The 5 Types of White Paper and When to Use Them

February 18, 2018 at 8:10 AM Leave a comment

A well-written white paper can be a key asset to your marketing strategy and can work as an effective tool for your sales process. But not all white papers are alike, and if you want to use them to their maximum potential, it’s important to choose the right type.

As far as variations and possibilities are concerned, there are many of them, each designed with a target audience in mind and a clear set of marketing goals.

Here are five of the main types of white papers you can choose from, and how and when to use each of them.

Business Benefits White Paper

A business benefits white paper services aims to explain the benefits of buying and using a particular product or service. It can be a useful instrument at any point in the sales cycle as it can help move prospects down the funnel. It is usually written in a non-technical style that readers will find easy to understand and is typically offered either as a call-to-action or through email marketing.

Technology Benefits White Paper

As opposed to the business benefits white paper, the technology benefits one targets a technically-savvy audience that has a bit of knowledge on the subject at hand. This type of white paper is best used in the later stages of a sales cycle, once a reader knows they have a problem 5and is doing research, looking for the best solution.

One of the best ways to go about technology benefits white papers is to offer them through a registration form that allows you to collect your prospects’ contact information.

Hybrid Technology and Business Benefits White Paper

Just as its name implies, this type of white paper combines the first two styles and tries to bring together advantages from both sides. It addresses a broader category of readers without taking one part or the other. As a hybrid, it will include business benefits in a very well-detailed technical style.

Product Comparison White Paper

Also known as a product knowledge paper or product background paper, its focus is to offer an in-depth, detailed presentation of a particular product or service. It is different from the other types presented above because rather than being problem-solving, it is more sales-oriented, aiming to educate readers through factual, technical information. That way, it tries to convince the audience of the product or service’s quality and value, and thus, determine them to buy it.

This type of white paper can be useful in situations where you’ve just launched a new product or service, serving as a formal presentation for the press, business analysts and potential customers. It is best used by a well-regarded business that already has a solid base of customers.

Video and Slide Formatted White Paper

Have you ever thought of putting the content of your white paper in a video or slide format? Think about it – more and more people lack the time or patience to read pages and pages of information. Instead, they prefer videos that can keep them focused and engaged longer or slides that present ideas they can follow more easily. Our attention span has considerably decreased over the years, making it difficult for us to accumulate information.

To make the transition from writing to other formats easier, start by putting the content into an easy-to-digest form. Structure the information, extract the key ideas, and lay them out in a bullet point list. Most video white papers are five to seven minutes long, so you will have to make sure to talk about the essential points in this amount of time. You can even opt for shorter videos that act as a summary of the white paper and provide the audience with a link to the full text in the description or at the end of the video.

If you’re planning on writing a white paper as part of your marketing strategy, make sure you know what your options are. That way you can make an informed, appropriate decision for your business.

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