When white papers might be a good next step for your freelance business

27.12.2017

White papers for businesses can be a lucrative option for freelance writers and people with specific knowledge on a certain topic who like to write. If you like researching something for a long time and putting your insight together in an organized, professional manner, writing white papers is definitely something you should consider.



In this article, we’ll talk about what white papers actually are. We’ll also be looking at the most useful skills for writing them. And last but not least, we’ll give you a step-by-step overview on what the process of creating white papers looks like.

What is a white paper?

White papers, as business tools, are a document that informs, presents an issue and presents a specific solution to it. That document is also a marketing tool – it is often used to sell the solution to the presented problem. White papers analyze a topic in-depth and can take several weeks to write. They are often written in a technical, sometimes even scientific style. And last but not least, white papers can be a very good source of revenue for freelancers with the right kind of knowledge. The same applies with writing an e-book!

4 skills that will help you write white papers:

1. Expertise in the paper’s field

First and foremost, writing convincing and thought-out white papers requires good knowledge about a certain field. Of course, you are going to be researching the given topic a lot and thus, learning new things. But having prior knowledge determines where you start with that topic.

If you haven’t worked in IT or touched the market at all, writing a white paper about a phenomenon in the industry is not viable. It might be possible, but it will take so much time that it probably won’t be worth it financially.

2. Good structured writing style

Secondly, white papers are about convincing your readers. And that is achieved with two things – the first thing is a good argument. And the second is its structure. A white paper has to be written clearly and in a way that entices the audience to continue reading. Having worked as a freelance writer for a decent amount of time is a great starting point for going into white papers.

3. Willingness to dig in into a topic

Of course, there are some differences between writing blog posts and white papers. One of the most obvious ones is the length. While blog posts will rarely exceed a couple of pages, white papers are generally anywhere between ten and twenty pages long. To write something that long, you will need patience and mental endurance. As a freelance writer, you might find working on a single text for a prolonged time frustrating at first, but much more satisfying at the end. So try it out!

4. Academic background

An academic background can provide all of the three skills listed above – in many university subjects writing long, structured and in-depth pieces is a standard procedure. If you have been through something like that, you will have a natural advantage as a white paper writer. You are used to the process and have knowledge, whether conscious or subconscious, that will definitely help you along the way. Academic background is not a must-have to write white papers, but it will definitely give you a boost!

Writing a white paper: The 3 main steps

1. Do in-depth, objective research

Every single white paper shares the same first step – research. This is not only the starting point, it is also often the most important point. Don’t go about just looking for things that support your preconceived opinion. A white paper should aim to be objective to a certain extent – if you are too biased, you won’t be convincing anyone.

2. Provide facts and examples

Don’t forget that white papers are not only there to convince someone, there are also there as a source of information. And they should be as descriptive and concrete as possible. Keep in mind that your audience hasn’t done the amount of research you have – give them examples and help them understand what you really mean. With every line you write, try to think whether or not it is understandable from an outside perspective.

3. Present your arguments, but don’t hide their weaknesses

Finally, tell people the argument of why your solution is the better one. These should be clearly derived from the information you provided in the paper. And they should also be honest. If you can think of any obvious counter-arguments to what you’re writing, don’t exclude them. Address them and show your audience why your arguments still stand strong. The best way to deal with criticism is tackling it before it arises.

Have you written any white papers? Are you considering it? Share your thoughts in the topic in the comment section below this article!

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