Top Seven White Paper Approaches

White papers provide a range of benefits—from articulating technology or business vision, to providing detailed examples of how a new technology or product can address a specific business problem, to establishing thought leadership. Custom white papers can be written to elicit a range of results. However, we’ve found through experience that most white papers fit into our Top Seven list of White Paper Approaches.

1. Thought Leadership. When it’s important to establish a thought leadership position, white papers are a particularly good approach. Thought leadership white papers can be used to establish credibility, to steer purchase decisions, and to set the agenda.

2. Business Benefits. Many white papers are aimed at business executives to help them understand why their organization needs a specific product or technology. Business benefit-oriented white papers help put technology into a business context.

3. Technical Education. White papers can provide an in-depth discussion of technical issues and help educate key technical decision-makers on new technologies or alternative solutions.

4. ROI Analysis. ROI-oriented white papers provide a framework for understanding the value and benefits that can be derived from a software investment.

5. Setting the Sales Context. White papers can also help set the sales context by providing prospects with an understanding of the financial and technical components of a solution. They can also be used to specify the decision criteria that organizations should use when selecting products. These papers provide a framework for a salesperson to walk through the sale.

6. Competitive Positioning Papers. Competitive positioning papers articulate how a product, company or service should be compared to alternatives.

7. Position Papers. Position papers articulate a company’s position on a technology or business matter, such as a technical standard.

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