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What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]

Lindsay Kolowich Cox

Published: February 01, 2023

The definition of a whitepaper varies heavily from industry to industry, which can be a little confusing for marketers looking to create one for their business.

content team working on the design of a whitepaper

The old-school definition comes from politics, where it means a legislative document explaining and supporting a particular political solution.

In tech, a whitepaper usually describes a theory behind a new piece of technology. Even a business whitepaper can serve a variety of uses and audiences -- some more product-focused than others. And although it is put together like an ebook, the two are written quite differently.

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We're here to arm you with the best definition of a whitepaper in the context of business and what to do (and not do) as you create one. This article covers: 

What Is a Whitepaper?

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.

What Isn't a Whitepaper?

A product pitch.

Although Investopedia defines a whitepaper as "an informational document issued by a company to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product, or service," be warned that overtly shilling your own stuff could turn off your readers.

The goal of a whitepaper is to inform and persuade based on facts and evidence, not tell the world why people need to buy your product right now.

How Are Whitepapers Different From Blog Posts and Ebooks?

Speaking of what a whitepaper isn't ... if you're looking for a quick and interactive way to present your value to the industry, a whitepaper is not your only option. There are also ebooks and blog posts -- both of which have various differences from a whitepaper.

What really set these products apart are the size, appearance, and time commitment of each one. Whereas writing blog posts and ebooks can take anywhere between a few hours and a few weeks, a good whitepaper can take between a few weeks and a few months to write and polish. They're less flashy, much more serious in tone, and more heavily researched than blog posts and ebooks.

Let me show you a comparison. The set below is one of our own ebook templates ( which you can get for free here ). It's a thorough but simple read:

Cover of a free ebook template offered by HubSpot

Now, here is a whitepaper based on our latest research on emerging tech for small to mid-sized businesses (a great report -- see the web version here ). You can see how much detail whitepapers can go into, both in text and in its images:

hubspot research whitepaper cover that reads: "a practical approach to emerging tech for smbs"

Ebooks and whitepapers can start on the same template. But ultimately, whitepapers are the academic papers of marketing content. Readers expect a high degree of expertise backed by solid research that is fully documented by references.

Ebooks, on the other hand, are often extensions of a subject you cover regularly on a blog. They can come out of diligent research, but they appeal to a wider audience when unpacking a business subject.

You can imagine this makes them kind of boring in comparison -- truthfully, most people don't actually want to read whitepapers, but they do it anyway to build their knowledge of an operation they need more insight on before making their next move.

For this reason, they tend to be particularly detailed and informative, authoritative, and written by industry experts. And these qualities can make some decision makers feel better about a future purchase.

What Makes a Good Whitepaper?

Technically, there are no minimum requirements for whitepapers. Anyone can call anything a whitepaper -- this doesn't mean you should, though. Without some boundaries on what is and what isn't a whitepaper, we risk confusing our audience and losing credibility. Here's what an A+ whitepaper looks like:

Whitepaper Examples for Lead Generation

So, if whitepapers are so boring, why do marketers create them? Well, they're a great resource for your prospects and sales team, and they help you build credibility and trust with your readers. Also, people who choose to download whitepapers often are further into the customer buying cycle .

With that in mind, here are two use cases for a whitepaper:

A Technical Case Study

It's been said that case studies, like ebooks, are very different from whitepapers. However, some case studies are long enough that they're best packaged as whitepapers themselves.

A case study is essentially the story of a customer's success reaching a goal as a result of their partnership with another party. This success is best conveyed through certain metrics the customer has agreed to be measured on. And depending on how technical or complex the service is that they received, the more research and detail other potential customers will want to see as they continue their buyer's journey.

Therefore, case study-based whitepapers can be a terrific way of demonstrating thought leadership on a dense concept through a real-world example of how this concept helped someone else succeed.

A Reference Guide

Imagine you work for a company that sells kitchen cleaning equipment to restaurants and you write a whitepaper about the maintenance and inspection of commercial kitchens.

That whitepaper is probably chock full of information about legal requirements for exhaust systems, cooking equipment, and cleanliness documentation that could put even the biggest kitchen maintenance enthusiast to sleep if read cover-to-cover.

But it also serves as an incredibly useful reference for restaurant owners who want to know how to maintain their kitchens to pass inspection. Once they know how clean they need to keep their kitchens, they'll likely buy some expensive cleaning equipment from you because they see you as a helpful, detail-oriented, credible source.

Many people create whitepapers for this purpose -- a resource that their leads can take with them to become better at their trade. Ideally, the better they become, the more qualified they are to work with the organization that gave them the whitepaper.

Now that you know the purpose of whitepapers and how they differ from ebooks, it's time to get started in creating your own. With the above best practices in mind, here's the approach you can take to produce an excellent whitepaper for your audience: 

How to Write a Whitepaper

1. Identify your audience's pain. 

While you're a subject matter expert in a unique position to provide content, you must consider your audience and what is going on in their lives. By creating a whitepaper that addresses (and solves) for their needs, you'll better be able to generate demand for your whitepaper. 

To do this, consider creating a buyer persona . This activity will help you put yourself in their shoes. Then, you'll want to consider what kind of information would attract them, how they'd use the information, and how it would solve their pain or problem. 

2. Do your research. 

Whitepapers are informational in nature, and you'll want to determine how to provide information your audience can't get elsewhere. You can do that by:

If you're unable to do your own research, try drawing statistics from government and/or survey organizations and analyzing them in a unique way (and make sure you cite your sources).  

3. Create an outline. 

Because whitepapers are long-form in nature, an outline can help organize your thoughts. Consider sketching out your topic in the following format: 

4. Put pen to paper and flesh out your outline. 

Using an informational and fact-based tone, begin expanding on the ideas you have by using the outline as a guide. In addition, each paragraph should contribute to the overall goal of the piece. 

5. Use imagery to support your points. 

Because whitepapers go deep on research and analysis, visuals such as charts, graphs, and tables can help you present information in a visually interesting way and make the paper easier to read. 

6. Get feedback. 

It's critical to present the best write-up you can for your readers. The higher quality it is, the more authority you'll have in your audience's eyes. Get feedback from someone you trust to catch typos or other issues with readability. 

7. Invest in the formatting and design. 

While it's not necessary to get too flashy with it, color, layout, and imagery goes a long way to make your whitepaper appealing. 

Whitepaper Examples

To provide even more inspiration, here are modern examples of whitepapers that are emblematic of great whitepaper execution (and why):

1. Not Another State of Marketing Report , HubSpot

HubSpot does an amazing job every year compiling data from experts and partners to convey modern trends in the marketing landscape. This is useful for marketers because they can use the statistics to create marketing and sales content as well as learn from the macro shifts that are happening in the industry. The whitepaper presents this information with attractive graphs and short editorial summaries along with links to more in-depth articles on each topic.

hubspot whitepaper example: "not another state of marketing report" cover for 2020

Image Source

2. It's Not You, It's My Data , Custora

Custora created this whitepaper about customer churn, why it's important, and how to prevent it. What makes this ebook great is that it promises concrete value to the reader (revenue savings from preventing attrition) backed by a wealth of data and actionable advice. Even better, the whitepaper is modern and attractive, so the reading experience is pleasant. This helps the reader consume the long-form content without friction.

custora whitepaper example: "it's not you, it's my data" cover that reads "leveraging customer analytics to build a scalable customer churn prevention system"

3. Google Cloud's AI Adoption Framework , Google

This whitepaper leverages Google's authority to persuade the reader into adopting AI. By providing a methodology in the beginning, Google aims to give the reader the tools to think through the power of AI as it can be applied to their business. Then, the whitepaper dives into more technical information for advanced readers.

google whitepaper example: cover that reads "google cloud's AI adoption framework"

4. Employees and Cybersecurity , Excedeo

Excedo aims to educate about the security risks that employees may unknowingly pose to businesses when improperly trained. The whitepaper advocates about the types of internal IT policies and training that are essential in today's world.

excedo whitepaper example: first page that reads "employees and cyber security" and an introduction to the topic

Whitepapers have a long history, and their uses have continued to change. Be sure to decide whether or not a whitepaper will actually serve your audience before spending the months-long process to produce it. Sometimes, an ebook will do just fine. On the other hand, long-form educational content has a place in your content strategy.

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Editor's note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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What Is a White Paper?

Purpose of a white paper, how to write a white paper.

The Bottom Line

What Is a White Paper? Types, Purpose, and How To Write One

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

white paper marketing term

Investopedia / Michela Buttignol

A white paper is an informational document issued by a company or not-for-profit organization to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product, or service that it offers or plans to offer.

White papers are also used as a method of presenting government policies and legislation and gauging public opinion.

Key Takeaways

White papers are sales and marketing documents used to entice or persuade potential customers to learn more about a particular product, service, technology, or methodology.

White papers are commonly designed for business-to-business (B2B) marketing purposes between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer. It can provide an in-depth report or guide about a specific product or topic and is meant to educate its readers.

The facts presented in white papers are often backed by research and statistics from reliable sources and can include charts, graphs, tables, and other ways of visualizing data. A white paper can communicate an organization’s philosophy or present research findings related to an industry.

Types of White Papers

A startup , large corporation, or government agency will use white papers differently. There are three main types of white papers, including backgrounders, numbered lists, and problem/solution white papers.

Backgrounders detail the technical features of a new product or service. Designed to simplify complicated technical information, they are used to:

•Support a technical evaluation

•Launch a product

•Promote a product or industry leader

Numbered lists highlight the key takeaways of a new product or service, and are often formatted with headings and bullet points such as the following familiar format:

•3 Questions to Ask

•5 Things You Need to Know

Problem/solution papers identify specific problems faced by potential customers and suggest a data-driven argument about how a featured product or service provides a solution to:

•Generate new sales

•Educate salespeople on product characteristics

•Build industry interest.

White papers differ from other marketing materials, such as brochures. Brochures and traditional marketing materials might be flashy and obvious, but a white paper is intended to provide persuasive and factual evidence that solves a problem or challenge.

White papers are commonly at least 2,500 words in length and written in an academic style.

A white paper should provide well-researched information that is not found with a simple internet search and have a compelling narrative to keep the reader's attention. The author of a white paper should:

• Research and fully define the topic.

• Create an accurate outline of information.

• Write an attention-grabbing introduction.

• Format the paper for easy reading.

• Revise and proofread.

What Is an Example of a White Paper?

All of these documents, publicly available on Microsoft’s website, focus on aspects of the company's suite of cloud services. In contrast with brochures, these white papers don’t have a clear sales pitch. Instead, they dive into relevant topics, such as cloud security, hybrid clouds, and the economic benefits of adopting cloud computing.

How Have New Industries Used White Papers?

Cryptocurrencies have also been known to publish white papers during initial coin offerings (ICOs) and frequently issued white papers to entice users and "investors" to their projects.

Bitcoin famously launched a few months after the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto issued its famous white paper online in October 2008.

Why Is It Called a White Paper?

White Papers may have developed from the use of “Blue Papers” in 19th century Britain, where a Parliamentary report cover was blue. When a topic for the government was less serious, the blue cover was discarded and published with white covers. These reports were called White Papers. In the United States, the use of government white papers often means a background report or guidance on a specific issue.

