What are white papers?
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide that often addresses issues and how to solve them. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions. (Wikipedia)
Systems and software products often embody unique concepts, approaches and technologies that prospective users may not know or fully understand. Many companies use white papers to explain these unique characteristics and how they can deliver value to the user.
Other companies may use white papers to demonstrate their experience, competence and understanding of the industry and the challenges that companies in that field are faced with. Sometimes called a position paper, these thought leadership pieces are basically the same as white papers, but are often shorter in length.
Either way, white papers make great lead-generation premiums to be used as an incentive for prospects to sign up for and attend webinars or simply to provide their contact information. One white paper that I wrote more than 5 years ago is still being offered today as a reward for webinar attendance.
Some marketing experts feel that companies with real products to sell can and should give something away to generate good will, awareness, and credibility. White papers are considered to be valuable and cost-effective ‘gifts’ for prospective clients.
White paper or position paper content can be an expansion of your thoughts or ideas, original research, or simply a detailed description of your product’s use and value (done as education, not sales).
Turn-around time for generating a white paper is usually just two to four weeks including several reviews or approval steps. The process starts with a phone interview and/or passing of notes or an outline to let the writer know what you have in mind. A first draft is generated and submitted for review. After the comments and suggestions from the review are sent back, Dave will finish the second (and usually final) draft.
The deliverable is a text file or Microsoft Word file with optional illustration suggestions or sketches. Typical length is 8 to 12 pages formatted or 2,500 to 4,000 words. Final formatting and printing are up to you. White papers can carry Dave’s byline, the name of a designated person in your organization (president or head of development, for example), or no attribution.
Position Papers (thought leadership pieces) follow basically the same process, but are typically shorter in length. Position papers usually require an extended phone conversation (up to an hour or more) with the thought leader and may involve additional research.
All papers are priced on a project basis (fixed price), based on the writer’s estimate of time and effort required for research and writing. All papers are “works for hire” and are the property of the purchaser.
Dave has written dozens of papers on various topics, and here are just a few. Contact Dave for more information or to discuss your needs.
The Future of the Customer Experience (Consona)
Seven Keys to World Class Manufacturing (Infor-XA)
Five Ways ERP Can Help You Implement Lean (Epicor)
Lean Manufacturing in a Make-To-Order Environment (Infor-Lilly)
Advanced Planning for Mid-sized Companies (i2)