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

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

Understanding White Paper

A whitepaper is a credible, in-depth, and convincing report that seeks to address a certain issue and provide a solution.

Through the use of facts and proof, businesses may demonstrate their competence to lay readers and gain their trust. To collect leads, many businesses or marketers also require an email address or another type of contact information.

The whitepaper isn't intended to be a product pitch, in contrast to other marketing strategies. It is an informational essay that is produced using thorough research and data to assist readers in resolving their problems.

Benefits of writing a Whitepaper

Making useful content with facts and statistics can assist readers in finding solutions to their issues. The following are the main reasons to strongly consider writing a white paper:

  • Whitepapers are lead generators: By addressing issues in the industry as a whole and incorporating relevant keywords, you may improve your search engine optimization and produce leads.
  • Helps become a thought leader through Whitepapers: You can become an expert in your field and sound like one by reading highly technical literature that gives a practical answer. Writing whitepapers will help you get more individuals to sign up for your newsletter because more and more people want to learn from the best in their fields.
  • Whitepapers give businesses a competitive edge: When you're the only company in your industry producing top-notch whitepapers, you'll instantly gain recognition, which will encourage more customers to make purchases from you.

What is a white paper used for?

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

White papers are sales and marketing materials that are designed to encourage or persuade potential clients to learn more about a specific good, service, technology, or approach.

For business-to-business (B2B) marketing reasons between a manufacturer and a wholesaler or between a wholesaler and a retailer, white papers are frequently created. It can present a comprehensive report or how-to about a particular object or topic and aims to inform its audience.

The information provided in white papers is frequently supported by research and statistics from reputable sources and may include graphs, tables, charts, and other data visualization techniques. A white paper can explain an organization's philosophy or showcase industry-related research findings.

Different Types of Whitepapers

Numbered List

Because numbered lists are simple to understand and help consumers rapidly find the information they need, consumers enjoy reading them.

These whitepapers often target a more laid-back readership and employ numbered points to express the content.

The following are some instances of numbered list whitepaper use cases:

  • Ten Reasons to Outsource Your Booking: Explaining the Benefits of Your Product
  • 11 Ways to Win Your Customers Back, Practical Advice
  • Answering Common Questions: 8 Facebook Ad Mistakes You Make

When to use it?

The numbered list whitepaper is ideal for top-of-funnel leads to assist or develop brand awareness and build trust with your audience because of its straightforward format.


The issue-resolution or problem-solution whitepaper might persuade readers that they require the product you are attempting to sell. This style of whitepaper explains how your product is the best answer by framing the issues.

When to use it?

In the early and intermediate phases of the customer journey, this type is frequently utilized to entice and inform prospects. Nowadays, readers are looking for solutions to their issues since they are already aware of them.

Whitepapers with solutions to problems are good at attracting new leads. That's because people frequently utilize Google to find solutions to their difficulties. More people will visit your website when a well-optimized product-solution whitepaper comes at the top of the search results.


The backgrounder whitepaper describes a product's functionality and setting. A backgrounder whitepaper aids readers in comprehending the product while exhibiting new trends, features, or other facts in the market.

They frequently exhibit the following traits:

  • Explanation of the operation of a certain good or service.
  • Information and research that demonstrate the efficacy of the product.
  • Substantiated statements that show your company is a pioneer in its field.

When to use it?

It works best when applied at the end of the client journey. Potential customers will require precise details about your good or service while comparing a shortlist of options.

A backgrounder whitepaper might comfort someone close to the bottom of the sales funnel, ensuring that your product offering is what they are looking for.

How to create an Effective Whitepaper?

You can now start drafting the whitepaper. Keep in mind that whitepapers include far more information than a typical blog article. Some crucial steps to create an effective whitepaper are as below:


Step 1: Select a Style and Topic

The topic you choose for your whitepaper will greatly impact the outcome. Selecting a subject that seriously interests your target audience will increase the number of leads, insights, and shares.

Additionally, you must create a client profile to aid in determining the difficulties, objectives, and requirements of your audience.

You might ponder:

  • Do I have to describe how my solution solves a problem for a certain audience in order to attract new leads?
  • Do I have to produce a thorough report to guide prospects through the sales funnel?
  • Do potential customers need to understand a complicated feature or a recent trend before making a purchase?

You can choose the type of whitepaper to create and the subject by asking yourself these questions.

Step 2: Conduct Research

Because whitepapers are so technical and instructive, you should do a lot of background research.

This is possible by:

  • Describing a special procedure.
  • Assembling distinct case studies.
  • Conducting a new investigation.
  • Looking for reliable statistics, polls, and academic studies.
  • Studying further works on the subject.

Before starting to write, always do extensive research. To prove your claim and bolster your argument, the research should be from reputable industry sources.

Step 3: Create an Outline

Without a suitable plan, a wordy research paper will confuse readers. Your topic should be presented in an organized, straightforward manner.

Step 4: Create a White Paper

Write the body of your whitepaper report, fleshing out your outline as you go. You should compile your findings and offer readers insightful analysis and useful takeaways.

To avoid your content coming across as propaganda, be sure to write in a fact-based manner. Create subheadings to enable readers who like to skim smaller parts. As you go, cite your sources.

Step 5: Edit and Refine

Allow your draught to sit for a day, and then go through it again with a new set of eyes. To check for good flow and grammatical faults, try reading it aloud. If necessary, get dependable co-workers, editors, and other influential figures in your company to review it.