A white paper is an informational document issued by a company, government agency, or not-for-profit organization to promote the features of a solution, product, or service that it offers or plans to offer. The facts presented in white papers are often backed by research and statistics from reliable sources and commonly written in one of three formats that include backgrounders, numbered lists, and problem/solution papers.

Copy Engineer. " The 3 Types of White Papers and When to Use Each One ."

Master Class. " How To Write a White Paper ."

Microsoft. " White Papers on the Cloud and Azure ."

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How to write a white paper that inspires a year-long content strategy

Written by by Katherine Kim

Published on  November 11, 2020

Reading time  8 minutes

When it comes to establishing one’s brand as an authority, few resources get the job done like a data-driven white paper.

Longer than your typical blog post and more in-depth than an ebook, a white paper is a well-researched piece of content designed to educate readers on a specific topic. It allows you to position your brand as an expert in your field and demonstrate you have a solution to your audience’s problems. And because marketers often gate white papers behind an email form, these reports can help support goals like lead generation and sales.

But with a little foresight, a white paper can do more than capture leads. It can also fuel an entire year’s worth of content and support teams across sales, customer success and even design. From developing social media content to webinars to workshops, there are a number of ways you can extend the life of your white paper.

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to write a white paper as well as how to turn those data and insights into new content for the entire year.

What makes a white paper valuable?

Traditionally, a white paper is defined as an informational document to promote a product or service and is used by marketing and sales to persuade buyers to purchase from one brand over another. In marketing, a white paper can be used to provide in-depth research on a particular subject (like the state of social marketing) and gives brands an opportunity to build credibility with their audience.

Consider this data-driven white paper example: the Sprout Social Index™ . The Index™ is our annual 30+ page white paper filled with unique data based on consumer and marketer surveys. We look specifically at the state of social marketing, and offer insights on topics like consumer behaviors, marketers’ social goals and what differentiates one brand’s social presence from a competitor.

This is our ninth year of #trend forecasting with the Sprout Social Index: Social Media Trends for 2022 and Beyond We surveyed over 1,000 U.S. consumers and 500 U.S. social marketers to understand how social has transformed. 🧵 pic.twitter.com/6XgNkv64ps — Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) May 17, 2022

It takes roughly three months and collaboration across marketing, design and sales for the Index™ to come to life. On the other hand, this blog post you’re reading took me about one week to complete. To illustrate how to plan and develop a white paper with legs beyond its initial launch, we’ll share how we create the Index™ and the various assets that come from our annual report.

Phase 1. Planning for success

Before diving into topic ideation, establish the goals and objectives you want to achieve with your white paper. Goals can include everything from raising brand awareness in your target audience to fueling new business acquisition by generating leads. And determine which key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to track your progress toward your goals, like net new users and content downloads. From there, develop a project plan with clear expectations around responsibilities and due dates, like when to expect a first draft or design assets for social promotion.

Once your goals and project plan are in place, then you can focus on narrowing your white paper to one specific topic. When in doubt, start by identifying your audience and brainstorming the different problems you can help them solve.

For the Sprout Social Index™, we look at a couple of factors to inform our direction:

If you plan to use your white paper to inspire a year’s worth of content, take a moment to evaluate if the topic will be relevant a year from now. Timely data, while it can be extremely valuable as part of your content strategy, gives you less runway to develop content six, seven or eight months post launch. Additionally, you’ll need to have enough data to work with in the future. Keeping the topic broad enough will enable you to drill down into specific angles for future content.

Phase 2. Writing a white paper from start to finish

With a plan in place, it’s time to conduct your research, develop your white paper structure and deploy any surveys for data collection.

With the Index™, we use a platform like SurveyMonkey to conduct two different surveys: one for 1,000 consumers and one for 1,000 social marketers. We ask consumers questions like which social platforms they use the most and what actions can turn them off to a brand’s social presence. In the marketer survey, we ask them how they use social data, what their greatest challenges are and what factors influence their approach to social.

If you’re unsure how to analyze the data , try creating a separate Google Doc or spreadsheet to house your key findings, organized by question number. When reviewing the Index™ data, we look at things like:

What makes a brand best in class on social: what marketers think vs what consumers think

Remember: you won’t use every single data point in your actual report. Instead of tossing unused data to the side, consider using that information as inspiration for a future piece of content.

With your data in hand, it’s time to put pen to paper. Writing a white paper can take several days, or even weeks, and it’s helpful to start with a comprehensive outline to plan out the report flow. In the outline for the Index™, we include examples of the quantitative data to highlight and brand examples discovered during the research stage. Allocate about one week for outlining and drafting, which should include chart mockups of the data you plan to use.

For reviews, ask for feedback from your key stakeholders, including those who don’t work in content directly. Index™ feedback from our social team ensures we’re giving our target audience what they need while our PR team can recommend future storylines inspired by the report.

Phase 3. Bringing the data to life with creative

Another facet that distinguishes a white paper from a blog post is that white papers are often packaged as a designed PDF.

In addition to creating the PDF version of the Index™, our design team creates graphic assets and charts for use in content, on social and beyond. One of the reasons we ask our social team to review the final draft of the Index™ is to get feedback on which stats and insights will make for compelling graphics on social.

For example, one of the charts included in the Index™ talks about actions consumers take when they follow a brand on social..

Actions consumers take when they follow brands on social

Using the feedback from social, we identified one standout data point from this graph, and the design team turned it into a separate social graphic.

Fact: Fewer people are using hashtags for social discovery. Find out where consumers are turning their attention instead in this year's Sprout Social Index. https://t.co/YuWeXmiWBk pic.twitter.com/rcdzFDJNpx — Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) May 18, 2020

Developing a unique design system and color palette for each white paper creates a consistent visual identity so every asset looks like it belongs to the Index™ campaign. This also gives designers the flexibility to create new assets like GIFs throughout the entire year because they have a wide range of colors and motifs to pull from.

With your report ready to launch, remember you still need to track your progress toward your goals. Tracking not only shows you if you’ve achieved your goals but also if you need to adjust your distribution strategy to make up for lost ground.

Phase 4. Giving your white paper longevity

So you’ve officially published the final white paper PDF and all of your design assets—congratulations! But just because you hit that publish button doesn’t mean the work behind the scenes suddenly stops.

To kick off the Index™, we publish different teaser posts for two different audiences: one for the social media manager and one for an executive . Both articles preview some of the salient data points and highlight how the report will address marketers’ challenges, ultimately encouraging readers to download the Index™.

50% of consumers say they’re most likely to use social media during a major personal milestone. Create messages that consider your audience’s future plans and show how your brand can help them get there. https://t.co/ov3g4vd8fg — Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) May 5, 2020

To keep that momentum going, our social and creative teams collaborated to create the #DataDance, a series of short dance moves inspired by findings from the Index™. We encouraged our followers to both learn and share their own #DataDance with us on social.

How to #DataDance : a thread👇 pic.twitter.com/CfwlOJKDXR — Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) May 4, 2020

We also created new content like webinars and articles with industry-specific benchmarks months after the publish date. We also repackaged the Index™ as part of a larger toolkit for marketers as they begin planning for 2021. Finally, we included data from the report in our Data in Action workshop for social marketers, five months after the Index™ launched.

Takeaway #1: Tell people about your product! #SproutDataInAction pic.twitter.com/BUWe7XhBf5 — Sprout Social (@SproutSocial) October 15, 2020

When you can repurpose the data and insights from your white paper, you stand to reach new audiences, reinforce your original argument and demonstrate your expertise in a particular topic.

Breathe new life into your white paper

White papers are not only a great resource for brands to establish their expertise and build authority with their audience, they also can inspire entirely new pieces of content post launch. By repurposing your report and turning it into new content, you can extend the longevity of your data and ensure your white paper continues to drive traffic for the entire year.

Looking for more inspiration for your content strategy? Check out what marketers and consumers say makes a brand’s social best in class and other content insights in the Sprout Social Index™ today.

Resources for you

The creator economy: making dollars and sense out of social partnerships, [workbook] social listening step-by-step in 90 minutes, the sprout social index, edition xviii: us forecast, prepare to launch with a social media campaign brief: template, recommended for you.

What is content marketing? An ultimate guide (plus examples)

Decoding corporate communications: functions, goals and skills.

How the best omnichannel strategies combine sales, service and marketing

The 42 best marketing resources we recommend in 2023.

Build and grow stronger relationships on social

Sprout Social helps you understand and reach your audience, engage your community and measure performance with the only all-in-one social media management platform built for connection.

2023 Ultimate Guide: How to Write and Format a White Paper

The step by step guide to succeeding with white paper marketing.

Frame 16 (1)


White papers are a popular and powerful tool for content marketers. They can be used to position your company as a thought leader, to present useful and persuasive research and information about your products and services, and to generate leads . This ultimate guide will teach you everything you need to make white paper marketing a formidable addition to your content marketing strategy .

How to Write and Format a White Paper Infographic

1. What is a white paper?

A white paper is an in-depth report or guide about a specific topic and the problems that surround it. It is meant to educate readers and help them to understand and solve an issue.

In the world of marketing, a white paper is a long-form piece of content, similar to an eBook . The difference between the two is that white papers tend to be more technical and in depth. The facts and opinions expressed in white papers are often backed by original research or statistics that the publisher has aggregated from reliable sources. They often include charts, graphs, tables, and other ways of visualizing data. 

The term "white papers" originated in England as government-issued documents. One famous example is the Churchill White Paper , commissioned by Winston Churchill in 1922.

Today, the term is most commonly applied to “deep dive” style publications. Businesses — especially in the consulting, financial, or B2B sectors — use them to communicate their organization’s philosophy on a topic, make the case for the superiority of their product, or simply to present research findings related to their field.

White papers are no less editorial than other forms of content, but the depth of research lends them an authoritative tone. For this reason, they are good candidates for promoting thought leadership .

Who uses white papers?

In the past, white papers were most often produced by governmental agencies, NGOs, think tanks, consultancies, and financial institutions that needed to present the findings of their ongoing research in a succinct format.

With the widespread growth and adoption of content marketing (the creation and distribution of non-promotional content intended to generate interest in a business and its offerings), white papers have become more common in other industries as well. Any organization that engages in content marketing can benefit from producing white papers.

Their popularity across industries is due to their versatility. While all white papers have certain elements in common, a B2B startup will use them differently than a large consultancy, and both will use them differently from a governmental organization.

Types of white papers

There are numerous types of white papers a business might publish.

Other types of white papers simply present a summary of useful statistics and information about the state of a particular field or industry. An example of this would be the Content Marketing Benchmarks Budgets and Trends from the Content Marketing Institute.

Whatever type you produce , the contents of your white paper should serve to showcase your expertise in a given area. Your audience is searching for information, and will look for an authoritative source — a business they perceive as having in-depth knowledge of a subject.

The contents of your white paper should serve to showcase your expertise in a given area.

The purpose of a white paper

White papers enable you to build trust with your audience. They show readers that you're reliable, experienced, and adept in a given domain. When potential customers search for information to help them understand a problem or opportunity they're facing, and you provide them with a quality white paper that helps, they'll turn to you again in the future.

This perception of authority can also serve to boost sales in an organization. More than half the respondents to the Eccolo Media B2B Technology Content Survey reported having read a white paper before making a buying decision. Buyers prefer to purchase from vendors they trust and see as experts in their field.

