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Archive for May, 2011

Ingredients of a White Paper – What goes around comes around

Thanks to white papers, a vast amount of knowledge is readily available on the Net today. White papers are instrumental on getting up to speed on concepts we are not familiar with when suddenly there is a need to become an “expert” overnight!

However, what goes around, will eventually come around. This means the more white papers industry contributes, the more will researchers, potential clients, and business will benefit from this ecosystem.

But what is the hallmark of a good white paper?

  1. Subject of Current Interest: It needs to be a topic that will catch attention of the potential client community who may be grappling with sudden changes in the industry such as a new technology, regulation or point of view
  2. Short and Focused: Should not be more than 4 to 5 pages long. This can be easily done by focusing on a very specific area of the issue. Generic or all-encompassing papers can become very lengthy, expensive to create and unlikely to be read by the target community
  3. Proving the Viewpoint: There should be empirical data (facts and figures) to support the insights in the paper. Even though most readers will not follow up on references, these should be provided to indicate that its not a subjective viewpoint
  4. The 80:20 Rule for Impartial Insight versus Plug-in: At least 80% of the paper should provide impartial insight on the topic. In all honesty, it should be fair to provide 80% “education value” in exchange for a maximum 20% “promotional content”. This of course, assumes that the promotional content legitimately fits into the solution¬† under discussion
  5. Interesting Reading: Should be engaging to read. Must have some charts and/or pictures to break the monotony of words. Pictures are worth a thousand words. In addition, they convey the sense that someone took the time to make it easy to understand and save time for the reader
  6. References must be Quoted: Quoting references not only attributes credit to the original contributors but provides a means of assessing the degree of content legitimacy for the reader

 

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