In the technological field, a white paper is an in-depth explanation of how a product works and how the product can solve a problem (usually the problem is related to the technical side of business). A successful white paper introduces the product as innovative and new to the market. A thorough description of the technology needs to be included. The author needs to show how this product is going to help the customer solve a specific problem better than other similar products out on the market. Building up a lot of hype around the product will not sell it unless the author can concretely demonstrate its effectiveness.
The first paragraph of a white paper captures the reader’s attention with an interesting first sentence. It then moves onto a summary of the product. Because your audience may be very busy (picture top business executives) and may read through dozens of white papers, the first paragraph needs to provide enough critical insight into the product and detail so that the reader will want to continue learning about the product.
The next couple of paragraphs should demonstrate your knowledge of the reader’s problem. Avoid any assumptions and complex technical writing explanations; rather, be direct and straightforward. Clearly state your objectives, as well as your understanding of the current trends in the technical market for the product.
Continue with a description of the product, but do not delve into how the product will solve a problem just yet. Include a short background summary, then describe in general terms how the product works. By the time your audience finishes reading this section, they should have such a thorough understanding of the product, that they will be able to easily understand how the product can be applied to solve the problem.
After describing the product, it is time to explain its usefulness. The best white papers back up their claims with concrete evidence and even testimonials from experts. You also need to convince the reader that your solution is the best solution. Conclude this section with any possible future developments or applications of the product, as well as an explanation of financial returns for investors.
Because those same busy executives who need to be drawn into reading past the first paragraph may skip to the concluding paragraph in an effort to save time, this last paragraph needs to be just as strong as the first. Be confident in your final summary of the product and the reasons why it is simply the best.