Finally, white papers are extremely useful for lead generation . The Content Preferences Survey from DemandGen found that more than three-fourths of survey respondents were willing to exchange personal information for a white paper — more than for eBooks , case studies, analyst reports , podcasts, brochures , or infographics.

With all of these potential benefits, utilizing white papers in your content marketing strategy can produce great results.

More than three-fourths of survey respondents were willing to exchange personal information for a white paper.

2. White paper examples

When you think about white papers, you probably think of PDF articles with thousands of words. But times are changing and so is the way we produce and consume content.

Nowadays, every marketing collateral (including white papers) needs to be well written, well structured, and designed for every type of visitor. 

Here are some great examples of white papers doing exactly that. 

White paper example - CodinGame

This unique one-pager presenting findings from the Developers at Work Survey demonstrates how a white paper should be done. The animated, interactive data charts show off just what's possible with our embed feature.

Open white paper  

White paper example - BDO GDPR

Privacy and the GDPR - BDO

This well-produced special edition produced by BDO and creative agency Monte Media does an incredible job of turning a conventionally dull topic into a piece of content that's engaging and comes to life.

Open white paper

White paper example - content-marketing-strategy

This white paper is a step by step guide to succeeding with content marketing.

See more  white paper examples

Start creating white papers with Foleon

3. How to write a white paper

Starting a white paper can be a daunting task. So much information and research are required that it’s easy to get lost in that portion of the work and let it become a roadblock to actually putting things on paper.

Even after the writing itself has begun, white papers are tricky to do well. Simply listing statistics without some form of narrative arc is a surefire way to keep your white paper from ever being read. Luckily, following a few simple guidelines can help keep a white paper engaging and make the process of finishing it much easier.

Pick the right topic

This might seem obvious, but without a topic that resonates with your audience, your white paper is not likely to be read. When choosing the right topic, you should consider three important criteria:

Naturally, finding a topic that brings points 1 and 2 together is vital. White papers are meant to be authoritative pieces of content based upon the author's experience and expertise, so it's important to write about what you know . But you must match this to the interests of your readers if you're to produce something they'll be eager to engage with .

Don't be afraid to crowdsource information from within your organization. If the topic of a white paper is related to engineering, why not interview an engineer or have them look over what you’ve written? The same goes for other roles. Crowdsourcing knowledge means having the power of a true expert in many fields.

Finally, filling a "content gap" will help your white paper get noticed and gain traction. By addressing a topic no one else has written about definitely, your white paper will be more likely to rank highly on search engines and even be featured elsewhere on the web.

Pro tip: You can even ask your audience what they would like to see in your upcoming white paper. You'll get ideas, make your topic more relevant, and you'll generate buzz around your content even before it's finished. In fact, we used the same method for this guide!

white paper promotion slack

Define your audience

Defining your audience goes hand in hand with choosing the right topic. But moving beyond your audience's interests, it’s important to think of the kinds of people who will be reading your white paper.

Knowing this helps establish the voice you should use and whether industry-specific jargon is appropriate. It also narrows the scope of the research you should include. It’s always important to ensure all arguments are logically sound and well supported, but the stats and information presented should be relevant to the specific audience you're targeting.

Part of defining an audience in the age of Google centers around how people will find the white paper. This means thinking about which platforms specific personas use for research and what search terms they put in. Not only will this help a white paper get found by the right people, but it is useful when outlining the white paper later on.

Optimizing for keywords is important, but remember to write for people, not for search engines. Google is getting better all the time at understanding and matching search intent with relevant content .

Wrap it in a great intro and outro

Like with all good writing, your intro should serve to captivate your audience, pique their curiosity, and entice them to read further. It's good practice to provide a brief summary of what they'll find in the white paper and to emphasize exactly what benefit they'll get from reading it.

Your outro is equally important, especially if you're using your white paper to market your products or services. You should avoid any self-promotion in the body of your white paper, but you can certainly mention your relevant product offerings and how to obtain them — perhaps using a compelling call-to-action — at the end.

Pack it with value

White papers are not meant to be advertisements for your company, and you should avoid any overt promotion. Instead, you should provide plenty of useful information that will be valuable to readers even if they don't become customers. Emphasizing value is the key to a great white paper that will get shared and widely read.

Remember, white papers serve to showcase your expertise as a company or brand in a given field. Your readers should come away having learned something useful and with the impression that you're a reliable source of expert information. As pointed out earlier, generating this kind of reputation will lead to greater business success as buyers are more likely to purchase from companies they trust.

Emphasizing value is the key to a great white paper that will get shared and widely read.

Don’t be scared of multiple drafts

No first draft is ever a finished work. Elizabeth Bishop, the renowned and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, wrote seventeen drafts of her poem “One Art” before it was completed. It’s now considered one of the best villanelles ever written .

While a white paper may not need seventeen drafts, there will undoubtedly be points missed and logical inconsistencies in the first version. Finishing a draft, stepping away, and coming back to it with a fresh mind is the best way to ensure quality. If there’s another good writer at your company, getting another set of eyes on it is even better.

Keep it interesting

White papers should be more detailed and thorough than blog posts or eBooks . This may cause them to be more dry and formal, but this doesn't mean they have to be boring.

A trap that white papers easily fall into is using statistics as a crutch and not maintaining interest throughout. Technical as it may be, you still want your white paper to be read. To make this happen, it’s useful to borrow techniques from fiction and creative nonfiction writers.

There are lots of resources for learning about a plot, but generally, it has five parts, as illustrated in Freytag’s pyramid:

White paper plot design

These won’t always correspond perfectly in a factual piece of writing like a white paper, but they can get you thinking about how to create and hold interest. Use those ideas to keep readers’ attention until the very end.

4. Mistakes a white paper should avoid

There are some pitfalls and common mistakes to avoid when writing a white paper. Each of these has the potential to make an otherwise stellar piece of content into a wasted effort. Here's a brief list of things to look out for.

Sounding like a sales pitch

When white papers are used as part of a marketing campaign where businesses showcase their product, a common mistake is to make them sound like a sales pitch. Don't let this happen; it will immediately turn your readers off. In a white paper, your audience is seeking unbiased, educational information that will help them, not try to persuade them. Save the sales pitches for other content, like product brochures .

Lack of adequate research

As previously mentioned, white papers should be well-researched documents. It’s true that conducting lengthy original research may be outside a marketing team’s budget, but merely including a few stats from the first page of a Google search simply won’t cut it.

Aggregating statistics and searching through scholarly work may take time, but the result will be worth it. For your white paper to achieve its intended effect, It’s important to establish your content as an authoritative source to which the audience would want to return.

Poor design

We'll go in-depth into design in the next section, but it's worth mentioning here. The written content of a white paper is what matters most, but neglecting design is a big mistake. Designmakes your salient points stand out and helps the reader understand what they're reading. Using visuals (like images, animations , videos, charts, and graphs) that support your arguments is crucial.

Check out this white paper example built with Foleon!. Open the white paper

Not telling a story

White papers are informative and factual. We’ve driven that point home already. That doesn’t mean they should be boring. Backgrounders, problem-solution white papers, and research findings all have a story to tell, and the reader is far less likely to make it through the entire piece without some form of narrative to keep them engaged. Setting up a problem, elaborating on a solution, and including some type of success story is a proven formula for making any type of content more story-like.

Leaving it abstract

Because most white papers will involve sharing research findings, it can be easy to leave them in the realm of theory without explaining how to utilize those findings on a practical level. This is true more of backgrounders but can be the case with problem-solution white papers as well.

A good example is the abundant amount of content on employee engagement. Many B2B cases have covered the importance of employee engagement and the pitfalls of getting it wrong. Too little of this content goes further and gives concrete examples of what companies in specific verticals can do to alleviate the problem.

5. White paper format

Before addressing anything else, we first need to talk about the format you'll use.

A picture is no longer worth a thousand words. Today, its value is in the number of eyeballs it can keep glued to your content and the ratio of those viewers it convinces to click through to other sections of your website.

Your carefully crafted copy and painstakingly gathered statistics won’t earn those clicks on their own. The average human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish . And with 3.3 million Facebook posts, 448,800 tweets, and 149,513 emails sent every minute , competition for your readers' attention is intense, to say the least. Long form mediums like the white paper need serious sparkle just to compete.

You'll need more than just black text on a white background. Your design choices regarding things like color, typography, and the use of visuals will play a prominent role in the success of your white paper. Here are a few important principles to keep in mind for creating a quality white paper design.

Keeping mobile visitors in mind

More than 54% of internet traffic is now mobile , and web designers have adapted to this trend by creating what's known as responsive design . Before this, web pages simply scaled according to the size of a user's screen, retaining their layout. Naturally, this made most pages both unreadable and unnavigable on smaller devices.

Responsive design solved this by allowing elements on a page to rearrange, resize, or be completely hidden from view in response to the size of the screen. When a smaller screen is used, font-sizes increase, buttons become larger for touch screens, and the entire layout adjusts to make the page mobile-friendly.

But while this has become standard for web designers in a mobile-first world, producers of other digital content assets like white papers have generally not adapted . Surprisingly, most companies that offer white papers and eBooks on their websites still use PDF format .

The problem with PDFs is that they're unreadable on smaller screens . They're fixed-layout documents — they can't adjust or adapt to different screen sizes. Reading them on a mobile device requires excessive zooming and panning around, which is a terrible experience for users.

Mobile traffic is ever-increasing. If you decide to produce your white paper as a PDF , you risk excluding this vast segment of your audience. It's a design mistake that will cost you views and conversions.

Responsive white paper example - NGData

See examples of responsive white papers

Emphasis and readability

Because in-depth white papers contain lots of text and visuals, as well as supplementary information like footnotes, figures, logos and copyright info, the danger is that your design becomes cluttered. Clutter accumulates before you realize it. You may choose a clean layout and color scheme, to begin with, but as you continue to add content, things can get crowded. Often, you must make tough choices about what not to include to strike the right balance between completeness and readability.

Good design makes bold choices and prioritizes important information. These choices and priorities affect layout, placement, color, font size, page order and more. Use these design elements to create emphasis on vital pieces of information. But be careful. Emphasizing too many pieces of information — or too few — will cause readers to struggle to discern what’s important.

Good design makes bold choices and prioritizes important information.

Have a look at what's trending

Bold fonts and color schemes are in. If you look at the hippest tech companies right now, you’ll see lots of pastels and color gradients. Of course, all that might change tomorrow. But still, a great way to get inspiration when you're just starting is to take a look at what design trends are currently popular.

U2's frontman, Bono, sings "every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief." And he's right. Good designers are always drawing inspiration from other designers. The best way to create a successful design is to spend a lot of time looking at what others are doing successfully. Use Evernote , or a bookmarking service to save white papers and other exceptional designs that you encounter for future reference.

Don’t know where to start looking? Dribbble and Behance are two networks where great designers share their latest work. They consistently have material that’s on the cutting edge of what’s trending.

Design for your audience

While trends may inspire you, it's more important to align your design with your audience and your subject matter.

White paper format and design

Your design should support and strengthen your topic. The colors and typography should be consistent with what you're writing about, the tone you've chosen, and the audience you've defined. Writing a white paper for a funeral parlor? Hot-pink headlines might be a bad choice. Taking color psychology into account can help you achieve the look and feel you're after.

Brush up on the basics

No prior knowledge of design? No problem.

