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Writing a White Paper (Format, Tips, Examples & Templates)

Get white paper examples by leading companies. Learn how to write & format a white paper for business and marketing. Create, write & design white papers A-Z.

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Short answer

What is the best white paper format?

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Introduction
  3. Problem Statement
  4. Solution Overview
  5. Benefits and Advantages
  6. Case Studies or Examples
  7. Technical Details or Methodology
  8. Conclusion
  9. Recommendations
  10. References or Sources

What makes an effective business white paper?

An effective business white paper format is concise, well-researched, and addresses a specific audience's pain points. It offers actionable solutions, incorporates compelling visuals, and establishes the author's authority on the subject.

Key considerations when creating a business white paper

  1. Audience Understanding: Know your target audience's needs and preferences.

  2. Clear Objective: Define the purpose of the white paper.

  3. Visual Appeal: Incorporate relevant charts, graphs, and images.

  4. Credibility: Cite reliable sources and provide evidence.

  5. Engaging Narrative: Craft a compelling story in content and design that guides the reader.

How to write a white paper (step-by-step guide)

Writing a white paper is no small feat. It requires research, understanding, and a knack for presenting information engagingly.

But with the right approach, your white paper can position your brand as an industry leader, driving leads and fostering trust. Remember, it's all about offering value and meeting the needs of your audience.

Step 1: Grasp the white paper's core

  • Recognize that a white paper is more than just a long article. It's a detailed report on a specific topic, designed to educate and address issues.

  • Understand its origins from government documents and its evolution into a tool for thought leadership.

Step 2: Define your target audience

  • Identify who you're writing for: industry professionals, novices, or another group.

  • Tailor your language, tone, and content depth to their needs and interests.

Step 3: Prioritize value over promotion

  • Keep the content educational and avoid overtly promotional language.

  • Aim to establish trust and position your brand as a reliable information source.

Step 4: Embrace the drafting process

  • Don't aim for perfection in the first go.

  • Write multiple drafts, take breaks, and seek feedback for refinement.

Step 5: Build your content around a narrative (not facts)

  • Use storytelling techniques to maintain reader interest.

  • Introduce problems, provide solutions, and share success stories for context.

Step 6: Dodge common mistakes

  • Avoid a salesy tone; keep it educational.

  • Base your content on thorough research.

  • Invest in good design for readability and engagement.

  • Ground your content in real-world examples and actionable insights.

Step 7: pay attention to format and design

  • Use design elements to highlight key information when formatting your white paper.

  • Stay updated with design trends, but ensure they align with your topic and audience.

Step 8: conclude and review

  • Summarize the main points and insights.

  • Review the entire content for coherence, clarity, and value.

16 impactful white paper examples for business and marketing

Discover exemplary business white paper formats from industry leaders to refine your approach. Draw inspiration from best practices and elevate your corporate documentation standards, and learn est practicess based on our in-depth analysis of each example.

Microsoft white paper

The white paper from MSA discusses the future of operational development, emphasizing changes in the operational landscape. It targets professionals in the operational and business development sectors.

Good Points:

  1. Forward-Looking: The document does an excellent job of forecasting future trends and aligning them with current industry practices, making it highly valuable for strategic planning.

  2. Cohesive Structure: The white paper is organized logically, allowing for easy navigation and comprehension of the content.

  3. Inclusion of Data: The use of data, charts, and figures strengthens the arguments and offers readers empirical evidence to support the presented information.

  4. Engaging Imagery: The inclusion of relevant images and diagrams aids in visualizing the concepts discussed. The visuals are not only explanatory but also break the monotony of continuous text, making the reading experience more engaging.

Bad Points:

  1. Generalized Statements: At times, the document can be a bit broad in its statements, lacking specific details that might be beneficial to the reader.

  2. Heavy Text: The document leans heavily on text, with fewer visual elements like charts or infographics, which might make it denser for some readers.

  3. Lack of Actionable Insights: While the paper provides a broad overview of the future landscape, it could benefit from more actionable recommendations for businesses to apply immediately.

  4. Lack of Summaries: While the content is well-structured, there's a missing element of concise summaries or key takeaways at the end of major sections. Providing these could aid readers in recapping the essential points discussed.

  5. Missing Call to Action: The document provides valuable information but lacks a clear call to action, guiding the reader on the next steps or how to further engage with the topic or the organization.

Google Cloud white paper

Google Cloud's white paper emphasizes its commitment to privacy in Generative AI. Targeted at enterprise customers, it belongs to the cloud computing and artificial intelligence industry.

