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Whitepapers have their roots in early 20th century politics and are now an important tool in B2B marketing. But making one persuasive and authoritative as well as enjoyable and informative is not the easiest of tasks. Read on for some advice on how to add more to your next whitepaper.
You can safely assume that your readers are looking to your whitepaper to gain insight that is backed up by expertise and research. It’s natural for the tone of your piece to be more serious than a blog post, for example, as you are imparting some serious wisdom. Focus on making sure you sound credible and authoritative and beware of including obvious sales pitches and hyperbole. Think like a teacher; you need to be respected first, liked second.
Words and pictures
Whitepapers draw on and synthesise a wide range of sources and documents, so they are often rather long. However, there is some consensus that papers longer than ten pages exceed the attention span of most readers. Very technical papers may need a lot of content to effectively make their point but in general, short and sweet is the way to go. Keep the writing as concise as possible and use a graph or image if it illustrates your point effectively.
Tell a story
Make sure the product features you describe and explain have a real relevance to the reader. Don’t just state (in a subtle way) why your product or service is great; explain what the impact will be for them and how it will affect their business in real terms. Make sure your reader doesn’t have to do any of the mental legwork by completing the entire thought process for them, from problem to solution.
Don’t hide your next whitepaper under a bushel; tweet it, share it on LinkedIn and blog about it.