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Why are white papers important for your business?

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

White papers are documents produced by organisations that support or disagree with specific topics related to the target audience. It can also be a guide to solving specific problems or achieving specific goals. Even if we hear a lot from marketers saying white papers are losing their importance, they are still an important part of content strategy. White papers perform many of the most important sales and marketing functions. These include:

  • Lead Generation White papers are a proven way to collect contact information from prospects and convert them into leads. More than 50 percent of those surveyed by said white papers are a "valuable" or "extremely valuable" source of leads.

  • Thought Leadership White papers strengthen the brand's reputation as a thought leader in the field, demonstrating expertise in a particular area by advocating for new or better ways to solve problems that your prospects face in the niche market or services that you or your company provides

  • It gives you a competitive edge in the market. As it’s safe to assume that your competitors would most definitely create content for social media, they are less likely to create whitepapers. According to statistics from a survey conducted by the Alterra Group, white papers and eBooks are just the fifth and sixth most popular content marketing tools used by B2B marketers, respectively. Most create social media content (83%) and blogs (80%), but only about two-thirds of B2B marketers create white papers and eBooks (65%). Publishing content in a variety of media is also an important part of creating a strong marketing strategy.

White papers are of a formal, research-backed, authoritative nature. Writing styles are more like academic content than marketing content. When creating a white paper, it is expected to choose a narrow topic and explore it in detail. White papers are not a place to give loose opinions. The claims made need to be validated based on solid facts and data.

Today's white paper market is part of a content marketing effort primarily combined with search engine optimization (SEO). Companies with B2B goals can significantly increase their service or product awareness while building brand awareness, thought leadership, lead volume, and overall value. Thoroughly researched and authoritative, the white paper provides a powerful incentive for users to convert into customers or leads on your website.

Writing a White Paper

  1. Understand Your Audience. Identify the exact audience you are writing to. Consider who they are, what they do, and how knowledgeable they are about the Knowing this information will help you select interesting topics, find your voice, and determine the level of complexity and jargon you need to unwind.

  2. Pick A Specific Topic Not every topic would warrant creating a white paper; it should be something that resonates with a target audience. is a focused solution to a specific problem or an analysis supported by research on a specific problem. It should be related to your business and be something you can talk about as an expert. White papers should have something valuable and meaningful to say. White papers created just for the sake of creating white papers perform the worst.

  3. Conduct thorough research. White papers should be well researched and authoritative. In addition, the content is based on the experience and knowledge of the authors. Therefore, anyone who writes or contributes to a white paper must be familiar with the subject or topic.

  4. Create an Engaging Intro: A good introductory paragraph grabs the audience's attention, arouses their curiosity, and encourages them to continue reading. Therefore, it is recommended to initially summarise the content of the white paper briefly. Summarize the content into a single topic, stating specific benefits that readers can gain from the white paper.

  5. The Content of the Draft White Paper Therefore, white papers are not a place to openly promote Therefore, there should be no explicit advertisements or offers to try your product or service. Instead, it should provide a lot of valuable information that is useful to the target audience. It doesn't matter whether they become leads or customers later. Having a reputation as a trusted source of information on a particular topic is far more beneficial to business. Potential customers buy from brands they love and trust.

  6. Make It Visually Appealing A white paper isn’t just about what is written or covered; the look and feel of the white paper are also important. From colours and fonts to logos and graphics, make sure that the design of the white paper matches your brand, and every component must match your identity. Wherever possible, a diagram, chart, table, screenshot, or whatever is relevant to the point would be a good idea to add in a particular section of the white paper. The more attractive the white paper, the better it will respond to promotions.

The Future of White Papers

The number of white papers is increasing exponentially. Though some say it's losing importance, white papers as a term have, of course, lost some value, but the white paper is being produced and written in many other forms and terms, i.e.,

  • Executive briefing

  • Guide

  • Handbook

  • Research report

  • ROI calculator

  • Special report

  • A technology backgrounder

In fact, according to Netline's 2022 content consumption report, even in IT departments, B2B readers are far more likely to download documents called "eBooks", "guides" or "special reports" than traditional white papers.

Many new formats are being explored for delivering information. For content typically included in white papers, these new formats are:

  • audio podcasts

  • explainer videos

  • Microsites

  • Recorded webinars

Other mediums include immersive 3D experiences (also known as metaverses) and virtual trade fairs. Certainly, other new means will be invented over time. These formats can provide a more engaging experience for a particular audience, but require a higher budget and more complex production.

White Papers and AI?

As long as business people still need to understand the problem, solve the problem, or make a decision, they need some kind of information package, like a white paper. And since white papers are also a complex project that requires a subtle combination of writing skills and persuasive writing skills, it's most likely to be done by humans rather than AI. So, the skills people acquire while writing white papers will be in demand for a very long time.

Need help with planning and authoring white papers for your business?

We have served clients by writing white papers in healthcare, information technology, cybersecurity, and law.

Contact us to see how you can grow your business with white papers.

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