Tips for Writing Quality White Papers | Automation.com

Tips for Writing Quality White Papers

September 242009
White papers have become a popular online marketing tool of the times as they introduce a company's innovative products and demonstrate a company's strengths. Whether a paper is used for lead generation, education, customer retention or to close sales, the first step is making it attractive to your target audience.

As an online publisher, we review loads of papers each year. Here is what we consider when determining if a paper is “worthy” of publication.

    1. White Papers are not to be commercial in nature and cannot represent a sales pitch for a product, service, or company.

    2. Good papers include technical details, expert opinions, examples/graphics and references. NO blatant sales materials. NO advertisements. NO fluff.

    3. Limit paper length to around 1500 words (3-4 pages). Keep the reader in mind - shorter is typically better.

    4. Create a descriptive title and opening paragraph. You have three seconds to reel in your reader with the title. If they read on, you have another 30 seconds to keep them interested. Make the title interesting, but not so interesting that it is difficult to understand what the paper is about. Keeping your ideal reader in mind, quickly get to the point in your opening paragraph.

    5. Use a readable format. Simpler is better and headlines, sub-headlines, short subsections, meaningful charts, tables and graphics make for easy reading.

    6. The preferred white paper format is PDF, especially if it contains a number of charts, tables, and/or images. The PDF can then be uploaded to the web site for easy download by the audience. As an alternative, the white paper could be provided in Microsoft Word format so it can be easily re-published on a web site page.

Do you have any questions about white paper writing best practices? Let us know!


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