A technical white paper is a document that describes how a technology or product solves a particular problem.
A good white paper is informative and is written to give readers an idea about the advantages of a product or technology.
Writing a whitepaper requires deep understanding of a product’s technology as well as its application in solving a problem.
A white paper is written to:
- Demonstrate that the vendor understands customer problems
- Describe the vendor’s technology
- Explain why the vendor’s technology is the customer’s best choice to solve those problems.
A white paper helps in decision making.
A technical white paper contains:
- Title – A powerful title that stands out.
- Abstract – A one-paragraph description of what the paper is about without including the conclusion. This section tells the reader what the purpose of the paper is. Many times, potential customers read only the abstract and the conclusion of white papers.
- The Problem – A couple of paragraphs covering the problem and some background.
- Understanding the Product’s design – How the product works in general. This section does not talk about how the product solves the problem; the section is oriented so that the reader will be able to understand the product’s application to the problem. This and the following section form the core of the white paper.
- How the Product solves the problem – This section includes how the application of the product solves the problem. Include evidence and/or examples of how the product solves the problem, and why it is the best solution available.
- Success Stories – How clients have benefitted from vendor’s product or technology.
- Conclusion – This section contains a one-paragraph summary of why the product is the best solution to the problem.
White paper can be written by a technical writer with inputs from developers, product and marketing managers. It is team-work.
White paper is often written to draw potential customers by providing them with valuable insights into a product or technology. It is frequently made available on a vendor’s website as a download in return for contact details of potential customers.
A white paper can be created in different formats:
- Problem/solution – Describes an industry problem, delves into existing solutions and their drawbacks, and then describes why the vendor’s product or technology works better than anything else in the market.
- Product features and benefits – This can be detailed or short depending on how much information the vendor is willing to reveal to potential customers.
- A numbered list – Provides a set of tips, questions or points about a certain issue. This can be short, quick and easy to read.
One or combination of above flavors can be used to create a white paper that educate potential customers about your product or technology.
The writer of technical white paper may request the following:
- Your business goals.
- Your target audience.
- A high-level overview of the content
- A recommended call to action
- An official list of reviewers
- Likely sources for further research
- Recommended design guidelines