How Can a White Paper Support Sales and Marketing?


A white paper supports PR, marketing and sales because it works for all levels of decision makers. Engineers and executives may not be too impressed by brochures, but they are impressed by well-written white papers. (The same thing goes for trade journal articles more about that in a subsequent piece.)

Good white papers sell products because they pack a lot of useful information into a clear and readable structure. Warning -- dont take any old brochure or product brief, print it on 8-1/2x11" paper and call it a white paper. Decision-makers hate that, dont let this be you! Good marketing white papers contain both technical and marketing sections in a balanced format, and then throw in some other great stuff. A good white paper may start with an executive summary my general rule is a 5+ page paper needs one but it will follow the same structure as below, abbreviated to one page.

1) Throw down the challenge glove. Describe the pain the prospect is experiencing. (That you can help with, anyway!) Describe the problem from their standpoint, and be sure you know what that problem is.

  • Uncertain writer. If the writer doesnt know the background technology, they cant write about it. Find an experienced technology writer and give them the information they need. (If necessary, professionals will understand the need for signing an NDA. Just dont try to get them to dump their other clients.)

    4) Push a positive return on investment. ROI has always been a big deal, and with reason. If you have great hard cost numbers, terrific dont hesitate to use them. Longer white papers have room for graphs and charts, but even shorter ones can refer to positive ROI. Newer ROI analysis methods factor in soft costs employee time, improved infrastructure, etc. so dont hesitate to talk about those too.

    5) Add some case studies. Actual case studies with actual customers are ideal, but if you cant mention customer names (common in the financial world), its fine to speak more generally. A Fortune 100 finance company recently deployed

    Well-written white papers have lots of good uses. Heres a run-down:

    • Sell a product its ultimate purpose, of course

    • Differentiate product from competitors

    • Place company in leadership role

    • Promote bylined author as a subject matter expert. (Which they should be, even if a professional writer actually wrote the thing.)

    • Help journalists research their stories (note: journalists are not helped by sales brochures)

    Theres a lot that goes into creating a useful white paper. For your next project, consider hiring an experienced writer to create a marketing white paper that just keeps on selling. Talk about good ROI!

    About The Author

    Call Christine Taylor today at 760-249-6071 or e-mail her at

    chris@keywordcopy. com, and start that white paper selling!

    Christine Taylor
    Keyword Writing
    P. O. Box 3499
    Wrightwood, CA 92397


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