What Is White Paper In Business

What Is White Paper In Business

Marketing and advertising are fundamental aspects of any business. Every business knows the importance of putting itself out there and ensuring the general public knows about its services. Luckily, the advertising options available to companies are numerous today. From classic brochures to email marketing, social media advertising, and whitepapers. Now, the question on your mind is, “what is white paper in business?”.

Why should you even be bothered about it?

Why should anyone use it as a marketing strategy?

Well, that is what you will learn in this article.

This article will discuss important things about whitepapers in a business, including its;

  • Definition,
  • Purpose,
  • Importance, 
  • Types, 
  • Steps to writing one, and so on.

If you want to learn all of these and how to use a whitepaper for your business’s benefit, continue reading this article.

Meaning of Whitepaper 

A whitepaper is a marketing and sales document businesses write to help their target audience understand what they intend to offer them; service, product or technology to persuade them to buy.

It gives in-depth and insightful details about the potential customer’s problem and its solution.

That means it discusses a prospect’s pain points and how the business’s products or services can solve them.

You should note that while whitepapers are marketing documents, they are not product presentation documents or pitches.

It is customer-centric.

It provides customers and clients with basic information to help them through the different buying journey stages.

Yes, you can use a product pitch to entice prospects to patronize your business, but product pitches differ from whitepapers.

The major difference between these two documents is the writing style.

While whitepapers are informational, product pitches are often more artificial and aggressive.

A whitepaper typically uses research, surveys, and other important data to back up the information it presents.

So, answering the potential client or customer’s questions also nudges prospects to consider the business’s solution.

This makes whitepaper a viable tool for generating leads as it places a business in an authority position and genuinely helps the business’s audience.

Finally, not everyone automatically gets access to a company’s whitepaper because most companies present it as gated content.

This means that it is only accessible to prospects that fill out a form and provide their contact details.

Once a prospect does this, they can download and read the whitepaper to get all the necessary information.

This also usually serves as a lead-capturing strategy for the business as they’ll be getting the prospects’ contact information.

Types of Whitepapers – What is White Paper in Business 

There are three main types of whitepapers.

You can’t just write a whitepaper without figuring out your desired type.

The type you need should typically be based on the buying stage of the customers you are targeting.

As you’ll see below, each type is better suited for a buying journey stage.

With that being said, below are the different types of whitepapers.

Numbered List

Numbered list whitepapers typically present points about a particular topic the audience is interested in.

They often focus on industry trends to help their prospects better understand the industry and what it offers them.

This type of whitepaper is usually great for prospects in the awareness stage.

This means it is best for prospects in the early phases of their customer journey.

Your prospects often want to learn general information about the industry to make better and more informed decisions.

And the numbered list whitepaper provides this information for them.


Problem/solution whitepapers offer recommendations for a better solution to a challenging technical or business problem.

This type of whitepaper is best suited for buyers in the consideration stage.

Problem/solution whitepapers help to educate those in the middle phase of their buying journey.

This is because this set of people already knows the problem they have.

And now, they are looking for ways to solve the problem or reach their goals.


Backgrounder whitepapers are more technical.

They share and explain the product or service’s technical features and the benefits prospects would get from using it.

Backgrounder whitepapers are targeted at those in the decision-making phase.

They help those at the end of their buying journey to make the best and most informed decision.

Prospects at this stage want to compare their solutions and settle for the best one, which is what the backgrounder whitepaper helps them do.

By presenting detailed information about your company’s service or product, you would help your prospects decide whether they want it.

Importance of Whitepapers – What is White Paper in Business 

A whitepaper has two main purposes.

One is to educate prospects about a particular topic while positioning a business as an authority when it comes to that particular subject.

Two, to attract prospects to buy the solution (service or product), the publisher of the whitepaper is advertising.

These are what make whitepapers very important to businesses.

This is because, through these documents, a business can help its audience while still advertising it.

It helps build the trust prospects have in a business.

And because a whitepaper is typically not pushy or overbearing, the prospect would not feel like they are being compelled to patronize the business.

