4 Tips for Creating Effective White Paper Content and Design

Tech companies tend to have a difficult time marketing their products or services to potential clients due to the technical nature of the business. This is where the white paper marketing strategy comes into play. We previously discussed choosing the best topic for your white paper, and why white papers in general are an effective marketing tool for tech companies building a reputation for expertise. Now for the fun part: it’s time to write the text and design the layout.

White papers are unlike other technical documents. They’re not user help manuals or system documentation; they’re reports on a subject of interest to potential customers. More importantly, they’re incredible marketing tools. What makes a white paper readable and memorable? We’ve compiled four tips to keep in mind when working on white paper content and design.

1. Not too short, not too long. You have a lot to say, and you have a lot of detailed research to share. But how do you know when you have too much? Busy readers simply won’t plough through a long document. Take a look at your own reading experience – how long is too long for you? Drilling down to a very specific topic in the first place will help you keep the length under control.

But being too short isn’t desirable either. A white paper that’s not long enough or detailed enough for the subject at hand may not convince readers of your expertise. Take a cue from Goldilocks – not too short, not too long, but just right.

2. Keep it easy on the eyes. When you’re confronted by a business document with big, thick paragraphs of text, do your eyes glaze over a bit? Remember that when you consider your potential audience. Some may read it closely; some may just skim the content. Do them a favor and keep your paper easy to read. Organize your content into easily digestible chunks with bullets, lists, clear section headers, and lots of white space. Easy-to-read fonts in an eye-friendly size will also help readers in a hurry.

3. Graphics aren’t an afterthought. Allow plenty of time for the design element of your white paper. Great graphics should illustrate and enhance your content, not distract from it. Don’t think of them as mere decoration but as integral part of your paper. Some ideas:

  • Bar graphs can show comparisons.
  • Pie charts with hard numbers can demonstrate data such as sales figures or survey results.
  • Good photos can illustrate your topic – make sure you have permission to use them, though.
  • Creatively convert key elements from your text into an interesting illustration.
  • Flow charts can show a sequence of events or tasks.


4. Don’t forget a compelling title. The point of your white paper is to get people interested. A dry, pedantic title will ensure your paper goes unread. Successful titles often do two things:

  • Pique the reader’s’ curiosity and engage them on an emotional level.
  • Tantalize the readers with potential benefits. What will your readers learn from this paper and how exactly can the information help them?

Keeping these tips in mind will help you hook potential readers with a powerful title.

Tech companies can demonstrate their leadership and competence with a solid white paper – and attract leads as well. Paying attention to titles, graphics, and overall readability will help draw in readers and educate your potential customers.

Between coming up with a topic, writing the content, and completing the design, you may want professional expertise. An effective outsourced marketing team can not only line you up with writers and designers but also come up with an overall strategy for your white paper. BlueTreeDigital has experience with marketing in the tech industry and can supply the content and design skills that your white papers need. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about our services.