If you don’t have a designer working with you in-house, you can still teach yourself the basics of design and check work against those principles. A big part of the battle is knowing the search terms that will get you the knowledge you need. Luckily, good primers on basic graphic design are abundant.

After doing a bit of reading, start creating. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. If you create a white paper and don’t like the design, try to pinpoint what it is about the design that needs improvement. After the reading you’ve done, you’ll have the tools to critique your own work and the work of others. This is the best way to improve and create well designed white papers.

Choosing the right tools

At Foleon, we pride ourselves on providing a tool that makes creating responsive digital white papers easy, even for those with no prior graphic design experience.

Choosing a tool like this, which takes the guesswork out of design, will shorten the time it takes for you to produce great white papers. There is a vast ecosystem of tools out there, each of which is geared toward a different purpose and skillset. The right one will enable you as both a designer and a writer.

See how you can scale engaging content creation .

6. Gating your white papers

For most companies, lead generation and growing lists of contacts for the sales and marketing teams are important activities. Attracting visitors to your site and offering them something of value in exchange for their contact information is a proven method for filling the top of your funnel.

But for this type of inbound marketing to work, two things are needed: exceptional content that visitors are eager to acquire, and a method for gating (or walling off) that content behind a form.

Gated white paper

Many brands skip the first part and move straight to the second. They quickly produce something mediocre and put it behind a form. This might work in the short term for generating lists, but keep in mind that users expect more from content they “pay” for. The quality of your gated content serves as an indicator of the quality of your brand will affect your ability to turn prospects into customers down the road.

So how do white papers fit into lead generation efforts? They may act either as lead generation tools themselves or can be used to direct readers to other parts of a website that captures lead information.

What is gated content?

Walling expert content off behind a form designed to capture personal details is one of the most common techniques for generating leads. Gated content is any content that a reader cannot access until after they input some personal information, such as their name and email address. White papers and eBooks are two of the most common types of content used for this purpose.

Typically, a company will create a landing page that includes a description — and perhaps a preview — of what information readers can expect to find inside. The landing page will include a form for visitors to enter their personal information and thus gain access. After entering the required information, visitors are either presented with a download button or receive the gated content in their inbox.

There are plenty of variations on this formula, but the basic technique of providing “free” content and asking readers to “pay” by providing their personal information has been very important part of content marketing for a long time.

To gate or not to gate

While gating your best content is great for lead generation, there are some drawbacks as well. Walling off your white paper will mean it gets read by fewer people as not everyone is willing to give away their contact details.

An open-access white paper will be read by a wider audience. If it’s in-depth and authoritative, it may also do well organically and improve your search rankings. Gating it behind a form, however, will prevent search engines from indexing it.

It’s important to consider what the primary goal of your white paper is: disseminating information and gaining brand awareness or generating leads. If the latter is more important, then gating is a great option.


Another variation on gated content — and one that’s growing in popularity — is semi-gating . This can give you the best of both worlds by allowing your white paper to reach a wider audience while still retaining the ability to generate leads.

Semi-gating gives readers a taste of your white paper without requiring them to give up any info. You can, for example, make the first few pages of your white paper open access, and then make visitors fill in a form to read more. This works well because digital content is so abundant and brands must offer more for free or risk visitors turning elsewhere.

Allow your white paper to reach a wider audience while still retaining the ability to generate leads.

Offering more content for free also builds trust and brand loyalty among your readers. Let them know your white papers are valuable and helpful, and they’ll be more interested in giving you their personal information. You’re also more likely to gain qualified leads if readers have a chance to sample your white paper before converting.

Of course, semi-gating doesn’t mean giving away your entire white paper. Typically, there’s at least one section of the white paper that is exclusive to those who go through the gating process. Semi-gating can help reach a wider audience, build trust and loyalty, increase lead quality, and still help you capture the contact information you need.

There’s a concept in marketing and design known as friction . Friction is anything that causes the sales process to slow down. It’s like a roadblock that makes it less likely prospects will convert, sign up, download, or purchase. It can be caused by a multitude of things including poor design, confusing navigation, subpar copy, too many form fields, and more.

Your ability to generate leads with a gated white paper will largely depend on how much friction is involved. Asking for more information than you really need is one common and unnecessary source of friction that can lead to losing potential readers.

The entire field of conversion rate optimization is geared toward removing friction — or making user interactions easier. CRO specialists make forms simpler, navigation more intuitive, and design CTAs that are more likely to be clicked. Optimizing your landing page for conversions is a vital part of any lead generation campaign.

But the reality is, asking for personal information will always be an obstacle for a large number of people. So the key here is to make the process easy and noninvasive as possible.

An excellent way to do this is by reducing the number of form fields to the bare minimum and using mid-gating to ensure your ask is timely and yields immediate value for the reader: "Fill out this form to get access to the rest of this white paper, we've saved the best for last!".

Create white papers and eBooks that integrate with your favorite CRM or marketing automation platform. Get started

7. White paper distribution

So, after following the tips in this guide, you create an engaging, informative white paper that inspires readers to take action and deepen their relationship with your company. You mid-gate (or semi-gate) it to capture readers’ information and gain valuable insight into the interests and demographics of your consumer base.

Now, you publish it on your website, sit back, and wait for your Pulitzer.

Only, the traffic never comes… Where did you go wrong? You didn't think about your white paper distribution strategy . 

The importance of distribution

The internet isn’t the same as it once was. Thanks to the massive amount of content produced every day for and an ever-growing number of channels, it’s a lot harder to get noticed. Unless you’re Gabriel García Márquez back from the dead, simply writing something and posting it online doesn’t guarantee readership.

To get eyes on your white paper, you need to be smart not only about writing and design but distribution as well. Some content marketing thought leaders go so far as to claim that you should spend 20% of your time on content creation and 80% on promotion.

Distribution is all about identifying traction channels where your ideal customers consume content and making your white paper highly visible on those channels. Depending on the audience you defined in the beginning, some will be more relevant for you than others.

Social promotion

If you’re at all familiar with marketing, advertising, or online media, chances are you’re aware of how important social media is to visibility. People from all walks of life, and from all over the world, are on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Ensuring that you share your content regularly on these platforms will give you a solid base of promotion on which to build.

But it's not enough to simply write a post and tweet it into the void. Try to find communities like Facebook and LinkedIn groups where your target audience is likely to congregate. Search for relevant hashtags on Twitter and Instagram . Find subreddits relevant to your industry.

Once you’ve found your audience, it’s much easier to connect with them. If you contribute to these spaces regularly, you’ll have an easier time keeping their attention and distributing your white paper.

Influencers and earned media

Public relations isn’t what it once was; influencer marketing has taken its place as the way to get noticed by the masses.

These days, influencers — people with large, engaged followings on social media and newsletters — are better equipped to amplify your content than traditional journalists. They play a growing role in shaping public opinion and even in setting business trends . Shares from an influencer can even help you land spots in major publications the way press releases used to.

Social media is the best place to find influencers in your vertical. When you investigate the best communities in which to promote your white paper, look for the content that people are already referencing and sharing. Eventually, you’ll start to get a picture of who’s putting out content that’s getting widespread traction. These are the people whose voices can amplify your brand.

Start by interacting with them. Begin a conversation, comment on their pieces with regularity, and give them feedback on their work. There are great tools, like Voila Norbert and ContactOut , to help you quickly track down email addresses.

After building enough rapport, try offering to collaborate on future white papers or other types of content. This process can take some time because your goal here is to build a relationship.

Eventually, you can ask an influencer to share your white paper. You might even consider quoting them in the white paper itself — anything that gives them an incentive to share your work is helpful.

Pro tip: Try to find an expert in your white paper related subject and interview them. It will add value to your white paper and you'll increase the chance that the expert shares your content with his or her extensive network.

Email marketing

The jungle of online content may thicken daily, but there are a few places you can still get readers’ attention. Email distribution has stood the test of time in this regard. It provides greater ROI than social , and it shows no signs of weakening.

If the purpose of your white paper is lead generation, email marketing will not be applicable. But for boosting sales, building trust, and establishing your brand as a trustworthy source of information, it's important not to neglect your existing contact base.

Although email may not have the appealing viral possibilities associated with social media, it does have other advantages. Namely, anyone who subscribed to your email list chose to be there. This means you can expect a higher level of engagement from this audience than those who come in via other channels. Capitalize on their loyalty and engagement by encouraging contacts to share your white paper with their networks and thus multiply your distribution efforts.

This was discussed in the previous section, but it's worth mentioning again here: another big advantage of Foleon's gating features is that when your existing contacts share your white paper with their contacts, those people will be confronted with a login form that will allow you to capture their info and expand your email list further.

Going beyond the basics

The techniques discussed above are essential items in your white paper distribution toolbox. However, they’re not the only ones. The best way to distribute your white paper depends largely on your target audience and the industry to which your content speaks.

Take some time to critically evaluate and research how knowledge is shared in your industry. Every industry will be slightly different. Reaching people in these places is the best guarantee of effective distribution.

8. Handling your white paper leads

As we've discussed, white papers can serve a variety of objectives. They’re commonly used for thought leadership and to disseminate important research, relevant to a specific industry.

When it comes to content marketing, however, the most common use for white papers over the last several years has become lead generation. In chapter 6, we discussed how to bring readers to your white paper and capture their information.

Once you've properly gated your white paper and set up a solid distribution strategy, it's time to think about how you'll handle the leads that come in. If not properly tracked and nurtured, leads will quickly become cold and won't lead to increased sales for your company. So how do you follow up with leads and maximize the opportunity you’ve created with your white paper?

How to track your white paper leads

The buyer’s journey outlines the steps a person goes through, from becoming aware of a problem they have, to learning about different solutions to that problem, to eventually purchasing a product or service (hopefully yours) that solves their problem.

White paper customer journey

To maximize the chances your new leads become paying customers, you must take the abstract concept of a buyer’s journey and map it to your specific content ecosystem. The actions your prospects take on your website can be indicative of what stage of the journey they're in.

For example, you may see someone read a blog post on your site, then come back a day later to get your white paper, and then finally sign up for a free trial or an email list. After that, they might decide to make a purchase. As patterns begin to emerge around the journey your customers take, you'll learn what actions on your part can help them to advance.

There are many tools available to help you analyze this journey for yourself. Google Analytics is probably the most widely used. It lets you track and compile data regarding user behavior on your website. You can define goals and generate reports that will show you steps users tend to take before completing those goals.

Targeting stages of the buyer’s journey

As it becomes more clear what actions visitors take before purchasing, you'll better understand where to use your white paper in the buyer's journey.

The question you should seek to answer is, where does it provide the most value to your potential customers? Do you see greater success when accessing your gated white paper is a prospect's first interaction with your company? Or is it perhaps more effective to use it as an offer once visitors have returned a second (or third) time to your site?

You can see that white papers don't exist in isolation but act as a member of an ecosystem. The related blog posts, landing pages, emails, social messages, and follow up sequences must all be carefully orchestrated and properly timed.

This process takes practice. It takes trial and error, and you must be a keen observer of trends . However, that effort will pay off.

...white papers don't exist in isolation but act as a member of a content ecosystem.

Following up with your leads

Depending on where in the buyer's journey you use your white paper, the way you'll want to follow up with leads will be different.

This is what it means to nurture leads. By proactively keeping in touch with leads and offering them more relevant content, you maximize the likelihood of them becoming a customer.

