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10 steps to writing a kick-ass tech white paper

Writing a good B2B white paper is an essential tool for businesses to showcase their expertise and knowledge in their respective fields. It is a highly effective marketing tool that helps brands establish themselves as thought leaders and generate leads.

In this guide, we will provide you with essential tips on how to write a good B2B and tech white paper.

Kicking off

First off think of the snappy headline you want to engage people with. For example:

  • “The Ultimate Guide to Boosting Your Social Media Engagement” – Hootsuite
  • “The Future of Work: How AI and Automation are Changing the Workplace” – Salesforce
  • “The Power of Personalization: How to Create a Customized Customer Experience” – Adobe
  • “The State of Cybersecurity: Trends, Threats, and Best Practices” – Cisco
  • “The Business Case for Sustainability: How Going Green Can Drive Growth” – McKinsey & Company

Once you can visualise the impact of this, it’s time to do the background work, which includes:

1. Identify Your Target Audience

Before you start writing a white paper, you need to identify your target audience. Who are you writing for? What are their pain points? What are their needs and wants? Understanding your target audience is crucial in crafting a white paper that resonates with them. You need to know what their challenges are and how your product or service can help them overcome those challenges.

2. Choose a Topic

Choosing a topic for your white paper is another crucial step in the process. Your topic should be relevant to your target audience and should address their pain points. It should also be aligned with your business objectives. Your white paper should provide valuable insights and solutions that your target audience can use.

Think about headlines as well. Try to think about packaging the content in a way the reader would want to see it. It’s a user experience after all. For example:

  • “10 Tips for Writing Snappy Headlines” – Schall Creative
  • “9 Awesome Examples of Copywriting Headlines (That You Can Steal!)” – OptinMonster
  • “Why Good Unique Content Needs To Die” – Moz
  • “How to Write a Killer Headline (in 5 Easy Steps)” – HubSpot
  • “The Ultimate Guide to Writing Catchy Headlines and Blog Titles” – CoSchedule

3. Research

Once you have identified your target audience and chosen a topic, it’s time to do some research. You need to gather information that supports your arguments and provides evidence for your claims. Use reliable sources such as industry reports, case studies, and academic journals. This will help you establish credibility and build trust with your target audience.

4. Outline Your White Paper

Before you start writing, it’s essential to create an outline for your white paper. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that your white paper flows logically.

A generic format that works well is:

  • Title page: This should include the title of the white paper, the author’s name and contact information, and the date of publication.
  • Executive summary: This is a brief overview of the white paper that highlights the key points and takeaways. It should be no more than one page long and should be written in a way that entices the reader to continue reading.
  • Introduction: This section should provide some background information on the topic and explain why it’s important. It should also introduce the problem that the white paper will address.
  • Problem statement: This section should clearly define the problem that the white paper will address. It should be written in a way that resonates with the target audience and highlights the pain points that they are experiencing.
  • Solution: This is the heart of the white paper. It should offer a clear and concise solution to the problem that was outlined in the previous section. It should be written in a way that is easy to understand and should provide evidence to support the solution.
  • Benefits: This section should explain the benefits of implementing the solution. It should focus on how the solution will help the target audience solve their problems and achieve their goals.
  • Conclusion: This section should summarize the main points of the white paper and reiterate the benefits of implementing the solution. It should also provide a call to action, encouraging readers to take the next step.
  • References: This section should include any sources that were used in the white paper. It’s important to cite sources accurately and to provide enough information so that readers can find them if they want to learn more.

5. Write the Introduction

Your introduction should grab the reader’s attention and provide an overview of what they can expect from the white paper. It should also establish your credibility and expertise in the subject matter.

  • This needs to be snappy. Be Clear and Direct: Use clear and concise language that accurately conveys the main point of your article or content piece. Avoid using obscure words or acronyms that can confuse everyday readers. Effective headlines and introductions are easy to read and digestible. The reader should see the headline or introduction and have a clear idea of the content’s purpose and message.
  • Use Active Language: Use active verbs and descriptive adjectives to create a sense of immediacy and excitement in your headlines and introductions. Active language can help grab the reader’s attention and create a sense of urgency to keep reading.
  • Keep It Simple: Avoid using jargon or technical terms that may not be familiar to your target audience. Instead, use language that is easily understood by your readers. Simple language helps to ensure that your message is clear and easily digestible.
  • Use Numbers: Using numbers in your headlines and introductions can help to grab the reader’s attention and create a sense of structure and organization in your content. For example, “5 Tips for Writing Snappy Headlines” is more attention-grabbing than “Tips for Writing Headlines.”
  • Be Creative: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different headline and introduction styles to find what works best for your content and target audience. Use humor, metaphors, or other creative elements to make your headlines and introductions stand out from the crowd.

6. Provide Background Information

In this section, you should provide some background information on the topic you are discussing. This will help your readers understand the context of the problem you are addressing.

7. Define the Problem

In this section, you should define the problem that your target audience is facing. You should provide evidence of the problem and explain how it is affecting your target audience. If there is one part of the white paper that must be authoritative, it’s this one. (Hint – Break it down to simple concepts so everyone can understand.)

8. Provide Solutions

In this section, you should provide solutions to the problem you have identified. You should explain how your product or service can help solve the problem and provide evidence to support your claims.

Ok – if you’ve done section 7 properly, you can really go off on one and talk about all the things you really want to. But be sure to link them to the problem.

9. Conclusion

Your conclusion should summarize the main points of your white paper and provide a call to action for your target audience. You should encourage them to take action based on the solutions you have provided.

Keep this simple and easy to understand.

10. Edit and Proofread

Don’t forget to keep your headlines and language as accessible as possible. If it’s not interesting, it won’t get read. Once you have written your white paper, it’s essential to edit and proofread it thoroughly. Go back and work the language to ensure it’s snappy and engaging.

If you would like help with writing your white paper,  book a meeting now.

Dan is an expert in global technology brand marketing and sales. He has advised IBM, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Samsung and Cisco on brand position, go-to-market strategy and sales performance. He has launched businesses in Fintech, Cleantech, SaaS and marketing platforms. Dan is an award-winning tech journalist who wrote for the Financial Times and Economist Group.

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