Step 6: Add Graphics and Design

Increase the visual appeal of your designs to support your content. To help your audience understand your ideas, you should collaborate with a designer to add charts, graphs, tables, and pictures. These visualizations can be easily created using templates and software.

Format of a Whitepaper

You can use the following structure to aid with content organization and make the document simpler to understand:


An outline of the white paper is provided in the introduction. It talks about the key ideas in the paper. Additionally, it aids the clients in determining whether the report's information pertains to them.

Problem Formulation

The problem statement identifies the particular problem clients are experiencing and will be covered in the white paper. The claim must be consistent with the commodity or service. Additionally, it must be stated so the reader can understand it.


The information section, which ties the introduction and problem statement together to discuss the product and its features, is the most crucial part of the paper. With knowledge, there will be a resolution.


Since it describes how the product or service will benefit the reader, the solution section will aid in generating leads for the business. To substantiate the assertions made in the paper, the solutions must be pertinent and supported by data. Both quantitative and qualitative data must be included in this area.


The conclusion summarizes the entire essay and may list the main points to remember.


Provide sources for any claims made so that readers can independently verify them.


Some samples of these documents are all freely accessible on Microsoft's website, and each focuses on a different component of the business's cloud services. These white papers lack a direct sales pitch, in contrast to brochures. Rather, they delve into pertinent subjects like cloud security, hybrid clouds, and the financial advantages of implementing cloud computing. Notable examples include:

  • A toolchain and infrastructure built with AI in mind for any scale.
  • Shifting your mainframe data that is mission-critical to Azure.
  • Hub-and-spoke and mesh networks on Azure.
  • Overview of backup and recovery for Azure users.
  • For new Azure customers, an overview of backup and recovery.

In addition, some examples of white papers with major brands can also be found, such as:

The AI Adoption Framework for Google Cloud

To assist readers in understanding how to implement AI into their businesses, Google released a whitepaper.

This paper presents an authoritative deep dive into AI from a technical perspective. Additionally, they effectively structure the whitepaper by outlining the context and issue before presenting the solution.

Zendesk's Benchmark for Customer Experience

In this whitepaper, Zendesk highlights the trends and learnings from its extensive investigation into customer support.

It works well because it extensively uses data and images to show readers what's popular in customer service and how they compare to others in the field.

Competitive Advantage and Cisco's Networking

The whitepaper from Cisco provides in-depth information on how to use your competitive advantage in marketing. Since it emphasizes the importance of security for businesses using graphics and statistics, it's great for brand awareness.

Distribution of Whitepapers: A Guide

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

The task of compiling and drafting a whitepaper is only half completed. If it is not effectively spread for maximum reach, you will never experience its desired benefits.

Your plan will ultimately depend on which of the several distribution options for your whitepaper makes sense. Consider using a channel like LinkedIn if your target market is B2B executives.

No matter who your target audience is, the following ten recommendations will help you plan the dissemination of your whitepaper:

  • Create landing pages and use content marketing or advertising to direct visitors there.
  • On your website's relevant pages, add pop-ups.
  • Your blog postings should contain internal links.
  • The whitepaper should be included in your email newsletters.
  • Your email signature may also include the whitepaper.
  • Share it on your social media platforms.
  • Post it on groups for your industry.
  • Repost a piece of it on social media.
  • Run advertisements for your whitepaper.
  • Guest posts on relevant blogs.

Avoid these mistakes when writing a Whitepaper

To make educated purchasing decisions, B2B buyers read whitepapers. Unfortunately, many of them are uninteresting sales pitches. When composing your whitepaper, avoid making the following errors:

  • Whitepapers to Sell: A whitepaper aims to inform readers about the issue and the solution. Don't try to sell your goods to them through it.
  • Weak structure: Clearly define your organization with a straightforward format. Because of this, the whitepaper is simple to read and comprehend.
  • Unplanned Distribution: Drafting your white paper is just as important as getting it in front of the right audience. So, plan its distribution accordingly.

Address your customer's largest problems, as they will significantly influence their future.

  • Unrelated to the Buyer's Journey: Make sure your whitepaper responds to inquiries from clients at particular points in the client journey.

Whitepaper Promotion Techniques

A whitepaper is one of the best ways for online content marketing to attract the attention of potential customers. Here are some ideas and tactics for promoting whitepapers to encourage more downloads:

Make a High Converting Landing Page

Your landing page needs to justify why visitors should submit their contact information and click the download button.

Discuss the benefits of your whitepaper to make them eager to receive a copy. For instance, 'Human Made' produced a white paper showcasing the advantages of WordPress's Gutenberg editor.

Have a Banner or Pop-up on each of your Blog Posts

There should be a banner or unobtrusive pop-up when readers land on your blog that directs them to your whitepaper.

This improves consumer experience and directs your audience to the desired location.

Google Ads

Your whitepaper probably contains a lot of keywords. Because you may pay to have your landing page appear on the search engine's front page, pay-per-click Google advertising is also effective.

Promotion on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has sophisticated targeting options that let you display your advertising in front of the appropriate demographic. You can, for example, focus on a certain job function, business size, area, title, and much more.

The Bottom Line

Although they are frequently underused, whitepapers are one of the best resources for your company's content marketing plan.

You can write a section of your whitepaper for each marketing funnel stage once you've decided on its objectives.

Whitepapers may be a core content component to establishing credibility and creating new leads for your company, whether you're trying to pique clients' interest with a simply consumable list or explain the highly technical merits of your product.

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