Be prepared to write a lot more content

By this point, you should have all the ingredients you need to make your white paper a rousing success. However, you’ll notice by now the reality that your white paper fits into a larger ecosystem of marketing actions and content.

In today’s business world, producing quality content is one of the best ways to get your target market's attention. But not everyone will be ready for the same piece of content at the same time.

From white papers, to blog posts, to podcasts, the type of content that will drive conversions for your business is something you'll discover over time. What’s certain is that one type won't satisfy all your audience's needs. Because of that, you should be prepared to fill the rest of your buyer’s journey with other appropriate content.

This means lots of writing. There’s no way around that. It means coming up with content ideas, creating them, distributing them, and measuring their success — then rinsing and repeating. After this primer, you should be fully equipped for success writing not only white papers but whatever content you choose along your journey.  

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White Paper :

An in-depth document that argues a specific position and solves an issue for your readers. white papers are meant to educate readers about a problem and help them understand how they might solve it..

Alphabet Soup

Companies write white papers to show readers how they would help solve a common issue. This document is formal, based on original data, and focuses on one, singular problem.

There are 5 types of white papers:

No matter what type of white paper you choose to write, all must be based on data and solve some kind of issue for your reader.

To help you see how to correctly format your white paper, CoSchedule has come up with the below graphic.

white paper marketing term

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The Best White Paper Examples for B2B Marketers

Key insights from the best b2b white paper examples across 9 industries, introduction: what is a white paper.

White papers are great examples of marketing collateral that exhibit your authority over a chosen niche. Mostly, they are long-form content intended to educate the target audience, that delve deeper into industry trends, issues, and policies and explain its causes, implications, and benefits.

Companies, public institutions, governments, universities, and individuals publish white papers to address an industry problem to propose their solution to it. That way, their product/solution has better recall value than its competitors.

According to the B2B Content Marketing 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, white papers are one of the top 4 most effective types of marketing collateral preferred by 71% of companies.

Content marketers across industries use white papers as potential tools for sales. But, a lot of effort, time, resources, and money goes into creating it. So, how do you ensure your white paper gives you more bang for your buck?

In this blog, we have condensed our research of more than 70 white papers across industries and have drawn the below insights that will help you create the best white papers.

"White papers are long-form content intended to educate and inform the target audience. They delve deeper into issues, trends, and policies, and explain their causes, implications, and benefits."
Learn the 8 steps to writing awesome white papers with free templates.

Creating a white paper needs a lot of work even before you begin working on the core structure. Planning, stakeholder signoff, SEO strategy, value proposition, and ability to drive revenues are vital factors that you need to consider before putting pen to paper.

Let's look at how some of the most famous companies are doing it effectively. Jump to the best white paper examples in your industry:

To make it easier for you, we have outlined below the best practices that you can implement while creating white papers that will resonate with your target audience:

1. What is the Best Structure for a White Paper?

Every company/author has their way of creating a structure for their white papers. White papers often follow the author's thinking process. The template of a white paper shows the clarity of thought of the author.

For example, if you're authoring a white paper on a new product, then describe the market opportunity, the deficiency of the right solution, the reason why your product is the best. Create the structure and stick to it all through the document. 

Some of the white papers we researched gave out terminology definitions even before the introduction, while some had it at the end. Most of them provided their core message at the beginning either in the form of an executive summary or a brief synopsis. Some of them used a case study to explain their views, while others demonstrated their solutions.

In essence, there is no unique structure to a white paper - it evolves based on the needs of the target audience. 

2. What is the Ideal Length of a White Paper?

There is no such thing as ' ideal length ' for a white paper.

However, every page must add incremental value to the reader. Keep the curious reader hooked on with new things that they weren't aware of in every sentence that you put out.

It is easy to get carried away by all that you want to write, but your readers may not be interested in knowing them.

If you are publishing a white paper titled " 5 ways to prevent cardiovascular diseases ," then readers will look for the text under the bullets that speak about these five different ways. So, devote maximum effort in making this portion of the document valuable for them.

3. Getting a Subject Matter Expert to Write Your Whitepaper

Compare these two: a weather meteorologist predicts that there will be rain tonight. Your 80-year old grandma peering out of the living room window says it is not going to rain anytime soon. Whose prediction are you more likely to heed? It is natural human psychology to take notice when an expert opines.

So, it is a good idea to partner with a leading academician or a client executive or an independent blogger to co-author a white paper.

It is valuable only because it comes straight from a bevy of experts. You can nominate an SME from your company to partner with an external influencer in the authoring process. This approach adds more heft to your white paper.

Essentially, white papers are long form content intended to educate the target audience

4. Give Wings to Your White Paper with Research

Think about it – aren’t you eager to know the prediction of poll results in your state even before they are declared? That is because predictions are a cumulation of people's opinions.

From our analysis, we found that some of the best white papers were the ones that had some form of research/survey results embedded in it. These results were an aggregation of public opinion who have given their verdict.

Today, with online surveys, you can compile results within a few hours of putting it up.  People want to know what other people in their community are saying. It is bound to engage the target audience more than a one-page newsletter.

5. Are There Any White Paper Design Examples?

One of the biggest stumbling blocks in the white paper creation process is the availability of templates or design examples. Here is our post on  How to Write a White Paper [with free templates] that you can download and get started right away. These white paper design examples and templates will help you not be overwhelmed with the monstrosity of the project. Feel free to tweak them based on your needs.

6. How Do You Make Your White Papers Visually Rich?

One reason why marketers don’t see a high ROI on their white papers despite the best efforts is that they fail to make it visually enriching.

Include infographics, images, charts, etc. to explain your points as well as giving a takeaway for your target audience. Remember, you could reuse all of these visuals in social media, etc. to boost white paper downloads.

7. Who uses whitepapers? 

At the top of our minds, marketing collaterals such as whitepapers, case studies, infographics and brand stories are used by the beloved Sales Team of every organization to send across to potential prospects. These marketing collaterals serve the singular purpose of providing information to the readers about your company/product/service so that they decide to, well, pick you! 

But, you already know all this. We are aware that this definition isn’t terribly helpful. 

So, let's get a liiiitle specific. 

Marketing Executives 

In the universe of Marketing, content never serves a singular purpose. There is always room to refresh, refurbish and of course, create magic. Every marketer will agree that whitepapers aren’t any different. Content rich collaterals such as whitepapers can do wonders such as 

In The Web3 World

Whitepapers are one of the primary sources of information in the Web3 world. Who would’ve thought, right? Whitepapers heavily determine a ton of important factors relating to the assets such as : 

In Web3, potential investors and buyers consider whitepapers to be their make or break component before making a decision. Since Web3, cryptocurrency and the whole cloud of new age internet built on a blockchain is still a fairly new concept to the world - people are looking to garner all the information they can. 

Here’s a guide on how to read Web3 Whitepapers  

CTOs, CFOs, CIO’s and more. 

No. Not UFOs. 

Whitepapers are used by Chief Technical Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Information Officers and so on for distinct purposes in their respective line of work. 

This includes -

8. How do you distribute your whitepapers effectively? 

Sending them out post demo calls .

Whitepapers are versatile in such a way that they can easily be used in any part of the sales process. Once a prospect is done with a demo call, sales executives send out marketing collateral such as case studies, customer testimonials and whitepapers to provide prospects with more information.

Whitepaper Syndication Services

Whitepaper Syndication is publishing the same whitepaper on third-party sites in order to target your niche of audience, generate quality leads and garner a higher reach for your whitepapers. Content Syndication is an effective way to distribute your whitepapers as it is easy, consumes less time and allows repurposing of existing content on multiple platforms. 

Inclusion in landing pages, newsletters and guest posts 

Embedding or linking your whitepapers to relevant guest posts, landing pages and newsletters are a great way to distribute your whitepapers. Prospects sometimes land on your website to download collateral such as whitepapers. This is where content gating comes into play and helps with lead generation. 

Sharing with private communities on Quora, Slack, Reddit and Discord 

If you’ve done your bit of research, we are sure you’re aware that a TON of intense B2B discussions happen on communities such as Reddit, Slack Channels and Discord. Being perennially active in these communities and sharing the right content at the right time can work wonders for your content reach. 

A Personalized Hub

We have one word for you - Exclusive. 

Exclusivity is a love language. Exclusivity is showcasing importance. Exclusivity speaks and it responds. 

How about sending out your whitepapers in a personalized hub that is customized exclusively for the eyes of your prospect? 

Screenshot of a Paperflite Collection

With Paperflite, we live by the principles of exclusivity. Send out your whitepapers and basically anything in a pretty, personalized package. 

9. How do you gate your whitepaper to collect leads? 

Gating is one of the oldest gimmicks in the marketing field used to collect valuable information on prospects (Name, Company, Designation, Favourite Backstreet Boys song - that kind of important stuff). 

Basically, gating your content is the marketing equivalent of collecting all possible information about a date in order to confirm they’re not an axe murderer. 

Except, you really want this date to go well. 

Here are some ways you can gate your whitepaper : 

10. How do you measure and track your whitepaper’s success? 

If you have included your whitepaper in your landing page, or published it anywhere in your website - Google Analytics is your guy. With Google Analytics, you can see from which region your incoming website traffic is being generated. Google Analytics also enables you to track collective data on users such as how long viewers have spent on your asset. 

Platforms such as Paperflite enable you to track uber-specific metrics through smart gating such as - 

Screenshots of Reports from a Paperflite account

Let us now dive into the best white papers across industries that we analyzed.

The Best White Paper Examples for Financial Services Companies

The Best White Papers for the Financial Services Industry

1.  5 steps to rid your small business of payroll stress

Published by: ADP

Why do we like this?

ADP is an established authority in the payroll software industry, and they know what works in their industry. This white paper uses a lot of visual appeals to explain how small businesses can overcome payroll-related challenges.

Moreover, this white paper's target audience (SMEs) does not have much time, so ADP has stuck to the basics. The company has given out vital information that the audience is seeking instead of flooding the white paper with text. While giving out the five steps, they've even given a case study of how they helped one of their clients, which makes their opinion invaluable.

2.  Seizing the Digitalization Opportunity

Published by: Siemens

For starters, this white paper is an 'insight paper,' which is a smart move by Siemens . The authors have laid out the key findings upfront, which is the core of the white paper. They have substantiated the concept of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) financing with examples of how they have helped clients in the real world. It doesn't have a lot of white spaces but is full of core and reference text.

3.  RegTech: Helping Your Data Work Smarter and Harder

Published by: Wolters Kluwer

This white paper tackles a complex topic, one that does not have a lot of literature out in the open - Regulatory Technology (RegTech). The company introduces a solution, explain its basics, the necessity for it, how it helps companies in various geographies, and the benefits of implementing it.

Wolters Kluwer explains what their opinion is on RegTech in a manner that an IT professional would comprehend it.

4.  Are equities overvalued?

Published by: HSBC

Why do we like it?

This finance white paper has loads of content in it to explain the reasons for the overvaluation of the equity market and why asset allocation could be the answer to it. It has content under five clear headings and is bound to interest portfolio managers, fund managers, and investment professionals.

Authored by the bank's global executives, it is a significant report that has a clear message - investors need to be cautious in their equity allocation approach.

