Five Things To Avoid In Your White Papers
Over the last few years, white papers have emerged as a standard communication medium for conveying in-depth information about products and services to key decision makers. It’s especially useful for organizations shopping for solutions to existing gaps in their operations.
Learning to put together white papers can prove a useful skill for anyone aspiring to a career in technical writing. If you’re getting started on the path, here are five things to get used to avoiding when writing your own white papers.
- Proper writing structure. When you write a white paper, make sure to provide adequate background information before delving into the details. Also, give each concept adequate elaboration (e.g. don’t jump from one implementation to another in a jerky manner the way many white papers online seem to).
- Getting too technical. While white papers are technical documents, a good portion of your audience will be non-technical folks. Provide adequate explanation for technical elements that you suspect might go over some of your readers’ heads.
- Using unclear terms. Acronyms, terminology and jargon can be useful for simplifying communication among peers, but it can lead to confusion if not properly defined and explained. Make sure you do.
- Being visually unappealing. Stop thinking of a white paper as a report people will read for their content alone. Make it visually interesting, with pictures, diagrams and spacious formatting. Basically, make it easier to read.
- No summary. Always have a summary. That way, busy professionals will have a quick place to check key points before reading your piece in detail.