8 Steps to Constructing Whitepapers

8 Steps to Constructing Whitepapers


A large proportion of my writing comprises industry Whitepapers or Dossiers, and it is becoming increasingly common for people to contact me seeking advice on how to form such large documents. So, here are my 8 steps to constructing whitepapers:

  1. Start by conducting a literature review of the key topic/question being explored, bringing everything together into a narrative/story.

  2. Establish areas that need greater depth or expansion and seek out experts/professionals working in that area.

  3. Once the experts have been interviewed, feed this into the review of the literature you already have to add authority to the piece.

  4. Based on the combined literature and interviews, draw out any key themes or questions that emerge – you might be able to use these to justify an offering, service, or recommendation.

  5. Go back to the literature to explore any further questions that have arisen to see if you can fill in any gaps (some gaps just can’t be filled).

  6. Integrate any case studies into the document that might illustrate any key messages you want to convey, demonstrate best practice, or build on expert insights. These can be in boxes, separate from the main text. Whitepapers can be quite large and you want to present them in a way that the reader will get to the end or can dip in and out if they wish.

  7. Summarise everything into a short conclusion, and depending on your topic or the aim of the whitepaper, offer recommendations for moving the industry forward.

  8. Now add an executive summary – this goes at the beginning of the document, but is written at the end. It will be a brief description of the Whitepaper contents and any key points. Someone should be able to read this and know exactly what they will get from reading the full Whitepaper.


Image: Some of my Whitepapers (http://trustedwriter.com/corporate-services)

Suggested Structure:

  • Title Page

  • Contents

  • Executive Summary

  • Introduction and Rationale

  • Main Body – literature plus expert commentary

  • Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix – A Bio of any experts interviewed

I hope this helps! Many people are daunted by such an extensive piece of writing, but I love it. Call me ‘strange,’ but I adore pulling together large pieces of information into one comprehensive report that can then be used to inform an industry or even lead to change. So, if you still aren’t keen on tackling that Whitepaper, please don’t hesitate to contact me for my availability: dr.davies@trustedwriter.com. You can also see some of my Whitepapers on my website: http://trustedwriter.com/corporate-services.

Categories: Business, Writing, Writing/Publishing

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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