Google short technical white paper

Good Points:

  1. Detailed Explanations: The document provides thorough explanations of how user data is treated, ensuring transparency.

  2. Relevance to Current Trends: Addressing privacy in AI is timely and crucial, making this paper highly relevant to current industry concerns.

Bad Points:

  1. Repetitiveness: Some points, especially around data ownership and privacy, are reiterated multiple times, which might make the content feel redundant.

  2. Lack of Practical Examples: While the commitments are clear, real-world examples or case studies would help readers understand the practical implications better.

  3. Visual Enhancements: While the design is clear, it could benefit from more engaging visuals or infographics to highlight key points or statistics, adding an extra layer of engagement.

  4. Interactive Elements: Given the digital nature of the topic and the platform (Google Cloud), the integration of interactive elements or links to online demos, tutorials, or related resources could further enrich the reader's experience.

Amazon AWS white paper

This document from AWS provides a framework for designing and operating machine learning workloads using best practices. It's intended for solution architects and ML practitioners in the tech industry.

AWS Whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Depth and Breadth: AWS dives deep into each of the five pillars of the Well-Architected Framework. It provides thorough explanations, ensuring that readers understand each concept.

  2. Use of Case Studies: Real-world examples and case studies are included, which offer readers practical insights and relatable scenarios.

  3. Relevance: The document clearly understands its target audience. By providing specific AWS service recommendations for different ML scenarios, it offers actionable insights.

Good Points:

  1. Technical Jargon: While it's aimed at professionals, the language can sometimes be overly technical, which might make it less accessible to newcomers.

  2. Length: The document is quite lengthy. While it covers a lot, it might be overwhelming for some readers, especially those looking for quick solutions.

  3. Assumed Prior Knowledge: The document sometimes assumes the reader has prior knowledge of AWS services, which might not always be the case.

  4. Engaging Design Elements: While the document is informative, it could benefit from more design elements, such as infographics or pull quotes, to break up the monotony and highlight key points.

Apple white paper

This document by Apple introduces ProRes RAW, a new video codec, detailing its features and benefits. It's crafted for video professionals, filmmakers, and content creators in the multimedia sector.

Apple Whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Technical Mastery: Apple showcases its technical prowess, diving deep into the intricacies of the codec, which will be appreciated by professionals in the field.

  2. Benefits Highlighted: The document effectively underscores the advantages of using ProRes RAW, making it clear why it stands out from other codecs.

  3. Practical Use Cases: Apple includes scenarios and cases where ProRes RAW can be best utilized, providing context and clarity to readers.

Bad Points:

  1. Assumed Knowledge: The white paper assumes a certain level of technical expertise from the reader. While this is okay for its target audience, it might alienate novices.

  2. Limited Comparisons: Although the document does a great job explaining ProRes RAW, it could benefit from direct comparisons with other existing codecs.

  3. Dense Terminology: There's a heavy use of technical jargon without sufficient explanations, which could be challenging for those not deeply versed in video codecs.

  4. Lack of Interactive Elements: Given the brand and the nature of the topic, incorporating interactive elements like QR codes leading to video demonstrations or tutorials could have added significant value.

  5. Missing Call to Action: While the document provides a plethora of information, it doesn't guide the reader on the next steps, whether that's purchasing a product, joining a workshop, or any other related action.

IBM white paper

Market Connections' white paper focuses on enhancing data utility and management. It caters to business leaders, data analysts, and professionals in the data-driven decision-making realm.

IBM research whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Engaging Visual Design: The document uses a vibrant color palette, dynamic shapes, and appealing graphics, which make the content pop. This design approach draws the reader in and keeps them engaged.

  2. Relevance to Current Trends: In today's data-centric world, the paper's focus on supercharging data is timely and resonates with the needs of modern businesses.

  3. Concrete Recommendations: The document provides specific strategies and tools for improving data utility, making it actionable for readers.

  4. Case Studies & Testimonials: The inclusion of real-world examples and testimonials lends credibility and offers a practical perspective on the discussed topics.

Bad Points:

  1. Lack of Technical Depth: While the paper is informative, it doesn't delve deep into the technical aspects of data management, which might leave some tech-savvy readers wanting more.

  2. Generic Advice: Some sections offer generalized advice that can be found in many other resources, making them less unique.

  3. Potential Bias: The paper occasionally comes across as promotional for Market Connections' services, which might detract from its objectivity.

Oracle White Paper

This document from Oracle delves into the integration of Oracle Content and Experience with Oracle WebCenter Portal. Targeted at IT professionals, it belongs to the tech and software industry.

