it’s, the extra authority you may have in your viewers’s eyes. Get suggestions from somebody you belief to catch typos or different points with readability. 

7. Put money into the formatting and design. 

Whereas it isn’t essential to get too flashy with it, colour, format, and imagery goes a protracted approach to make your whitepaper interesting. 

Whitepaper Examples

To supply much more inspiration, listed here are trendy examples of whitepapers which might be emblematic of nice whitepaper execution (and why):

1. Not One other State of Advertising Report, HubSpot

HubSpot does a tremendous job yearly compiling information from consultants and companions to convey trendy tendencies within the advertising and marketing panorama. That is helpful for entrepreneurs as a result of they’ll use the statistics to create advertising and marketing and gross sales content material in addition to be taught from the macro shifts which might be taking place within the business. The whitepaper presents this data with enticing graphs and quick editorial summaries together with hyperlinks to extra in-depth articles on every subject.

hubspot whitepaper example: "not another state of marketing report" cover for 2020

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2. It is Not You, It is My Knowledge, Custora

Custora created this whitepaper about buyer churn, why it is essential, and how you can stop it. What makes this e-book nice is that it guarantees concrete worth to the reader (income financial savings from stopping attrition) backed by a wealth of information and actionable recommendation. Even higher, the whitepaper is trendy and enticing, so the studying expertise is nice. This helps the reader devour the long-form content material with out friction.

custora whitepaper example: "it's not you, it's my data" cover that reads "leveraging customer analytics to build a scalable customer churn prevention system"

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3. Google Cloud’s AI Adoption Framework, Google

This whitepaper leverages Google’s authority to steer the reader into adopting AI. By offering a strategy to start with, Google goals to offer the reader the instruments to assume by the ability of AI as it may be utilized to their enterprise. Then, the whitepaper dives into extra technical data for superior readers.

google whitepaper example: cover that reads "google cloud's AI adoption framework"

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4. Workers and Cybersecurity, Excedeo

Excedo goals to coach in regards to the safety dangers that staff could unknowingly pose to companies when improperly skilled. The whitepaper advocates in regards to the kinds of inside IT insurance policies and coaching which might be important in at present’s world.

excedo whitepaper example: first page that reads "employees and cyber security" and an introduction to the topic

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Whitepapers have a protracted historical past, and their makes use of have continued to vary. Remember to resolve whether or not or not a whitepaper will really serve your viewers earlier than spending the months-long course of to supply it. Generally, an e-book will just do superb. Then again, long-form academic content material has a spot in your content material technique.

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Editor’s observe: This put up was initially revealed in March 2018 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]