What Is a White Paper?

What is a white paper?

A white paper is an information document issued by a company or non-profit organization to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product or service that it offers or plans to offer.

White papers are also used as a method of presenting government policies and legislation and to gauge public opinion.

Key points to remember

  • A white paper promotes a certain product, service, or methodology to influence current and potential decisions of customers or investors.
  • The three main types of white papers include background papers, numbered lists, and problem/solution white papers.
  • A white paper provides compelling, factual evidence that a particular offering is a superior product or method to solving a problem.
  • White papers are generally designed for business-to-business marketing purposes between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer.

Objective of a white paper

White papers are sales and marketing documents used to entice or persuade potential customers to learn more about a particular product, service, technology, or methodology.

White papers are generally designed to business to business (B2B) for marketing purposes between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer. It can provide an in-depth report or guide on a specific product or topic and is meant to educate its readers.

Facts presented in white papers are often supported by research and statistics from trusted sources and may include graphs, charts, tables, and other ways to visualize the data. A white paper can communicate an organization’s philosophy or present industry-related research findings.

Types of White Papers

A start, a large company or government agency will use white papers differently. There are three main types of white papers, including background papers, numbered lists, and problem/solution white papers.

Information sheets detail the technical characteristics of a new product or service. Designed to simplify complicated technical information, they are used for:

• Support a technical assessment

•Launch a product

• Promote a product or an industry leader

Numbered lists highlight key takeaways from a new product or service and are often formatted with headings and bullet points such as the following familiar format:

• 3 questions to ask

• 5 things you need to know

• 10 tips


Problem/solution papers identify specific problems faced by potential customers and suggest a data-driven argument for how a featured product or service provides a solution for:

• Generate new sales

• Educate sellers on product features

• Generate industry interest.

How to Write a White Paper

White papers differ from others marketing material, such as brochures. Brochures and traditional marketing materials can be flashy and obvious, but a white paper is meant to provide compelling, factual evidence that solves a problem or challenge.

White papers are typically at least 2,500 words and written in an academic style.

A white paper should provide well-researched information that is not found with a simple internet search and have a compelling narrative to hold the reader’s attention. The author of a white paper must:

• Research and fully define the topic.

• Create an accurate overview of information.

• Write an attention-grabbing introduction.

• Format the paper for easy reading.

• Revise and proofread.

What is a sample white paper?

All of these documents, publicly available on Microsoft’s website, focus on aspects of the company’s suite of cloud services. Unlike brochures, these white papers do not have a clear sales pitch. Instead, they dive into relevant topics, such as cloud security, hybrid clouds, and the economic benefits of adopting cloud computing.

  • AI-driven infrastructure and toolchain for all scales
  • Moving your mission-critical mainframe data to Azure
  • Mesh and hub-and-spoke networks on Azure
  • Overview of backup and recovery for Azure users
  • Intro to backup and recovery for new Azure users

How have new industries used white papers?

Cryptocurrencies have also been known to publish white papers for initial coin offerings (ICO) and frequently publish white papers to attract users and “investors” to their projects.

Bitcoin launched a few months after the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto published his famous white paper online in October 2008.

Why is it called a white paper?

White papers may have developed from the use of “blue books” in 19th century Britain, where the cover of a parliamentary report was blue. When a subject for government was less serious, the blue cover was dropped and published with white covers. These reports were called White Papers. In the United States, the use of government white papers often means a background report or advice on a specific issue.

The essential

A white paper is an informational document published by a company, government agency, or non-profit organization to promote the features of a solution, product, or service that it offers or plans to offer. . The facts presented in white papers are often supported by research and statistics from reputable sources and typically written in one of three formats which include backgrounders, numbered lists, and problem/solution papers.

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