In the public and social spheres, creating and publishing white papers is an avenue to attract new partners and funders, document a problem you want to highlight or solve, influence policy, summarize your work, and make scientific findings more accessible to non-research community. You should have this in your toolkit of promotion.
By downloading my free white paper template for Microsoft PowerPoint, you can design attractive, professional white papers without hiring a graphic designer. Many public and social sector professionals need to publish white papers, but don’t have the budget to hire and equip graphic designers. Also, you can arm one of your organization’s volunteers, should you be so lucky, with this template to get great results on little or no budget.
(I like using PowerPoint for document layout because it’s a tool nearly everyone already has on their computer. Also, handling graphics in Microsoft Word, while improving, is still just too hard.)
What is a White Paper?
According to Wikipedia, the white paper started as a type of British government document. The name comes from the color of its cover. White papers are longer than memos but shorter than blue books or reports, such as the Beveridge report. They provide more examination and development of a position, thought, or issue, without prescribing policy. In this way, white papers are akin to persuasive essays.
In the private sector, business-to-business marketers have picked up on the white paper as a way to explain and promote complex products and services, and to establish their thought leadership in a particular sector of a market.
Three general types of commercial white papers:
- Backgrounder, which explains more about a product or service
- Numbered list, which presents a list of tips, questions to consider, steps to take, or characteristics to look for
- Problem / solution, which defines a need or want in the market and how a product or service meets that need or want
How to Make the Most of a White Paper
Follow these steps to generate impact with your white paper:
- Determine your story: you can build on your organizational narrative to highlight a villain, victim, hero, helper or monster
- Include research to give your story credibility and precision
- Use images and typography to advance and enhance your story
- Follow a style guide and sound graphical communication
- Use promotion to get your thoughts into the hands and minds of readers
I’ve just scratched the surface of white papers. You can search the Internet for white paper examples, tips, best practices and more.
Download my white paper template for PowerPoint and start publishing!
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