Create Your White Paper. Build Authority & Credibility. Attract New Clients. Done “in that order” and you may have just struck paydirt. Oh, if it were only that simple, we’d all be successful experts and taking turns basking in our glory. Becoming an expert is not for the faint of heart and neither is the act of writing a white paper to build your authority & credibility and attract new clients. It’s a laborious endeavor that demands undivided devotion and dedication to fully realize.
What exactly can writing a white paper do for me?
White papers are (by nature) persuasive, authoritative, comprehensive reports and/or guides that help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. Generally speaking, they are longer than a blog post, but shorter than an e-book. The most popular lengths are between 6-8 pages, indicating that most readers prefer shorter white papers. However, the length of a white paper depends largely on the purpose for writing one and the depth into which one needs to go to advocate their position.
Four major reasons include:
- Establishing authority on a particular topic
- Generating publicity & creating awareness
- Distributing business information that will help buyers make informed decisions
- or simply attracting new clients/prospects
What do readers gain from reading a white paper?
Knowing your target audience is essential in writing an effective white paper. The make up of your audience has to be clearly defined from the outset, otherwise, it will be very difficult to make the connection needed for a successful white paper. Consider the following when identifying your intended audience.
For example, what is the reader trying to gain from your white paper?
- New and useful information
- Intellectual stimulation
- Keeping abreast with the current trends
- Skills improvement
- DIY tips, advice and/or “how to’s”
And that’s just the start point. Performing a comprehensive audience analysis will only help you in accurately identifying your target audience:
- What is his/her job title, responsibilities and where do they fit in the pecking order?
- Does he/she work for a large or small company? Consider the persona of the organization that he/she works for.
- What is his/her training and/or background, age, gender, race, etc.?
- What are his/her most challenging concerns or problems?
- How does your information solve his/her problems?
- Will he/she be making the purchasing decision or will he/she be advising someone else?
Remember, the first key to success has to be understanding your audience.
industry leader Ginny Redish, author of Letting Go of the Words, said it best: “Understanding your audience will help you write the content they need in the words and the way they need it.” In other words, put the hay down where the goats can get it.
Taking the time to make sure your white paper is easy to read, focusing your message on the reader rather than solely on yourself, company or product should be your primary focus. No matter how tempting it may be to do otherwise, you’ll be glad you didn’t.
Fill out the form below to download our free white paper, Becoming an Expert: A Blueprint.
–LumaSpark – An expert positioning and Public Relations agency