Oracle corporate whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Clear Structure: The paper is well-organized with distinct sections, making it easy for readers to navigate and find specific information.

  2. Visual Aids: The use of diagrams and flowcharts helps in understanding complex processes and integrations.

  3. Technical Depth: The paper provides in-depth technical details, ensuring that IT professionals can grasp the intricacies of the integration.

Bad Points:

  1. Jargon-Heavy: While it's intended for IT professionals, the heavy use of jargon might alienate readers who are not deeply familiar with Oracle's suite of products.

  2. Lack of Real-World Examples: The paper could benefit from real-world use cases to illustrate the benefits of the integration.

  3. Aesthetic Appeal: The design is quite basic, and a more modern and engaging layout might make the content more appealing to a wider audience.

SAP white paper

SAP's white paper delves into digital manufacturing within regulated environments, emphasizing quality and compliance. It's designed for manufacturing professionals, quality assurance teams, and regulatory compliance officers.

SAP whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Industry-Specific Insights: SAP offers valuable insights tailored to regulated manufacturing environments, ensuring the content is highly relevant to its target audience.

  2. Holistic View: The document covers a wide range of topics, from digital transformation to compliance challenges, offering a comprehensive overview.

  3. Expertise on Display: SAP's deep industry knowledge is evident, lending credibility to the information and recommendations provided.

Bad Points:

  1. Complexity: The document, at times, delves into intricate details which, while valuable, might make it challenging for readers unfamiliar with the topic.

  2. Promotional Tone: There's a noticeable push towards SAP's solutions, which, while understandable, might come off as less objective to some readers.

  3. Lack of Practical Examples: While the paper is rich in information, it could benefit from more real-world examples or case studies to illustrate the discussed concepts.

  4. Lack of Visual Summaries: While the document is rich in content, it misses out on visual summaries (like infographics) that can quickly convey complex information. Given the technical nature of the topic, such visuals would be beneficial for comprehension.

Pfizer white paper

This white paper by Pfizer delves into the significance of community engagement in diversifying clinical trials, particularly focusing on the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine trial.

It aims to address the healthcare disparities highlighted by the pandemic and the urgent need for diverse representation in clinical trials.

The target audience includes healthcare professionals, researchers, and policymakers in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Pfizer research whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Comprehensive Structure: The document is well-structured with clear headings, subheadings, and a table of contents, making it easy for readers to navigate and understand the content.

  2. Relevant Data and Citations: The white paper provides relevant statistics, data, and references to support its claims, enhancing its credibility.

  3. Clear Objective: The paper's goal is evident from the beginning, ensuring that readers understand its purpose and the importance of the topic.

Bad Points:

  1. Lengthy Content: Some sections are quite detailed, which might be overwhelming for readers looking for quick insights.

  2. Lack of Visuals: The document could benefit from more graphs, charts, or infographics to break the monotony and present data in a more engaging manner.

  3. Repetitive Emphasis: While the importance of diversity in clinical trials is a crucial topic, the paper occasionally reiterates the same points, which could be condensed for brevity.

AT&T white paper

This white paper delves into the importance of mobility in the modern collaboration era. It's intended for business leaders, IT professionals, and teams looking to enhance collaborative efforts in the digital age.

AT&T company whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Well-Structured: The document is organized in a logical manner, with clear sections and subheadings, facilitating easy navigation.

  2. Actionable Advice: It provides concrete strategies and recommendations on enhancing mobility for collaboration, ensuring readers can take immediate action.

Bad Points:

  1. Potential Overemphasis: While mobility is essential, the document occasionally seems to overstate its importance, which might come across as a bit unbalanced.

  2. Lack of Diverse Case Studies: While there are some examples, the paper could benefit from a broader range of case studies across different industries.

  3. Assumed Context: The paper sometimes assumes readers are fully aware of the current collaboration landscape, which might not be true for everyone.

Tesla white paper

Dell Technologies' ESG report showcases their commitment to driving human progress through sustainable technology, emphasizing their efforts in advancing sustainability, cultivating inclusion, transforming lives, and upholding trust.

Tesla whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Highly Specialized Content: The paper zeroes in on a niche topic within the energy sector, providing deep insights that are valuable to a specific audience.

  2. Clear Explanations: Complex concepts related to net billing tariffs are broken down and explained in a comprehensible manner.

  3. Data-Driven Arguments: The use of charts, figures, and empirical data adds weight to the points being made and supports the document's claims.

Bad Points:

  1. Narrow Focus: While the specialized content is a strength, it also means the paper might be too narrow for a general audience or those looking for a broader overview of the energy sector.