They feel like the business is helping them get the information they need.

And this in itself will make them more inclined to patronize the business.

Whitepapers can also benefit a business in so many ways.

But we would look at just 5 of the many benefits this document offers a company.

Benefits of Whitepapers 

The following are some of the major advantages of whitepapers.

Establishes Your Company as an Authority 

A whitepaper is typically rooted in research and facts.

It provides concrete facts and evidence about a particular subject.

When a prospect reads a well-written whitepaper, they will find facts that will make them believe what the publisher is saying.

So, by writing a whitepaper, you are establishing your brand as an authority on that subject matter.

You are telling your audience that you know and understand their problems and the viable solutions to them.

Increases Engagement 

Brand awareness and engagement go hand-in-hand.

The more people interact with your business; the more people become aware of your brand.

And whitepapers can help you increase your engagement and brand awareness.

Usually, for a prospect to access your whitepaper, they have to download it.

So, whitepapers are usually presented as links.

This makes adding them to your emails, social media posts, and so on easier to increase engagement.

Generate Sales 

More people interacting with your business will increase your brand awareness, which will help you generate leads that will eventually lead to sales.

This makes whitepapers such good marketing and sales tools.

Other than this, your prospects will be more inclined to patronize your business when they read your whitepaper.

This is because the document will offer them the necessary information without shoving the service or product in the face of the prospect.

Prospects will appreciate the help and would rather patronize the business.

Helps you to Build your Mailing List – What is White Paper in Business 

It is not so easy to build a mailing list.

Most people would not just provide their contact details for nothing.

But when you attach a free and enticing offer in exchange for their contact information, more people would not mind providing it.

This is how whitepapers can help you build your mailing list.

A prospect wanting to get your information on your whitepaper would not mind filling out a form for their contact info.

They already see the whitepaper as a gift, so if all they have to do is provide their contact info and sign up for a newsletter, they may not mind.

However, you have to ensure that your whitepaper has relevant content for your brand and the information the audience needs.

This is the only way to ensure they stick around even after they access the whitepaper.

Builds Brand Trust – What is White Paper in Business 

A whitepaper is a marketing tool, yes, but it isn’t an aggressive one.

It is informational, educational, and customer-centric.

It is structured to help a potential client or customer make a wise and informed decision.

Therefore, it helps to build brand trust.

When a prospective client or customer reads a good whitepaper, it won’t make them feel compelled to patronize the business.

Instead, they would see a brand more interested in making sure they make the right choice.

They see a brand that wants to help them solve their problem.

This would make them trust the brand.

When to Use a Whitepaper – What is White Paper in Business 

Whitepapers are great for businesses that offer a knowledge-based or less tangible service or product.

If you run this type of business, consider using a whitepaper as one of your marketing tools.

This is because your service or product may not be able to entice customers or clients by itself. 

Still, a whitepaper would entice customers by displaying your expertise on the subject matter.

For instance, a coffee business may not need a whitepaper.

This is because the products it offers speak for themselves.

Anybody that walks by the coffee shop will perceive the aroma of the coffee and can decide whether or not they want it.

So, if you have a business offering products that can’t speak for themselves, you need a whitepaper.

That would do all the talking for your business and the products/services it offers.

However, you should know that not everyone will read your whitepaper.

It is gated content; only those downloading it can access it.

But while many people may not read your whitepaper, you can rest assured that those who do will most likely patronize your business.

How to Properly Write Whitepapers – What is White Paper in Business 

A poorly written whitepaper will most likely not bring the desired results.

If you want to get all the benefits of a whitepaper, write it properly.

Unfortunately, writing a great whitepaper is not a walk in the park.

Even if you have experience writing other things like blog posts, you may still have issues writing a whitepaper.

Writing a whitepaper is more intense and would take longer than writing a blog.

You most likely won’t ace it at once.

But with the right tips and steps, you should be able to write the perfect whitepaper.

