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What is a whitepaper?


Sam Lauron
What is a whitepaper?

A whitepaper is a marketing content piece used by tech startups seeking to expand brand awareness and drive traffic and prospect interest in the startup’s offerings by addressing pain points facing the startup’s target audience. That means a white paper is above all instructional in nature, and tends to avoid an overt sales pitch.

In this article, we’re going to show you what a whitepaper is, when to use it, how it can help you in your B2B marketing, and lastly, we’ll give you tips for writing one. 

What is a whitepaper? 

As mentioned above, a whitepaper is a content piece, often in the form of a report or guide, used by startup looking to promote their brand by doing it in a strategic way that influences the buyer into buying their product. 

A good whitepaper should have no fewer than six pages and include in-depth and unique research and infographics, similar to what an eBook provides, but with more density that may require readers to look it over more than once. White papers differ from blogs in that they are longer in length, are typically only accessible via download, and address a much broader topic which addresses larger problems than an individual blog post would.

When to use a whitepaper

How can you get away with writing a sales pitch that technically isn’t one? Whitepapers provide persuasive and factual evidence that will impress a reader and, if written well enough, will generate leads, nurture prospects and help close sales. 

Whitepapers are meant to present a problem and provide a solution to a selected target market, and should be used when the topic being covered requires extensive research. As a B2B tech startup, your goal is to clearly and succinctly explain the problem faced by your target audience. Along the way, you can and should show how your startup’s offerings would solve this problem, or at the very least how you could do it better than anyone else– without actually coming out and saying it too directly. 

How whitepapers help your business 

Publishing a whitepaper as a B2B tech startup gives your company a chance to share your expertise with a broader community, especially when you promote it on your company’s social channels and through email marketing.  

If you’re a B2B tech startup, publishing a well-written whitepaper will help: 

  • Improve lead generation
  • Redefine a market space
  • Build credibility and trust
  • Keep up with competitors 
  • Educate potential customers

In short, authoring and offering a well-written whitepaper is a great way to establish your startup’s expertise, drive website traffic and close more leads. 

Tips for writing a whitepaper

Writing a whitepaper takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but if you do it the right way, you can stand out as an expert in your field. Here are some guidelines to follow along the way: 

  • Pick a topic of interest. What problems are  your target prospects interested in solving the most? Make sure the problem(s) align well with your own startup’s offerings, otherwise you’ll end up driving the wrong kind of traffic to your content. 
  • Be descriptive and professional. Use proper grammar and include all relevant information so that readers are fully able to understand your problem and the proposed solution. 
  • Set up a great intro. If you don’t pique your audience’s interest in the beginning, they won’t stay until the end. 
  • Emphasize the value you will create. Whitepapers are meant to show what you can do for your reader without telling them what you can do right away. Even if they’re not interested at first, they may be willing to tell someone about you, which could help organically spread word of your startup. 
  • Organize your draft. Create an outline first, then write your paper. Don’t worry about editing your whitepaper until you have completed the draft. 
  • Proofread. You don’t want to lose potential prospects  due to simple grammatical errors, do you? Ask for help from others on your marketing team so that they proofread and can catch any mistakes you may have overlooked. 
  • Follow up with how you can help. Use the end of your whitepaper to throw in a right hook, letting your readers know how you can help them address their challenges . The body of your whitepaper should be informational, piquing their interest as it relates to solving their real-world tech problems, then it should leave them with a call-to-action letting them know you are here to help!

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