5.  How Banks Can Win New Small Business Customers

Published by: VansonBourne

We like this white paper for two reasons:

1) It is an output of the collaboration between Avoka and Vanson Bourne . Avoka creates customer acquisition and onboarding journeys in financial services, while Vanson Bourne is an independent specialist in market research for the technology sector. An excellent example of how a collaborative effort counts a lot more than individual efforts.

2) It compiles verbatim responses to a survey administered to 300 small business owners in European countries. It is rare to see white papers where two vendors catering to similar target audiences join hands to create marketing collateral that serves them both.

The Best White Paper Examples for the Healthcare Industry

The Best White Papers for the Healthcare Industry

1. Journey To Value: The State of Value-Based Reimbursement in 2016

Published by: McKesson

This white paper is well-structured for the healthcare industry, with an academic orientation. It begins with the list of charts and figures used and the definitions of healthcare terminologies. McKesson had already forayed to answer the question " Is value-based reimbursement real? ” two years ago in a similar white paper.

This time in a sequel to the earlier document, they teamed up with a niche research company to survey 465 payers and hospitals to see how far the needle had moved on value-based reimbursement.

By expanding and repeating the earlier study, they have established themselves as an authority on the subject. The white paper moves along from one stage to the next by explaining the survey methodology, the sample design, and the findings.

2.  Reinventing Utilization Management to Bring Value to the Point of Care

Mckesson 's Vice President has authored this white paper on the topic of Utilization Management , which is a good strategy as it exhibits how much they value their content.

After a brief introduction, it moves to the limits of traditional utilization management models and how shifting to a collaborative exception-based model combined with analytics will serve as a bridge to the future. 

3.  Current and New Approaches to Making Drugs More Affordable

Published by: CVS Health

Dealing with industry issues and suggesting remedial measures for a company like CVS Health  is an excellent way to build topic authority.

Bringing drug costs under control is an industry-wide problem for US healthcare companies. CVS Caremark has taken the lead to explain how if manufacturers across the board were to reduce drug prices, it would improve health outcomes and reduce medical costs.

Besides suggesting three techniques to reduce costs, the company has suggested three recent innovations that help further reduce costs. The company has explained how medications can be made further affordable by comparing the high-profit percentages of pharmaceutical companies as compared to other industries.

4. The Only Way is Up

Published by:  Bayer

In terms of the choice of subject, this is one of the most attractive white papers published by Bayer . The company explains where short cucumbers originate from, how cucumbers are a core component within Middle Eastern cultures and the critical consumption drivers for the vegetable in Europe and North America.

The white paper is a storehouse of insights that includes average household sizes, life priorities of the customers, the evolution of the consumer, etc. For a company of the profile of Bayer, to be opining about short cucumbers and how they have entered the snacking market is unique.

5.  The Forgotten Killer: Cardiovascular disease

Published by: Aetna

This white paper serves as a primer for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and explains its most common conditions. It describes how countries such as Finland are adopting measures to fight it, the promise and limitations of new drug therapies, and technology advancement that could improve diagnosis.

This white paper is an eye-opener for those who are not aware of CVDs and gives out a lot of information on ways to avoid it. With impressive noting of footnotes and charts, this is an excellent piece for people looking to fight CVDs.

The Best White Paper Examples for the Insurance Industry

The Best White Papers for the Insurance Industry

1.  Digital Transformation in the Insurance Industry

Published by: Frost & Sullivan

Commissioned by Samsung Electronics America , this white paper deals with the trends that are shaping the Insurance industry. It deals with how insurance companies can thrive in this changing industry landscape, and how technologies such as mobile, wearables, AR/VR are impacting the industry.

It is a perfect example of how a company specializing in a niche has partnered not just to explain industry trends, but also to explain how they're at the forefront of it.

2. Black Insurance's White Paper

Published by: Black Insurance

Black Insurance 's white paper on the challenges faced by the industry (i.e., multiple parties, high costs, and barriers to entry) shows their deep understanding of the subject.

It explains Black Insurance 's proposed solution to this situation along with with the business model, the pricing framework, licensing, token economics, technical design, etc. It is a comprehensive white paper that positions them as an authority in this domain.

3.  Nine ways insurance carriers are driving down combined ratios with video

Published by: Panopto

Panopto is a video platform that enables users to record videos. The company has created a white paper for an industry that uses video extensively.

It is almost a no-brainer that the company has put out a white paper to further their business initiative and showcase its authority in the subject.

4.  The Insurance Industry: Supporting SMEs To Prosper

Published by: Allianz

This white paper is similar to other step-by-step pieces that lay down the number of steps that an organization must take to achieve a specific goal.

Each page highlights a challenge that small and medium enterprises face along with the remedial actions that they could bring, which makes it easier for readers to know how to deal with them.

Moreover, this is a survey of 500 SME businesses to identify the top 5 challenges facing the SME industry.

5.  Embracing the multi-generation workplace

Published by: AXA

AXA ’s white paper has impressive statistics by experts about an aging UK population followed by a bulleted-executive summary (pretty unconventional, but seems to work!).

It then moves methodically into the challenge that aging employees and the organizations alike face, covers the benefits of having a diverse workforce, recommendations for companies. It is not too long; neither is it abridged and is perfect for a good read for human resource professionals who are dealing with an aging workforce.

6.  Enterprise Counterparties: Mortgage Insurers

Published by: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

This white paper is by the US government charters to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the mortgage market. So, it is a highly valued piece because it has the US government’s stamp on it. Moreover, it is a bible for many mortgage insurers, academics, policymakers, regulators, etc. who want to get to the point straight.

This document is in a free-flowing format without any pictures, but it has substantial intrinsic value. We included this piece to show how government agencies prefer putting out their publications.

7.  Accident Insurance

Published by: Prudential

Prudential ’s white paper on accident insurance for the US market is extremely well structured and explains the various aspects of accident insurance. This white paper is insightful with numbers and graphs, explaining the reasons why people need accident insurance, what employers need to do, etc.

With 13 pages of useful content, companies looking to provide accident insurance benefits to its employees can use this document as a handy guide.

The Best White Paper Examples for the Manufacturing Industry

The Best White Papers for the Manufacturing Industry

1.  How ETERNUS DX contributes to energy efficiency, cost savings, and a human-centric intelligent society

Published by: Fujitsu

Fujitsu describes how their disk storage systems provide energy efficiency in the face of rising energy costs in data centers. It is a technical paper replete with diagrams and process flows. Clearly, Fujitsu has explained technical concepts intending to sell their solution that increases disk storage, saves energy,  and improves energy efficiency.

Fujitsu also describes their green IT initiatives and what they're doing to reduce burdens on the environment. With ' caring for the environment ' a core topic of this white paper, their Green IT initiatives resonate well with the document.

2.  Win more business with fewer sales resources

Published by: Infor

An example of a white paper that has been created solely to market the company's solutions. It explains the need for change in discrete product sales and other technical concepts very well backed by secondary research. A no-frills document that sticks to the point and conveys its central message within five pages.

It offers suggestions on how manufacturers manage sales and how they have a choice to take advantage of the situation with fewer resources.

3.  How Software solutions can help mining companies increase efficiency levels

Published by: Sage Business Solutions

This white paper is well-structured and moves in a step-by-step manner. It explains the challenges of improving mining efficiencies in Australia, available software solutions, and mobile dashboards that can enhance productivity .

It follows the inverted pyramid structure of laying down the most significant challenges and narrowing down on the ideal solution.

The Best White Paper Examples for the Retail Industry

The Best White Papers for the Retail Industry

1. Dialogue Marketing: How to Enter and Succeed in the German Market

Published by: Deutsche Post

This exciting piece speaks about ways to enter the German market using dialogue marketing, i.e., all marketing & advertising activities aimed at starting a direct dialogue with customers.

It explains what non-German retailers need to do to enter a new market (if they haven't) already done it. Deutsche Post 's white paper makes them an authority on the subject of marketing in Germany. Besides, being a major German logistics player, this white paper makes a lot of sense for them to publish .

Why? Because if e-commerce companies were to enter Germany, shipments would go up, which will ultimately benefit them.

2.  Eligma - AI-driven and blockchain-based cognitive commerce platform

Published by: Eligma

Although this white paper aims to harness AI and Blockchain to improve the decision making for eCommerce customers, it is applicable for all industries.

This white paper is an example of a yet-to-be-launched product. It explores market opportunities, business model, execution plan, technology solution framework that leverages AI and Blockchain, and loyalty programs. One core vision combines all these elements: to offer a set of solutions to discover, purchase, track, and resell eCommerce items.

Seldom do we find such white papers that have the depth and coverage for a solution that isn't launched in the market yet.

The Best White Paper Examples in Technology

The Best White Papers in Technology

1.  Design and deliver cloud-based apps and data for flexible, on-demand IT

Published by: Citrix Systems

In this no-frills white paper, Citrix Systems  deals with the topic in hand straightaway: A better way to deliver cloud-based workspaces using Citrix Cloud IT.

From a visual perspective, there aren't many pictures in this document, but it makes up for it with use cases that further give evidence of their proposed solution.

2.  Hitachi Content Platform

Published by: Hitachi Vantara

This technical white paper is bereft of any visual appeal barring system architecture diagrams. It delves deeper into how Hitachi 's solution can help minimize vulnerability and threat exposure.

A company-specific white paper which focuses on the problem at hand and how their solution can help overcome it.

3.  Creating the Foundation for Digital Transformation

Published by: Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Red Hat

This unique white paper is written jointly by HP and Red Hat . It explains how they bring together their consulting and migration expertise to help clients achieve digital transformation.

They've even highlighted the success story of how one of their clients, DreamWorks Animation , was able to accomplish digital transformation. This white paper is an excellent example of how they're bringing their proposition to life.

4.  Using Virtual Platforms for Pre-Silicon Software Development

Published by: Synopsys

This white paper is similar to the Hitachi Content Platform piece that we mentioned above but does not propagate their solution.

Instead, they explain how it has become increasingly challenging to sell silicon without the associated software executing on the hardware. It is prevalent in a variety of application domains like wireless, multimedia, networking, and automotive.

It is a common problem that many semiconductor companies are facing and explains how a virtual platform can be used to develop and integrate the software. The target audience for this white paper is semiconductor engineers and IT architects, who know the nuances of semiconductor development.

5.  Air, Fluid Flow, and Thermal Simulation of Data Centers

Published by: Autodesk

A technical document explained with diagrams on the usage of computational fluid dynamics cloud-based services within the Autodesk 360 platform. It was published in 2013 and is still very relevant due to how they command authority in their chosen niche.

6.  2018 Fjord Trends

Published by: Fjord (An Accenture Organization)

Fjord 's white paper on global trends is a treat for those who track technology developments closely. Each industry trend has a section on what's happening around the technology, what lies ahead and Fjord 's recommendations for enterprises looking to adopt the technology.

Each trend has examples of how companies are leveraging it to prove its significance to the industry. The report stands out for its clarity, simplicity, and depth of coverage of each trend.

7.  Our Approach to Automated Driving System Safety

Published by: Apple

Apple ’s white paper on their approach to automated vehicles explains how their systems work. True to its native style, the white paper contains plain and simple text and does not use pictures to amplify its message.

It reveals fascinating insights on driver safety and pays close attention to every detail. It mandates that drivers must have both hands on the steering wheel, work in a single shift, and take frequent breaks while driving.

