Your White Papers are a marketing asset that is meant to build trust and generate leads. Your web visitors provide you with their contact details and in return they receive valuable information. Someone is offering you a relationship of trust, they are providing to you information about themselves and in return have an expectation: a quality White Paper that informs. If you fail to deliver, you are breaking the initial bonds of trust, which may not be reparable damage to the potential relationship.

In order to write a great White Paper you need to have three pieces of knowledge/skill:

  1. Product Knowledge
  2. Industry Knowledge
  3. Writing Skills

Product knowledge

You’ve got to know your product, at least enough to understand its’ use cases in various industries. You’ve got to be able to tie your product back to your White Paper topic and do it subtly near the end of the white paper and (sometimes) in your opening paragraph.

Industry knowledge

In order to understand how your product is different from others on the market you need to have industry and competitive knowledge. There is only one thing worse to me from a marketing standpoint (the worst to come) than a White Paper where I could replace the vendor’s name with any other vendor’s name and still have a perfectly relevant White Paper.

Writing skills

There is nothing worse than a White Paper that was written by someone who lacks basic writing skills. If you can’t write, go take a class, every community college has basic writing courses that can help you get your skills up to par.

Your white paper

Make sure your White Paper doesn’t suck and it can be a treasure trove of new leads for your business. If it isn’t up to snuff, it’ll break the bonds of trust before they’re even formed with your prospects.


Nick Inglis is the Founder/CEO of LeftGen Information Management Group (InformedIM, SolveIM, ClearIM & AgentIM), an expert on enterprise software, and is the author of the AIIM SharePoint Governance Toolkit. Nick has worked with companies as diverse as Ernst & Young, Shell and Canon. Nick is a SharePointM, ECMs, E20m, & IMCP. Nick is a keynote speaker on the topics of SharePoint, Information Management and Collaborative Technologies.