  2. Stylized Language: At times, the document uses language that's a bit too stylized or technical, which might make it less accessible to some readers.

  3. Potential Bias: The paper seems to advocate for specific tariff structures, which might come off as less objective to some reader mmunities.

CitiBank white paper

This white paper delves into the transformation and disruption in financial market infrastructures, focusing on the evolution of securities services. Intended for financial professionals and industry leaders, it belongs to the banking and financial services sector.

Citi whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Comprehensive Coverage: The document provides a holistic view of the securities services landscape, touching upon various aspects like settlement transformation, digital assets, and the role of Central Securities Depositories (CSDs).

  2. Data-Driven Insights: The paper is backed by quantitative data, with surveys involving 483 individuals globally, offering credibility to its findings.

Bad Points:

  1. Complex Jargon: The document uses industry-specific terms that might be challenging for readers unfamiliar with the financial sector.

  2. Lengthy: While comprehensive, its extensive coverage might be overwhelming for someone looking for quick insights.

  3. Lack of Visual Aids: More charts, graphs, or infographics could have made the data more digestible and engaging.

General Electric white paper

GE's white paper discusses the evolving landscape of global power markets. Intended for energy industry decision-makers. The document provides a holistic view of the energy market, touching on various aspects from production to consumption

General Electric whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Comprehensive Overview: The document provides an in-depth exploration of power markets, encompassing historical data, current trends, and future projections. This thorough approach offers readers a holistic perspective on the subject.

  2. Effective Data Visualization: The use of charts, graphs, and tables is commendable. They present intricate data in a digestible format, allowing readers to quickly grasp key trends and insights.

  3. Segmented Content Approach: The content is divided into distinct sections, each addressing specific facets of power markets. This segmentation aids in navigation and allows readers to delve into areas of specific interest.

Bad Points:

  1. Dense Text: Some sections are text-heavy, which might be overwhelming for some readers. Breaking up the content with more visuals or bullet points could improve readability.

  2. Design Uniformity: While the document is rich in content, there's room for improvement in terms of design consistency, particularly in the color schemes and visual elements used.

  3. Static Design: Given the technical and extensive nature of the topic, integrating interactive elements or links to supplementary multimedia resources could enhance the reader's engagement and understanding.

  4. Clarification of Technical Aspects: The document occasionally uses industry-specific terms and concepts. Including a glossary or providing side notes with explanations would ensure accessibility for readers not deeply familiar with power markets.

ExxonMobil white paper

A comprehensive exploration of ExxonMobil's commitment to the energy transition, focusing on innovative solutions for lower-emission marine fuels. Targeted at stakeholders in the marine industry and those invested in sustainable energy solutions.

ExxonMobil whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Relevant Data: The white paper provides specific data points, such as projected energy consumption and emission reduction targets, which lend credibility to the content.

  2. Engaging Visuals: While I couldn't directly view the visuals, the structure suggests the inclusion of charts or images, which can help break up the text and provide visual context.

Bad Points:

  1. Lengthy Content: Some sections could benefit from concise writing to ensure the reader remains engaged throughout.

  2. Call to Action: While the document provides valuable information, it could benefit from a clearer call to action, guiding readers on the next steps or how to get involved.

World Economic Forum (WEF) white paper

The World Economic Forum's white paper delves into the emerging concept of the industrial metaverse. It's crafted for industry leaders, technologists, and policymakers keen on understanding the future intersection of industry and virtual realms.

World Economic Forum (WEF) whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Cutting-Edge Topic: The WEF addresses a novel and emerging trend, making the paper a valuable resource for those looking to stay ahead in the tech and industrial sectors.

  2. Expert Contributions: The document includes insights from industry experts and thought leaders, lending credibility and depth to the content.

  3. Global Perspective: As expected from the WEF, the paper provides a global view, considering the implications and developments of the industrial metaverse across different regions and cultures.

  4. Infographics and Visual Aids: The use of charts, graphs, and other visual aids complements the text and provides a break from long passages. This not only makes the content more engaging but also aids in quicker comprehension of complex data.

Bad Points:

  1. Conceptual Density: The topic, being new, is also complex. The paper sometimes delves into highly conceptual discussions which might be challenging for some readers.

  2. Potential Overhype: While the industrial metaverse is undoubtedly exciting, the paper occasionally might come across as too optimistic, without sufficiently addressing potential pitfalls or challenges.

  3. Lack of Practical Guidance: The document is rich in forecasting and analysis but could benefit from more actionable insights or steps for businesses to start their metaverse journey.

