By Cecilia Sepp
When it comes to writing white papers, there are three key areas that need attention in order to obtain the results that you want!
- Have a Clear Plan
- Maintain Objectivity
Have A Clear Plan
It is important to know why you are writing a white paper in the first place. Are you investigating an unknown area? Answering a new question? Or, are you confirming a hypothesis? Knowing what you are looking for is not “stacking the deck” – what it does is formulate your research plan.
All too often, organizations push out white papers because management wants to keep up with the trend. Or perhaps a competitor has recently published a paper and your organization doesn’t want to be left behind.
When it comes to white papers, the bottom line is that they help people to make decisions. Make sure that you’re giving readers something of value that will help them to make sound business decisions.
The second point – which is harder to maintain – is objectivity.
While an insider to the organization can set aside his preconceived notions about organization-related issues, it is very difficult not to have the outcome colored by his internal experiences, relationships, and views.
Working with an outside writer/researcher can bring you that new set of eyes that will help you see something that you might be missing.
The third point is application! White papers are great tools for promoting policy positions, creating a positive image of a company in the eyes of its audience, or laying plans for an organization’s future. But if the reader does not apply what she learned or the writer promote the policy she developed, then it is merely a writing exercise.
The organization that writes a white paper should take the lead in implementing it by sharing information or using it to educate clients and offering a clear call to action. White papers provide organizations the opportunity to take the thought-leadership position in an industry.
Take that work and use it to benefit your organization!
Cecilia Sepp is a consultant & writer with CS Association Services, a consultancy assisting nonprofits with communication, volunteer management, component relations, and research. Visit www.ceciliasepp.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org.