A great marketing tool that can elevate your engineering company to new heights is the release of engineering white papers. White papers demonstrate your company’s expertise and industry knowledge while promoting your authority by offering valuable recommendations and solutions. This guide will help you delve into everything you need to know about engineering white papers.
What is a white paper?
A white paper is an authoritative and in-depth report on a specific topic within your industry. It should present a known problem and a solution and is intended to educate a specific target audience. A white paper is an important marketing tool to connect to a technical audience, specifically because they can use it to solve problems.
As a rule of thumb, whitepapers generally:
- Consist of 3000+ words
- Include supporting images such as graphs, stats, diagrams
- Are presented in a downloadable PDF format with attractive graphics
- Start with an executive summary and have a clearly defined contents index
- They should not come across as a sales pitch
What is the purpose of an engineering white paper?
Engineering white papers are typically problem-based and solution-centric. These problems can vary as they can stem from timely and relevant issues, new technology and trends, new methodologies, case studies, or comparison studies. The paper must show a recommendation and a proposed solution based on an objective and rigorous examination of the problem.
Engineering white papers are great marketing tools when readers find value in their content. They should inform, engage prospects, and as a result, gather leads. If your white paper attracts your target audience properly, most will submit their email in return for the download. Engineering white papers are great lead magnets.
Why release an engineering white paper?
A key consideration when creating white papers is knowing your target audience. An engineering white paper is an industry-specific product intended for a particular subset of the engineering audience.
Engineers come across a lot of problems that need solving, so providing your customers with reliable information that is structured to answer their questions will elevate your company’s expertise and authority. The research that goes into writing for such a fact-based and solution-centric industry is an attractant in and of itself. Good engineers know the effort that goes into good research, so they’ll be drawn to useful content.
White papers should not sound sales pitchy, but the fact that you’re not trying for a hard sale is what makes them perfect for this technical crowd. The more informative and authoritative you sound, the more engineers will tend to gravitate towards your material.
How do you write a white paper?
Identify and select a topic
As mentioned earlier, research is key. Finding an engaging and relevant topic is fundamental to writing your white paper. Topics may take the form of new methodology, updated technology, or the filling of a knowledge gap from other white papers. A good idea is to speak to your sales teams or clients directly to identify market issues. Of course, you can also base it on a case study where you’ve already helped an existing client solve a problem.
Create an engaging and accurate title
White papers must be enticing enough to capture your target audience’s attention. They must send a clear message about the key takeaway or lesson that the reader is meant to learn. Make your audience interested enough in the topic that they will want to read on and find the answer.
Develop an engaging executive summary
Creating an effective abstract or executive summary means providing the readers with the essential information they need before diving into the bulk of the content. Your main points must be outlined in the summary, and it should act as a quick guidepost to indicate to the reader whether they have found the paper they’re looking for.
Define a clear problem statement
Your white paper must tell a factual story that your audience can follow. Defining a good problem will show the readers the significance of your paper – that’s what will make the audience care in the first place. The parameters and context of the problem must be laid out for the readers. Providing background on the study will also help the readers to connect more to the problem.
Provide a compelling solution
Presenting a significant problem is, of course, only half the battle. Compelling problems demand compelling solutions or recommendations. Show credibility by backing your problem-solving claims with statistical results. Provide visuals to illustrate your point. Although it’s a technical document, don’t bore your readers with bland storytelling – write an arc that your audience can connect with. You do want to stir them into following your advice. This results section is where you tie all the loose ends and provide the reader with the best possible solution. It should demonstrate your authority and showcase the expertise of your company.
Check your references
References must be checked thoroughly as they add more validity to your content. Proper citation format must be observed, and provide the readers with the information they need should they decide to look further into the topic.
Increase your opportunities with white papers
White papers require skill and rigorous research and can be very time-consuming. Your team can choose to build an engineering white paper themselves since, after all, you are the experts. The depth of research required makes the white paper a difficult document to generate, but it can also be very rewarding.
Keep your audience in mind and search for a problem your company or your product has solved. What do you want to feature? Which aspect of your services do you want to highlight? What makes your product stand out? How is it superior to others?
Conduct a study and release results to back up your claim. An engineering audience will appreciate case studies and the information that you provide. The next time they come across a similar dilemma, you will be at the top of their minds. You are the expert! You will contribute to the education of your industry while increasing your opportunities and gaining trust, credibility, and respect.
Your in-house team of experts will no doubt hold a lot of relevant information. If you need help planning, researching, and crafting an engaging case study then reach out to us at Engineering Copywriter, or download our guide.