Choose your Topic and Type of Whitepaper

The whitepaper topic will influence the results you will get from it.

If you choose a topic your audience are interested in, you can generate more leads and sales.

Otherwise, you won’t get the desired results.

You would just waste your time writing a lengthy document no one wants to read.

So, you need to take your time to choose the topic for your whitepaper.

Identify the topic your target audience will want to read by studying their needs, goals, and challenges.

You can do this by creating or reusing a customer profile.

Once you determine the right topic, you also need to select the type of whitepaper you should write.

This means you have to identify the stage of your target audience’s customer journey.


Now that you know the topic you want to write on, you won’t just start writing fluffs and your opinion.

Whitepapers are usually factual and educational.

So, you want to do proper research to ensure that whatever you write in the whitepaper is backed up by evidence and facts.

Furthermore, read what others have written about the topic, talk to experts on the subject matter, conduct a survey, get data from authorities in your industry, and so on.

All these will help you make a strong argument and ensure you have concrete proof for whatever you are saying on your whitepaper.

Your whitepaper should not have the tone of a blog post.

But it should have enough citations and authoritative sources.

Make an Outline 

Creating an outline can be quite a tedious process.

An outline may be optional if you are writing a blog post, but you have to for a whitepaper.

Your outline will serve as your roadmap and ensure you stay on course.

When writing long content like a whitepaper, you may get distracted and ramble on and on.

Your outline is what will prevent this from happening.

It will also ensure that you know the next step without getting stuck in the middle.

Typically, a whitepaper should contain an introduction, an executive summary, the body where you discuss the topic backed up by your research, and a conclusion.

You should also include a section about your business in your whitepaper.

This will let the reader know who’s behind the valuable piece of information they’re reading.

The type of whitepaper often determines the company’s description section prominence.

Your outline should also include details about your whitepaper graphics.

It should include where you want your graphics and what they represent.

This way, you will figure out the design part of your whitepaper early.

So, you most likely won’t experience a serious challenge when designing the document.

Get Feedback – What is White Paper in Business 

The next step would be to get feedback on your whitepaper outline before you proceed.

This is especially important if there are other stakeholders in the business.

If you have one, you also need to run the outline by your customer support and sales team.

They can provide insights about your prospects’ pain points since they interact with them more.

Getting feedback will not just help you ensure that everyone is okay with the document, but it will also help you see the topic from different perspectives.

And this would help make your whitepaper even better.

Write the Whitepaper – What is White Paper in Business 

Now that you have researched the topic, written the outline, and gotten feedback, it’s time to start writing your whitepaper.

You should start with the document’s body.

Do not have extremely long sections in your document.

This can make reading the whitepaper tedious.

So, ensure you have subheadings.

This will make the whitepaper less tedious and help readers who like to skim.

Ensure you cite sources; this is very important as it proves your document is factual.

Once the body is complete, you can write the other parts of the whitepaper.

Ensure you write the introduction and executive summary well, as they are very important.

It is the first thing that prospects read before deciding if they want to read the whole document.

Edit Your Whitepaper – What is White Paper in Business 

Once you have finished writing the document, do not try to proofread it immediately.

Instead, leave it at least a day or two before you do.

By the time you reread it, you will be doing so with a new perspective.

You can spot mistakes and other things that need adjustments better.

Equally important, you should also give the document to an editor or someone to trust to proofread it for the last time.

Format and Design 

Now that you have your final draft, you have to design the document.

Add illustrations, charts, and drafts to help your readers understand your points better.

Also, ensure your design does not affect the readability of the document. 

Create a Landing Page 

Finally, you need a landing page where prospects can give their contact info to get access to the whitepaper.

But you may not need a landing page if your website already has a resource library.

You can put the document in the library.

Conclusion on What is White Paper in Business 

A whitepaper is a marketing and sales document businesses write to inform and educate their potential clients or customers on a topic or offer.

This article has discussed some essential things you need to know about this important document.

It also discusses the steps that you need to take to write one.

So use the above information to write one for your business today!