  4. Lack of Interactive Elements: For a topic like the metaverse, which is inherently interactive and dynamic, the inclusion of QR codes or links to interactive demos, videos, or web pages might have enhanced the reader's experience.

Siemens white paper

Siemens explores the transformation towards smart manufacturing, emphasizing the integration of digital and physical realms. Aimed at manufacturers, it belongs to the industrial automation and digitalization sector.

Siemens whitepaper

Good Points:

  1. Holistic Approach: The paper offers a comprehensive view of the smart manufacturing journey, from challenges to outcomes, ensuring readers get a full picture.

  2. Use of Models: The introduction of concepts like the Digital OODA Loop provides readers with actionable frameworks to apply in their operations.

  3. Human-Centric Focus: Beyond just machinery and processes, the paper emphasizes the importance of human-centric outcomes, highlighting the balance between technology and worker well-being.

Bad Points:

  1. Assumed Familiarity: The paper dives deep into specific Siemens solutions without always providing sufficient background, which might be challenging for those unfamiliar with Siemens' offerings.

  2. Limited External Perspectives: The paper heavily focuses on Siemens' solutions. Incorporating third-party testimonials or case studies might have added more credibility and a broader perspective.

Verizon white paper

This white paper emphasizes the importance of network resilience in the face of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Targeted at C-level executives, it belongs to the telecommunications and cybersecurity industry.

Verizon whitepaper

Verizon thought-leadership white paper

Good Points:

  1. Practical Recommendations: The document offers actionable steps for C-level leaders to enhance network resilience, making it a hands-on guide.

  2. Relevance to Current Threat Landscape: By focusing on DDoS attacks, which are prevalent today, the paper addresses a pressing concern for many businesses.

Bad Points:

  1. Promotional Content: The inclusion of Verizon's own solution (DDoS Shield) might come off as promotional, potentially detracting from the paper's objective tone.

  2. Lack of Case Studies: Real-world examples or case studies could have added more weight to the paper's arguments and made it more relatable.

How to design a white paper for engagement

White papers are essential tools for businesses, especially in the B2B sector, to establish authority, inform potential customers, and influence their decisions.

But beyond the content, the design of a white paper plays a pivotal role in capturing the reader's attention and ensuring the message is effectively conveyed.

Best practices for white paper design

  • Readability is Key: Ensure that the text is easy to read. Use short paragraphs, bullet points, and subheadings to break up the content. The choice of font and its size also plays a crucial role in readability.

  • White Space: Don't clutter the design. Proper use of white space can make the content more breathable and aesthetically pleasing.

  • Mobile Optimization: With many users accessing content on mobile devices, ensure that your white paper design is responsive and looks good on all screen sizes.

Interactive white paper design

  1. Engage with Multimedia: Modern digital platforms allow for the integration of videos, GIFs, and animations in white papers. These multimedia elements can make the content more dynamic and engaging.

  2. Clickable Elements: Incorporate hyperlinks, clickable infographics, and call-to-action buttons. This not only provides additional resources to the reader but also encourages them to explore related content or take desired actions.

  3. Feedback Loops: Allow readers to leave comments, ask questions, or even participate in polls within the white paper. This interactivity can provide valuable insights into what your audience thinks and feels about the content.

Here is what a static white paper looks like compared with an interactive white paper:

Static PDF or PPT
Interactive Storydoc

Designing White Papers for Storytelling

  1. Narrative Flow: Just like a compelling story, a white paper should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Start with an introduction that outlines the problem or challenge, delve into the details in the main content, and conclude with a solution or call to action.

  2. Visual Elements: Use graphics, charts, and images to break the monotony of text and illustrate complex ideas. These visual elements not only make the content more engaging but also help in explaining intricate concepts in a digestible manner.

  3. Consistent Branding: While the white paper should be informative, it's also an opportunity to subtly reinforce your brand. Use consistent colors, fonts, and logos that align with your brand identity.

Here's an example of storytelling white paper design:

Business white paper interactive storytelling templates

With traditional PowerPoint slides, your content may blend into the crowd. Storydoc's interactive white paper templates elevate your content, making it dynamic and memorable.

Unlike static slides, Storydoc's animated, annotated, and narrated templates engage readers, making them twice as captivating as standard reports.

Moreover, they're cost-effective and let you quickly produce your white paper.

Grab one!

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Hadar Peretz

I am a Marketing Specialist at Storydoc, I research, analyze and write on our core topics of business presentations, sales, and fundraising. I love talking to clients about their successes and failures so I can get a rounded understanding of their world.

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