A whitepaper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution. Marketers create whitepapers to educate their audience about a particular issue or explain and promote a particular methodology. They’re advanced problem-solving guides. Typically, whitepapers require at least an email address for download (usually they require information more than that), making them great for capturing leads.
Here’s what an A+ whitepaper looks like:
- Length: No fewer than six pages, including illustrations, charts, and references. Can be upwards of fifty if the topic requires that much detail. (Chances are, it won’t.)
- Structure: There is usually a title page, table of contents, short executive summary (optional but helpful), introduction, several pages educating the reader about the problem, several pages hypothesizing a solution, several pages offering an example of a company that used that solution to achieve results, and a conclusion.
- Density: Denser than an ebook. Whitepapers aren’t usually easy to skim — in fact, readers usually need to read them over more than once to get every morsel of information out of it.
- Format: PDF in portrait orientation (8.5″ by 11″).
- Style: Professional, serious, well written, and well edited. I’d recommend hiring a graphic designer to design page layout, images, fonts, and colors as well.