What is a White Paper?

By Michael Thorburn

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A white paper is a document that is used by an organization to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product or service that it offers.

White papers are also used to present government policies and legislation and can be a way to gauge public reaction. Cryptocurrencies also use white papers as a way to entice investors to their projects.

How a white paper works

A white paper is a detailed document that presents the specific features of a particular product, service or solution that is offered by a company. Companies of all shapes and sizes and across all sectors use white papers as part of their sales and marketing strategies.

Given the value they give the consumer, many companies use white papers as gated content. This means that the person who wants to read the white paper must complete a form, which usually contains their email address, to access the white paper. Using white papers in this way gives the company the prospects email address for future marketing communication if consent is given.

The purpose of a white paper is to give individuals more information on the product, service or solution detailed in the white paper to help them make a more informed decision. White papers usually provide information around the challenges the prospect is facing and demonstrates how their offering can help solve these problems.

Types of white papers

White papers are usually categorized into three different types:

  • Backgrounders: These types of white papers provide a detailed explanation of the technical features of a particular offering.

  • Numbered lists: Which highlight tips or benefits regarding the offering.

  • Problem/solution white papers: These focus on the pain points or problems the prospect is facing and show how the particular offering provides a solution to these challenges.

What else do you need to know?

Providing detailed information to prospects

White papers are a great way to provide detailed information about a particular offering to prospects. They are used as part of the buyer journey to educate the prospect on the benefits and features of a product or service.

Good for lead generation

When it comes to lead generation, white papers are an effective way to get prospects to part with their email address, and therefore enter the company’s marketing funnel. They can help the prospect learn more about the particular offering and take the next step in the buyer journey.

Often perceived as dry or boring

When you say the words white paper, it usually conjures up the thought of a long boring document, but that doesn’t have to be the case. When written well and supported with different media types and graphics or graphs to break up the content, white papers can be engaging.

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Author: Michael Thorburn

This article does not provide any financial advice and is not a recommendation to deal in any securities or product. Investments may fall in value and an investor may lose some or all of their investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.