White Paper: What Everyone Should Know

What Is a White Paper and Why Do You Need One?

When a company or non-profit organization issues a white paper, it is also referred to as a “whitepaper,” it is a piece of informational documentation intended to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product, or service that the organization offers or plans to offer. White papers are also used to present government policies and legislation to the public and to gauge public reaction to those policies and legislation.

The Most Important Takeaways

  • In order to promote a specific product, service, technology, or methodology, as well as to influence the decisions of current and prospective customers or investors, a white paper is written.
  • White papers, in contrast to brochures and other marketing materials, are intended to provide persuasive and factual/technical evidence that a particular offering is a superior method of solving a problem or challenge.
  • White papers are typically at least 2,500 words in length and written in an academic style, according to industry standards.

The Fundamentals of a White Paper

It is common practice to write white papers as sales and marketing documents, in order to entice or persuade potential customers to learn more about or purchase a specific product, service, technology, or methodology. In contrast to a user manual or other technical document that is developed to provide support to the user after a purchase, they are intended for use as a marketing tool prior to a purchase.

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Many white papers are intended for use in business-to-business (B2B) marketing, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler or between a wholesaler and a retailer, among other situations. This document is used to inform and persuade the other company that a specific offering, such as a product or technology, is superior for solving a specific business problem or addressing a specific challenge. It is written in the third person.

When it comes to B2B marketing, there are three types of white papers to choose from: backgrounders, which explain the technical features of an offering; numbered lists, which highlight important tips or points about an offering; and problem/solution white papers, which introduce an improved solution to a common business or technical challenge. Backgrounders are used to explain the technical features of a particular offering.

A white paper is distinct from other forms of marketing communication, such as brochures. White papers, in contrast to brochures and other marketing materials, are intended to provide persuasive and factual evidence that a particular offering is a superior method of approaching or solving the problem or challenge at hand. While brochures and other marketing materials may be flashy and include obvious sales pitches, white papers are intended to provide persuasive and factual evidence that a particular offering is a superior method of approaching or solving the problem or challenge at hand. For the most part, white papers are at least 2,500 words long and are written in a formally formalized academic style.

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White papers can also be technical documents that provide in-depth explanations of a new invention or product introduction.

Exemplifications of White Papers

The following are all white papers for Microsoft Azure, and they are listed in alphabetical order:

  • IT Organizations’ Guide to Getting Started with Azure
  • On Azure, you can create mesh and hub-and-spoke networks.
  • Azure users should be aware of the basics of backup and recovery.

A brief overview of backup and recovery for users who are new to Azure Cloud Skills and Organization Influence

All of these documents, which are all freely available on Microsoft’s website, are devoted to various aspects of the Microsoft Azure cloud computing services. These white papers, in contrast to brochures, do not contain a clear sales pitch to the reader. The authors instead investigate pertinent topics such as cloud security, hybrid clouds, and the economic benefits of adopting cloud computing.

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Potential customers may gain a better understanding of the business case for using Azure in the context of the larger cloud computing ecosystem by reading these white papers.

White papers on cryptocurrencies have also been known to be published by the cryptocurrency industry. The white papers issued by cryptocurrency companies and initial coin offerings (ICOs) during the cryptocurrency craze of the 2010s were used to entice users and “investors” to participate in their projects.

Many of these projects turned out to be either flawed or fraudulent, though there were a few notable exceptions to this rule. When the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto published his infamous white paper online in October 2008, it was only a few months before Bitcoin was officially launched.

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