The Best White Paper Examples for the Transportation Industry

The Best White Papers for the Transport Industry

1. Fast-Forwarding to a Future of On-Demand Urban Air Transportation

Published by: Uber

This document is a quick example of how a transport company predicts a bold new future. While Uber has sponsored the white paper, note how it mentions reviewers from NASA , MIT and other elite organizations that provide air transport.

They've coined the term VTOL - short for ' Vertical Take-off and Landing .' Imagine a service that does not exist today, and you have the opportunity to bring it to life. This white paper introduces the concept of VTOL in urban cities; it talks about all aspects of this - barriers to achieve them, emissions, certifications, safety, performance, and rider experience.

They conclude by saying what steps they will take to bring this to life. A 98-page document, it sure is bound to appeal to the die-hard fans of futuristic transportation.

2.  Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030

Published by: RethinkX

This white paper is bold in many ways, because its author, Stanford economist, Tony Seba is a man known for his daring, but accurate predictions. He predicted the rise of the solar industry when solar panels were a lot more expensive than they are today.

In this white paper, Tony predicts the death of the automobile and the oil industry. He goes deeper into every aspect of these predictions and gives the reasons for his predictions.

The predictions, statistics, in-depth research, and recommendations of this white paper make it a unique content asset. The author has explained every concept in detail in the appendix section - an ideal example of a comprehensive white paper. 

The Best White Paper Examples Across Industries

The Best White Papers Across Industries

1.  A Four-Step Plan For Business Continuity - How to Develop and Maintain a BC Plan to Mitigate the Risk of Business Disruption

Published by: Sungard Availability  Services

This white paper tells us the four steps needed to plan for Business Continuity (BC). BC applies to all companies and all industries, so the company has a unique advantage in that it can appeal to any company in any industry. It does not lean towards any particular industry; instead, it is a generic document.

2.  The Power of Design Thinking

Published by: Dassault Systemes

One of those white papers where the format used is in the first person, and the author is an academic. It is another unique way of creating a white paper by getting academia or an expert from a different organization to write for you.

It contains valuable advice, mainly because it comes straight from Philip Gray, an expert who has spent four decades in product design.

3.  Data Resilience with Fallback Protection

Published by: Teradata

Teradata 's technical white paper explains the need for a high-level discussion of the features of Fallback, a unique element to Teradata Database . It enhances the availability of a single Integrated Data Warehouse system.

The target audience for this white paper is data experts who will comprehend fallback recovery tools, performance impact due to Fallback, the benefits of having the Fallback.

4.  Interactive content across the buyer's journey

Published by: i-on interactive, Inc.

A common topic across industries, this white paper explains why interactive content is better than static content and the different interactive content tools. The authors have cleverly used the buyer's journey to describe their case why businesses must use interactive content.

5.  10 Best Practices for Writing Effective White Paper Titles

Published by: inSegment

An often neglected feature, this white paper features the top 10 best practices for creating the best headlines. It is a short document and does not have a lot of content, but makes up for it via examples and useful suggestions.


Published by: Solar Winds

A generic white paper applicable to companies across industries, it introduces the concept of 'monitoring' for someone who is familiar with computers and IT in general, but not with monitoring. As such, (almost) no prior knowledge or experience is required to read this white paper.

It talks about the FCAPS model of surveillance, building blocks of monitoring framework, techniques of monitoring, and more. A seemingly technical concept has been explained well so that readers can understand it easily.

7.  AWS Security Incident Response Guide

Published by: Amazon

Amazon 's biggest priority is security, and its collection of white papers on security is unarguably the most comprehensive that we have researched. Published during June 2019, Amazon 's white paper enables the reader to understand better the impact of incident response (IR), and user security choices on corporate goals.

A well-structured white paper, it encourages Amazon's customers to start small, develop runbooks, leverage necessary security capabilities, and create an initial library of incident response mechanisms to iterate from and improve gradually.

The Best White Paper Examples for Nonprofits

We like white papers by nonprofits because their topics are the most varied. They range from human rights issues to researching on butterflies, and so each white paper is a specimen in itself. Every nonprofit has a unique way of authoring white papers to suit their requirements.

Best White Paper Examples for Nonprofits

1. Human Rights and Australia’s Foreign Policy

Published by: Amnesty International Australia

The first in our collection of white paper examples for nonprofits is the Amnesty International Australia ’s document. It talks about Australia’s role in promoting and defending human rights globally. It outlines ita recommendations at the beginning of the document and then dives deeper into the subject of global human rights issues and Australia’s interests.

Every problem area in the white paper has an immediate recommendation attached to it, so readers know what is the remedy for it. Despite lacking visuals and images, it makes for compulsive reading into Australian principles of multilateralism and human rights.

2. Extending US Biodiversity Collections to Promote and Collections

Published by: National Science Foundation

This white paper has brilliant Instagram-worthy images all through it with a caption that describes the effort behind digitizing biodiversity specimens in the United States.

A short 12-page white paper, it leads the reader through the collection of physical biodiversity specimens (plants and animals) and digital data gathering around them. It concludes with the steps needed for implementing and sustaining biodiversity collection efforts for the 21st century.

3.  Under the Radar: Degradation in Canada’s Boreal Forest and Climate Consequences

Published by: Natural Resources and Defense Council

  This manuscript may not be a white paper in its real sense. However, it weaves a story as a white paper would through do vibrant imagery. Every page is replete with stunning images that explain how Canada’s forestland is gradually receding.

Originally presented during the 21st Century Conference in Oxford, each page has insights about the shrinking carbon-absorbing capacity of Canada’s forests. It concludes with recommendations on steps needed to introduce afforestation. 4.  The United Nations Children Fund – Women or Children First?

Published by: International Organizations Group

  This detailed white paper is 102-pages long and divided into six sections. It traces UNICEF ’s history in combating epidemics, diseases, assisting women in childbirth, their health, and nutrition. It decries the reign of Carol Bellamy as the UNICEF executive director and the emergence of a feminist revolution that nurtures the girl child and cares for them. It recommends greater transparency in the operations of UNICEF and a more careful approach to spending their resources.

5. White Paper on Cancer Carers

Published by: European Cancer Patients Coalition (ECPC) and Eurocarers.

Carers are unpaid folks who provide care for patients with chronic illnesses such as cancer, who account for 80% cancer care in Europe.  ECPC ’s white paper in collaboration with Eli Lilly , Merck , and Pfizer on cancer carers methodically explains the need for specific attention towards their needs, and the importance of an improved framework for carers generally.

It is an excellent example of a white paper created by the private sector and nonprofits towards providing sustainable care for chronic illnesses. It includes case studies of how European countries have been implementing different measures successfully and recommends employment, social, healthcare, and educational policy changes across Europe.

6.  A 5˚C Arctic in a 2˚C World - Challenges and recommendations for immediate action

Published by: Columbia Climate Center, WWF, Woods Hole Research Center

This white paper summarizes the key outcomes of a workshop held in June 2016 to discuss the 1.5-2˚C change in global warming highlighted during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change at Paris in 2015. A 1.5-2˚C change in global warming means a 3.5-5˚C change for the Arctic region, which can be disastrous. This white promptly highlights the immediate and long-term measures such as carbon dioxide removal and exploring the usage of alternate energy on a global scale.

It meticulously lays the background, the urgency of the situation, the need for immediate action, and recommendations.

7.  Satoshi Nakamoto's Bitcoin White Paperflite   Published by: Satoshi Nakamoto Why do we like this? No collection of white papers is complete without mentioning Satoshi Nakamoto's seminal piece on Bitcoin. This white paper, published in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, is text-based and is a good starting point for anyone looking to learn more blockchain and cryptocurrency.

It describes the mechanics of a simple peer-to-peer electronic cash system, later known as Bitcoin.  It succinctly explains how the Bitcoin might function without relying on a country's government or central bank. There is hardly any information about Satoshi Nakamoto in the public domain, but this white paper ushered in the era of blockchain technology.

What are Your Favorite White Paper Examples?

Do you have any favorite white paper examples that you'd like to feature here? Is there any white paper that has awed you? Let us know your choices at [email protected] , and we will make sure it is part of this list.


It's easier than falling off a log.


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You are here: Influencer Marketing Hub » Social Media » 10 Amazing WhitePaper Examples (& Useful Tips To Stand Out)

10 Amazing WhitePaper Examples (& Useful Tips To Stand Out)

Geri Mileva

White papers are highly effective marketing tools when used right. They allow businesses to explain a specific product or service to clients or establish their company as an authority in the industry they serve. 

It is typically published as an official company document and distributed to potential customers, investors, and other stakeholders. Businesses often use white papers to promote their services or products.

They usually include an in-depth analysis of a particular topic and a conclusion that offers  value to target readers. 

Many companies use white papers to attract leads, particularly in industries such as technology or consulting. However, creating a good one can be challenging—particularly if you're not familiar with technical writing.

Learn all about white papers in this guide. It covers 10 white paper examples and tips on how to write one yourself. 

How to Write a White Paper:

1. temenos white paper, 2. zendesk white paper, 3. cognizant white paper, 4. nucleus white paper, 5. bdo white paper, 6. bbn white paper, 7. mdg white paper.

10. Sungard Availability Services White Paper

Frequently asked questions, what is a whitepaper.

A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that helps readers understand a complicated issue and offers recommendations for approaching it. 

Traditionally, white papers were used to educate readers about products and services, but they are now often created as marketing documents intended to persuade potential customers of their value. 

eBook vs. White paper: What is The Difference?

White papers and eBooks are often used interchangeably or in the same context. But a few distinctions exist between the two, and it is important to know which one is appropriate for your business. 

There are many types of eBooks, but the most common ones are used to give an overview of a subject. They use a more casual tone geared toward readers who aren't experts in a field; thus, they're more conversational in style.

White Papers

White papers are best suited for readers who are already familiar with the subject discussed and want to learn more about a specific subtopic. White papers tend to be more accurate, formal, and based on solid analysis.

What Is the Purpose of Writing a White Paper? 

In marketing , a white paper is a short document that describes a new product or idea in-depth. It typically contains detailed information about all aspects of that product, including advantages and potential disadvantages. A white paper can be used as an overall marketing product in numerous situations. 

Using white papers to educate the general public about new goods, services, or procedures is an excellent way for businesses to reach out to them. 

Companies in B2B marketing utilize white papers to share information about their products and services with other firms in the industry. Social media agencies can also use white paper to analyze different content strategies for various demographics. 

Who Uses White Papers?

For many years, government agencies, social media agencies, consulting firms, and financial institutions have used white papers to share ongoing research findings. 

As a result of the sporadic growth of content marketing and social media, white papers have become increasingly common. They can be shared on LinkedIn , Facebook , or even Twitter to direct followers to read more about a report. 

Types of White Papers

There are different types of white papers , but these four are the most common.  

This type of white paper compares different items to assist customers in making an informed decision. When a potential buyer is already interested in a product but doesn't know which one to choose, these white papers are often used as a guide.

This type of white paper presents an in-depth analysis of a product's characteristics and advantages. By reading this white paper, customers may learn more about a product or service.

There are many similarities between this form of white paper and a blog post or an article. The list structure of this white paper makes it simple for a reader to take in information, such as advice or examples.

The solution-based white paper addresses an issue affecting the company's industry, along with current solutions that aren't working and a new solution or approach that outperforms the previously outlined solutions.

How to Write a White Paper (step by step)

how to write a white paper steps

We'll walk you through the steps to generate your white paper for your company in the following sections.

