!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Guidance on Producing White Papers

Monday, December 08, 2008

Guidance on Producing White Papers

Among the how-to articles at BNET.com I've browsed, one that I'd particularly recommend covers the ins and outs of "Producing White Papers."

Credited to BNET's editorial staff, the article defines "business white papers" — they "provide information that enables readers to evaluate products, services, or technologies" — and then walks you through these guidelines for putting a white paper together:
  • Understand user needs.

  • Choose the appropriate type of white paper (e.g., technology guide, position paper explaining a trend or technology, guide to the business benefits of a product or service, etc.).

  • Set an objective (e.g., educating potential customers, moving toward thought leadership by sharing valuable expertise, etc.).

  • Provide reliable information that is relevant to the reader.

  • Write at the appropriate technical level.

  • Assure professional quality writing by bringing in an editor, if necessary.

  • Structure the white paper carefully (e.g., choose an informative title, open with an overview, etc.).

  • Make the white paper visually interesting.

  • Make it easy to access the white paper.

  • Market your white paper. (But don't make your white paper too much in the way of a marketing piece. The paper should clearly be educational, and it should be written in a neutral tone.)
An example dealing with HR outsourcing that fits the above guidelines well is here (PDF, reg req).


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