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The typical white paper is distributed as a PDF on the web.But some are still printed out for sales calls, press kits and trade shows. White paper experts including Gordon Graham have identified these key characteristics for a white paper: If a document has all these characteristics, it’s probably a white paper.
These are discussion documents issued by the government for public debate, not official policy documents.
Before technology white papers became synonymous with marketing efforts, certain government white papers became well known, such as: Conclusion It seems that white papers are a by-product of blue papers, which ironically don’t exist anymore.
White papers are great tools for generating credibility.
Customers respond better to informative write-ups than they do to blatant ads.
Problem/solutions recommend a new, improved solution for a nagging business or technical problem You can effectively combine two of these flavors: This yields five main flavors of white papers.
You can’t effectively combine all three, because of the different viewpoints of a problem/solution and a backgrounder.
Back to top Each type is most appropriate for delivering certain information to a certain audience, as shown below.
For shorthand, I’ve used “offering” to represent any product, service, technology or methodology described in the white paper. Backgrounder: for prospects near the end of the buying cycle or to support a product launch for journalists, analysts and channel partners #2.
The format of a white paper is somewhere between a technical manual and a glossy brochure… But I’ve seen everything from a two-page flyer to a 100-page book called a “white paper.” The typical white paper looks better than a technical manual, but not as slick as a brochure or ad.
between a dry-as-dust academic paper and an annual report. But some white papers are as colorful as a cereal box.