1. Establish objectives

It is essential to have clarity on the purpose of your white paper and ensure that your goals are aligned with the organization's needs.

2. Determine your target readers

This next step involves identifying who your white paper is written for. Knowing and understanding your target readers can help you ensure that your white paper is cohesive and impactful. If you know your audience, you’d be able to establish a focus point that would be relevant and beneficial to them.  

Creating buyer personas might help you pinpoint the precise demographics of your target market. A buyer persona is a typical consumer demographic and psychographic profile that you may use to target your marketing efforts.

3. Choose your topic

Pick a subject that you are familiar with and have vast knowledge about. It's essential to have adequate information and evidence to back up your claims in white papers. In addition, you must choose a topic that would resonate with your audience. 

To get the outcomes you want, you need to make sure your topic is helpful and appealing to your readers. If you're feeling stuck, there are a few things you can do:

4. Conduct research

A white paper should focus on a particular subject to demonstrate an organization's expertise. If you can, perform outstanding research or hire someone to do the work. You can include results from your findings in the white paper. 

Independent sources are mostly reliable when it comes to substantiating your claims. A common practice in white papers is using footnotes or an APA-style citation structure.

5. Mount interviews

The expertise and knowledge of key personnel within an organization and outsiders will probably be required. 

Interviews should be conducted and after you have finished some of your research ., you will be more aware of the specific knowledge gaps you need to bridge.

6. Create a white paper outline and format 

Plan the flow of your white paper and begin crafting a streamlined table of contents. For the most critical parts of your material, use high-level headers and subheadings to break it into different sections further. 

Each part should have a list of ideas and significant elements to address. You will do both internal and external research to support these ideas.

7. Make the first draft

Start with an executive summary, which should be able to immediately catch the reader's attention. It should directly address the reader's problems, fears, or disappointments. This would help establish your paper’s relevance. 

Don't provide the solution in your summary, since you want the reader to continue reading. Because white papers are not marketing brochures, you should concentrate on offering valuable and unbiased information. 

Any reference to a company's product or service should be at the very end of your paper, in a reasonably short part. A brief remark in the executive summary is also an option. A call to action should be included at the end of your white paper as well.

8. Review and revise your draft

Even though a white paper may not necessarily require several revisions, there might be logical flaws and missing points in your initial draft. 

After completing your first draft, take a break and return to it with a fresh perspective. It is even better if you can get the assistance of another talented writer on your team to help out.

9. Substantiate your content

Solidify the value of your white paper by backing up your claims with evidence and legitimate references. 

Use reliable facts, figures, quotations, and other data. You may leverage data visualization techniques like graphs, widgets, maps, charts, etc.

The information you include in your white paper should be cited appropriately. Footnotes and comments, and a concluding section listing sources can all be utilized to cite your sources in the text of your white paper. References should only be cited if they've been confirmed for accuracy and are still valid. 

 10. Ensure that it provides real value

When writing a white paper, avoid promoting your company. Instead, focus on providing your readers with various helpful information . A superb white paper will be shared and eventually read by your target audience.

As a corporation or brand, you should use white papers to demonstrate your knowledge in a particular industry. If you want your readers to trust you as a knowledgeable authority, they need to learn something new from your piece. 

12. Edit and proofread it

A simple typo or excessive words in the headline might ruin your research and writing efforts. To guarantee that their work is error-free, professionals use proofreaders. 

If you can't perform the editing and proofreading alone, ask the help of co-workers or hire a professional. Investing the time and energy is worth making your work stand out.

13. Promote your white paper

It isn't enough to compose the paper; you must also make sure it reaches your target readers. Companies sometimes send press releases to announce the publication of a new white paper. 

If you're already active on LinkedIn or Twitter, these are platforms on which you can discuss and distribute your white papers and reports. 

White Paper Writing Format

Here is the standard writing style format of a white paper.

White paper standard format

A paper's title should attract the reader's attention and show the topic's relevance. Hiring a copywriter who knows the ins and outs of compelling and persuasive headlines may be worth the cost.

A white paper's abstract gives the reader an overview of what they would get from the document. This should spark their curiosity and compel them to read more. 

The white paper's problem statement identifies the subject matter. To ensure that the reader understands the problem, it must be explained in the white paper .

This section provides the background necessary for the audience to comprehend the problem and the solution properly. Information may be modified to meet the individual needs of the reader. For a white paper , it is essential to disclose the methodology utilized in the original study.

The solution of the paper will reveal the answer. This area of the white paper should be evident and apparent that the previous sections have been addressed and solved.

When writing a white paper , include a concluding section that sums up all results. In contrast to most corporate reports, white papers end with a concluding summary. In this part, be sure to provide insight-based suggestions.

A white paper's credibility and trustworthiness heavily depend on its reference section. Do not make any assertions without citing your sources that your readers can opt to verify.

10 Best White Paper Examples 

To help you better understand  how to write a white paper, we’re sharing 10 examples from different organizations in various industries. 

Temenos is a software business that specializes in banking and financial services software. One of its white papers talks about open banking and can be classified as an overview white paper, since it comes with a comprehensive report. Detailed visuals are also used with infographics to represent data.

Temenos White Paper

View the white paper

Zendesk is a corporation based in the U.S.. This company offers software for customer service, sales, and customer communications. Its white paper details customer’s experience in the company using engaging graphics and visuals. 

Zendesk White Paper

Cognizant is a well-respected provider of technology services and consulting in the United States. This white paper explains the future of the IT industry using high quality graphics. 

BDO White Paper

One of the most popular wrap platforms in the industry is Nucleus. Its white paper examines the present, past, and future states of financial planning.

Nucleus White Paper

In this white paper, BDO, the world's largest provider of professional accounting services, managed to transform a technical subject into something that's both fascinating to read and entertaining.

BDO White Paper

BBN, a leading B2B marketing firm, released a white paper that examines the effect and advantages of 5 distinct technologies on marketing outcomes.

BBN White Paper

Mdg has a high bar to meet as a well-known marketing-driven company. With the help of this well-designed white paper, it explains how to use the power of content to build year-round interest.

Mdg White Paper

View the whitepaper

8. Cisco White paper 

When it comes to networking gear, data security services, and other high-tech services and products, Cisco is unmatched. Its white paper on networking is a comprehensive 19-page text about using your competitive edge in marketing. It comes with visuals to match the company’s brand, and its tone is tailored for a specific demographic. 

Cisco White paper

View the white paper here

9. ADP White Paper 

ADP is a major player in the payroll and human resources software and services market. One of its whitepapers talks about dealing with payroll stress for small businesses. Many of its clients are small and medium-sized enterprises that do not have the resources to build up their HR teams to automate payroll. So, this white paper is highly valuable to their target audience. 

ADP White Paper 

In the risk assessment and management industry, Sungard AS is a well-known name to many. That similar authority may be seen in their white paper that talks about planning and developing a business continuity plan. The white paper is divided into four parts and each is discussed in detail. 

Sungard Availability Services White Paper

Tips on How to Write a Good White Paper

You can improve your white paper by following these design guidelines and best practices, no matter what software you use.

Your white paper's title is the first thing people see. Potential readers may not bother to read further if your title does not stand out.

It is possible to spice up a title by including a bold claim, a significant number or wording, a deadline, or a rapidly approaching promise. You can generate many potential titles before testing them. 

If you're producing a white paper, you're writing about a specific topic or discovery, not merely a case study. White papers are increasingly being distributed as interactive e-books, with numerous images, hyperlinks, and even interaction tools, rather than as static PDF files. 

E-books promoting products and services are often shorter, contain bullet points or short overviews of the products/services, and may not follow the white paper's usual  issue-solution-outcome  (ISO) structure.

White papers' primary purpose is to generate and nurture new leads. If it is written correctly, a white paper may build confidence and lead to high-value sales meetings. Build a strong case for your concept by interviewing relevant participants and performing thorough research.

Fear of writing is a common phobia among entrepreneurs. If you want to be perceived as trustworthy by your audience, you need to sound genuine and helpful. So, just write in a friendly, conversational tone. 

There's no need to use lengthy, complicated statements or industry jargon. Hire an editor if you'd want your final copy to be more polished.

It's essential to accompany a well-written white paper with an eye-catching design. Readability is enhanced by including visual aids such as charts, graphics, color, and a clean layout. 

Including relevant graphics may make your white paper more readable and understandable. To increase brand awareness and trust, make sure the design aligns with your corporate identity.

Using white papers , your business can highlight products and services and the advantages they offer to customers. It is not enough to say that your solutions are better than those of your competitors, mainly because everyone in your industry is making the same claim.

So white papers must be legitimate. Whether that data comes from a genuine client project or a study conducted by analysts, your product or service claims must be supported by evidence.

The content of a white paper should be appealing, but it should not be hard-sell or jargon-loaded. The recommended solution should be supported by facts and logic in a white paper. 

Businesses looking to hire marketing agencies look for a well-researched and balanced position supported by facts and data while reading a white paper . Present a well-supported case study to explain how your unique solution may benefit their company and ultimately increase sales. 

You must select a topic that connects with your target audience if you want people to be interested in your content. Bring in readers by speaking to their concerns and challenges, then focus on your solution's positive effects on the reader's professional and personal life. 

You may excite and engage your audience by recounting the story of how you came up with your creative solution.

The more you engage your target audience, the more downloads your white paper gets. The most efficient way to get your white paper in front of your target buyer is to promote it on various platforms. 

You need a well-designed landing page if you want people to download your white paper and provide their contact information. 

If you have circulated your white paper to many people for evaluation, you should still maintain creative control and make sure the paper's main points still stand. 

The higher your capacity to exercise control over the process, the lower your stress level regarding the final output. It is possible to achieve this by placing the white paper on a collaboration site, like Google Docs, and asking for feedback from others. 

Another choice is to send your white paper by email. Every piece of input should be kept in a single location, and the main document should be modified to incorporate any criticism and suggestions. 

Final Thoughts

White papers are excellent tools for establishing a business’s capabilities. With the help of white papers, your marketing efforts can be strengthened while enabling your business to stand as an authority in your industry. 

Customers are more receptive to well-written papers than they are to brazen advertisements. It is not an easy task to write an excellent white paper but the time and effort required to generate a paper that shares your company's expertise and contributes to the advancement of your sector are worthwhile. 

If you follow the tips outlined in this guide, especially crafting a good title and providing value, you will surely gain your readers' attention. 

What are examples of white paper?

Examples of Whitepapers often include charts, graphs, tables, and other ways of visualizing data that go into creating a whitepaper. The term “white papers” originated in England as government-issued documents. One of the most famous examples includes the Churchill White Paper, commissioned by Winston Churchill in 1922.

How do you write a white paper example?

Here’s how to write a whitepaper with easy steps:

What is included in a white paper?

A whitepaper is a heavily researched report on a topic of your choice. The goal of the whitepaper is to present a solution to a problem within the industry. Whitepapers are often written by companies to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of certain topics and whitepapers will include facts and evidence.

What whitepaper means?

A whitepaper is a heavily researched information document on a certain topic. Whitepapers are usually written by companies or not-for-profit organizations to highlight a problem in the industry and propose a problem. They can also be used to present policies and legislation and gauge the public response.

How do you start a white paper?

6 Basic Tips for writing an amazing white paper:

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