White Papers and Guides

White Papers and Guides

Persuade with Facts Not Hype

A successful white paper or guide wins business with logical arguments or in-depth information, not hype. And these assets can bring in leads and sales for years to come.

But four things will tank tank them:             

  1. Being too "salesy"/not educational enough
  2. Having too few facts to back up claims
  3. Focusing more on you than the reader
  4. Being improperly planned

See my process for creating a winning white paper.        

Here's what you can expect when I write your white paper:

A White Paper Plan

Every white paper starts with a detailed plan that includes:

  • The goal for the White Paper
  • Who the target audience is
  • Where it fits in your funnel
  • The Call to Action
  • The format of the white paper
  • ​​​Broad overview of the content
  • List of keywords and keyphrases
  • List of official reviewers
  • List of research/background materials
  • List of subject matter experts to interview
  • Timelines
  • Writing and design guidelines

Starting with a white paper plan ensures everyone is on the same page and keeps the project flowing smoothly.

In-Depth Research and Interviews

After the white paper plan is approved, I'll pour over any background info you provide, dive into research, and start scheduling interviews. (You'll get copies of the recordings and transcripts.)

Then, I'll organize the research and create an executive summary.

Sign-Off on the Executive Summary Before I Start the First Draft

Once all the research and interviews are finished, I'll create a one to two-page executive summary. This summary will be a synopsis of every point I plan to make in the white paper.

You'll get to see each argument and give constructive feedback before the first draft is ever written. Then, I'll make any adjustments and begin the first draft. 

This way, when the first draft comes across your desk, it will be very close to a finished draft.

Two Rounds of Revisions

With all the checks and balances built into the steps above, two rounds of revisions are usually all that's necessary. More often than not, you won't need that many.

More input upfront means fewer revisions in the end, so you'll get a polished product, ready for design and distribution instead of a never-ending revision process that leads to missed deadlines.

A White Paper Your Leads Will Love

When you collaborate on a White Paper that keeps your prospects in mind from the start, it won't just be a self-serving sales piece. The end result will be a White Paper that serves the needs of your market.

And your prospects will love it.


Ideas for White Paper Formats

White Papers are great to use at nearly every stage of your sales funnel. Here are the most common formats and when it's best to use each.


What it is:

A problem/solution white paper does what its name implies. It tell readers how to solve a current problem they are facing within their industry. And it introduces your product or service as part of that solution.

What it does:

It sets your brand up as an industry authority and begins to build trust with your prospects as it educates and informs them.

When to use it:

These are perfect to offer at the top of your sales cycle when prospects are problem-aware and are beginning to research solutions.

Numbered List (Can stand alone or be combined with either of the other formats)

What it is:

It can be a list of questions that your prospects need answered. Or it can be a list of tips. It can even be a provocative list that kills your prospects "sacred cows," aka the beliefs they hold dear that would keep them from considering your product as a viable solution for their company.

What it does:

Gets attention, nutures prospects or sheds doubt on your top competitors. ​

When to use it:

A numbered list is often used in the middle of the sales funnel to help you stand out from the competition. It can keep you on your prospects' short list when they are "X"-ing other vendors off.


What it is:

A backgrounder explains your product or service in-depth. It can describe processes, methodologies and/or dive deep into technical information than won't fit on a data sheet alone.

What it does:

It gives your solution-aware prospects the details they need to evaluate how your product or service will integrate with their company.

When to use it:

These are used lower in the sales cycle when your prospects are looking for more technical information to evaluate their options.

Contact Holly Hughes-Barnes