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The Importance and Use of White Papers

By Amy Xiong on Mon, Aug 22, 2011 @ 08:19 AM |


A white paper is a research report or guide that helps solve a problem. White papers are used to educate readers to bring to light a new or different perspective. They are considered to be the most influential form of business collateral and 76% of people have used white papers as part of their decision making efforts.  They can also support client acquisition by generating leads, building mindshare, and opening doors to new sales opportunities.  

While the categories for the papers appear diverse, there are a common topics including: product backgrounder, number list, and modern white paper.  In regard to white papers there are downsides of having too many of them. Without a clear purpose your audience can become confused or the value of your research can be reduced.  When you have fewer topics, the audience is more focused and aware of the content related to them, which makes it easier to determine what they are interested in allowing them to locate the correct white paper.

White papers focusing on an individual product, also known as the evaluator’s guide/product backgrounder, explain key features, functions and benefits of offerings. These are used to help explain an unfamiliar product. This category is best used when your firm is a known leader in your industry or if your company is launching a new product.

An example of this type of white paper can be found here: http://www.whitepapers.org/docs/show/2

A numbered list is typically a set of tips, questions, answers, or points about an issue. They are used when your company needs quick content to promote in a blog, e-newsletter or magazine. It is a great way to share perspective with your audience.

An example of this type of white paper can be downloaded here: http://www.whitepapers.org/docs/show/1131

The modern white paper is more of a persuasive essay that uses facts to provide answers to issues. This type of white paper is best used at the beginning of a buying process. This is an ideal time, because the client has optimistic feelings about your company or are being introduced to you for the first time. These papers educate the reader about a potential issue they are facing and offer solutions on how to solve it.

You can download an example of the modern white paper here: http://www.whitepapers.org/docs/show/1064

If you have a number of papers you are using you might feel like they are not working as well as you had hoped. This could be because you are not reaching the right people or your topics are not relevant to your market or audience. Most people who download your white paper will have already heard about you, while others may have the same problem, but do not know you have the solutions for them. In addition, if your white paper provides too much content it makes it difficult to read and get through. There are serious benefits to having short, concise and clear papers that present your research or topic quickly. Most people do not have time or want to take the time to read fluffy pieces that do not add real value to their business.  Another issue could be your white paper is too company-focused instead of issue-focused. Think about the benefits to the reader when putting together your research and be sure the content is focused on them, not your company.

At Mediaspace Solutions, we use white papers to highlight problems or issues advertisers and agencies face when placing their advertising.  Our goal is to add value to the relationships we have with our clients and educate them on how to maximize their resources and increase their business efficiencies.

You can download our most recent white paper “Proven Methods for Reaching Affluent and Educated Consumers.”  

To read more about white papers visit: http://www.whitepapersource.com/

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