Business Communications

Press Releases, Website Content, Social Media Content, and Marketing Materials.

A White Paper on White Papers; written on white paper.


By Sarah Plaut, Managing Owner and Lead Writer for The Write Approach, LLC.

6 June 2019


Within the last decade, White Papers have grown exponentially more popular because they allow companies and individuals to publish authoritative reports quickly and to a large audience on the Internet. Numerous social media platforms make mass distribution and company recognition much easier than ever before. However, many professionals are still asking, “what is a White Paper?”


Let’s start at the beginning. White Papers first gained regard during the early 20th Century in Great Britain. The term “white paper” was used to differentiate shorter government documents with white covers from more extensive reports with blue covers. White Papers became so popular within the engineering and technology industries during the 80’s and 90’s because they offered a platform for sharing complex information with a soft sales pitch for the company.


Who is publishing them today? Everyone. Sole proprietors, Fortune 500’s, and every expert attempting to share their brand are publishing White Papers. Given the diversity of professionals and industries, it’s no surprise that there is a vast amount of contradictory information about what exactly defines a White Paper. If you ask 20 professionals to explain these, you are likely to receive 25 different answers.


Since there are no industry standards for these documents, there are a wide variety of professional opinions regarding length and content. However, there are some accepted conventions, to which I subscribe, in writing White Papers for companies who wish to publish these as soft marketing tools. White Papers should contain a narrative, average 400 – 800 words (1 – 2 pages), be educational, use a soft sales pitch, and provide unbiased facts. Length is not a hard rule, but keeping the interest of your reader becomes harder if the content drags on.

The Pragmatic Marketing Institute defines White Papers in these terms:

Main Audience Tone Goals Examples

• Customers

• Prospects

• Analysts

• Partners

• Others

Tone 

• Objective

• Credible

• Informational

• Professional

Goals

• Business issue education

• Thought leadership

• Marketplace analysis

• Research aggregation

• Best practice enumeration

• Informational descriptions

Examples

• Business white papers

• Technical white papers

• Hybrid

• Best practices

What makes these different from other business communications? White Papers should identify a problem and provide a solution. The solution, in most cases, is the soft sales pitch offered by the company or individual. For this specific White Paper, I might change literary frame to tell you that The Write Approach, LLC has written White Papers for various industries including Loss Prevention, IT Management Software, and Department of Defense contractors. In every one of those White Papers, a specific problem was identified and the offered solution was a product or service from that company.

Why are individuals and companies hiring professional writers for White Papers? In most cases, companies outsource White Papers to professional writers because it quite simply saves them time and money. When business communications are outsourced, companies have time to focus their efforts on their respective areas of expertise.

How do you choose professional writers? First, and most importantly, you should always hire professional writers who can offer samples of their work. Never publish writing that contains grammatical errors, misspellings, or incorrect information. Maintaining a collaborative relationship with the writer is essential for the success of the content. Cost for writing services varies within different industries and disparate geographic locations. The writer should be able to give an accurate estimate or not-to-exceed cost of the project. Cost can be determined per word, per page, or per project. Know your budget and choose wisely.

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For more information, please contact:

Sarah Plaut

Managing Owner & Lead Writer

The Write Approach, LLC

[email protected]

sarahplautwriteapproach.com

Effective Business Communications


I develop unique writing products that capture the essence of your business. Using an approach that combines strategic writing, public relations, and marketing I can deliver results. Maintaining a favorable public image requires a collaborative relationship with the writer. Successful press releases, relevant website content, and promotional writing all work together to increase positive brand awareness. Contact me to discuss your business communication needs.