White papers are the most effective content format for prospects who are mid-way through their buying journey. (That’s according to B2B marketers themselves.)

Writing that content presents three main challenges: getting the right information from your subject matter expert, making it clear and compelling for the target audience, and structuring the document in a way that’s logical and easy to grasp.

On this page, we’ll share some of how we help B2B technology brands worldwide to overcome those challenges. You can skip to the section that interests you most or, if you prefer, simply talk to us about writing your next white paper.

White paper copywriting: quick navigation

Why would I create a white paper?

We typically see our clients use white papers to drive demand among prospects in the middle of the sales and marketing funnel.

In this “consideration” stage, your reader already understands they have a challenge to solve, or an opportunity to seize. Creating a white paper lets you educate them further, and ultimately introduce your solution, safe in the knowledge that they’ll now understand why its features are important. And why it’s better than the competition.

Because white papers speak to an audience that’s already engaged with an issue – and because they provide genuinely useful information – you can afford to go into the subject in depth. It also makes this a popular content format for gating.

What is Radix’s process for writing a white paper?

Our in-house team of B2B technology writers have years of experience interviewing subject matter experts (SMEs), and turning their knowledge into compelling, readable content for a business audience. That’s no small thing; as a marketer, you need to know your stakeholders’ time has been used well, and that your white paper will stand out from other examples in your market.

Importantly, your Radix account manager will oversee the whole process for you – saving you time by scheduling the work, arranging interviews, and updating you on progress so your white paper’s copy arrives exactly when you expect it.

(If you’d like to know more, you can meet our writers and account managers here.)

Our exact process is driven by your own circumstances and needs. Usually, however, a white paper project looks something like this:

  1. We’ll chat through the project with you, and you’ll share your objectives, and any background materials you want us to draw on in creating the white paper. Your Radix account manager will work with our writing team to create a quote, and get it back to you ASAP, ready for your approval.
  2. We’ll offer to set up any necessary interviews with your SMEs. Often this will be someone with a deep understanding of your solutions, your customers, or both. Think product owners, customer account managers, or sales engineers.
  3. We’ll agree a delivery schedule for your copy. This includes scheduling any interviews and the writing time, so you know exactly when you’ll receive the outline and first draft.
  4. We’ll interview your SME(s). If you prefer to do this yourself and create a detailed written brief, you absolutely can. In our experience, however, it’s always best to have as few links in the knowledge-chain as possible.
  5. We’ll do any extra desk research that’s required to flesh out the ideas your SME provided. The right statistic can be the difference between a decent opening paragraph and a genuinely compelling one.
  6. We’ll write an outline of your white paper. This is an important step that allows us to verify we’re taking a good approach, and covering the right ground, before we begin to write in earnest. We usually send it to you as a Word Document, or we can upload it to a file sharing/collaboration platform of your choice.
  7. You and your SME(s) will review the outline and send us any feedback to help ensure the content we write is exactly as you expect.
  8. We’ll write the first draft of your white paper, based on the feedback you’ve provided so far. We’re not graphic designers, but we’ll usually include recommendations to help guide you through that grey area where design and narrative structure meet, e.g. suggesting featured quotes, side bars and box outs.
  9. You and your SME(s) will review this first draft, and send us your comments.
  10. We’ll amend the copy document until we reach a final version. Up to two rounds of amends are included in your quote as standard, because it’s important that you’re completely happy.

Once you’re happy with the copy, our part is done. You’re then ready to get your white paper designed, and start using it in the world to generate demand, demonstrate your expertise, and capture and nurture those all-important leads.

Can’t I just get our SME to write it themselves?

We wouldn’t recommend it. And here’s why.

For your SME to create an effective white paper, they need to understand your marketing objectives, your target audience, and the challenges (both technical and business) your customers face. They probably need to be able to explain the value of your solutions in language your target audience can understand. And they certainly need to be an excellent writer, capable of structuring a clear, persuasive narrative, and joining the dots with authoritative detail.

There is a tiny chance your SME can do everything listed above. And if they can, they’re probably in such demand that they’ll never have the time.

We do, sometimes, take first drafts written by SMEs and edit them into beautiful, customer-ready white papers. (A good example is the 4D Data Centres white paper featured further down this page.)

Usually, however, this isn’t the ideal approach. Because unless your SME understands how to turn their expertise into a clear, logical argument that resonates with your target audience, there’s every chance it’ll take us longer to unpick, restructure, and rewrite their draft than it would for us to start with a blank page, and get everything right first time.

What are the hallmarks of a great B2B white paper?

Clear language

The primary purpose of a white paper isn’t to grab attention or to entertain – it’s to educate. Even the handful of B2B tech brands that flirt with playfulness or irreverence tend to rein in those aspects of their voice when it comes to creating a white paper. Your reader has committed their time, and you need to deliver value.

But that doesn’t mean your white paper needs to be written in corporate grey, thick with opaque jargon and ten-sentence paragraphs.

A great white paper speaks to the reader like a great teacher. Even when the paper is conveying complex ideas, its language – and its message – remains clear.

If your content can achieve that, you’ll likely stand out in a market where many B2B white papers use quasi-academic vocabulary as a substitute for real insight. We’ll help by representing your reader in the process, and considering the right level of readability at every stage.

Helpful, authoritative content

A great white paper may include any or all of the following:

  • An abstract or executive summary
  • A section naming authors, and providing their bios
  • A main narrative that unfolds over multiple sections, each with their own subsections
  • Illustrative graphics and technical diagrams
  • Multiple citations from authoritative sources

The right content will strike a balance between easy, scannable reading, and demonstrating that the insights it contains are serious and well founded. Often, we’ll be able to spin off sections of the narrative into standalone content pieces you can use to promote the main asset.

The right level of technical detail

A white paper needs enough technical content to resonate with your target audience. But that level varies greatly; some white papers exist to educate the C-suite about industry trends and business challenges. Others need to educate network engineers about the finer points of impairment emulation.

At Radix, we write both kinds of white paper, and plenty more besides. If the topic of your white paper does look too technical for our team, we’ll always let you know – but you might be surprised by how deep our writers can dive.

Can you show me some good white papers you’ve written?

Of course. The proof of the pudding is in the eating (or, in this case, reading). Each of the following examples includes some of the strengths we’ve discussed so far.

Insurance Analytics Whitepaper

Data: The Key to Transformation – How UK insurers can use data to modernise, innovate and thrive

Client: Adatis

Input sources: Initial client brief; SME interview; Radix research

Process: This specialist data analytics consultancy asked Radix to write a white paper that would help demonstrate its expertise in the insurance sector. This project is a great example of the white paper as a mid-funnel content piece. It demonstrates the client’s familiarity with industry trends and challenges, before educating the reader about the role data can play in helping insurers adapt and thrive. It’s also a great example of our standard white paper writing process. We took an initial brief, followed it up with an SME interview and bolstered all this input with our own research.

Data Analytics Whitepaper

How analytics can help American grocery retailers win in a rapidly-changing market

Client: The Smart Cube

Input sources: Initial client brief and background; Radix research

Process: When The Smart Cube asked us to write this white paper, it had already assembled a wealth of input, from previously published content to industry-specific research, customer case studies and white paper examples. As a result, we were able to get to work without an SME interview, synthesising all this material into a first draft that – aside the inclusion of some extra messaging – was signed-off without any major changes.

Data Centre Whitepaper

Cryptomining 101 – How to make the most of the cryptocurrency opportunity

Client: 4D Data Centres

Input sources: Initial client brief and background; SME first draft; Radix research

Process: 4D Data Centres wanted to help high net worth, but non-technical individuals to understand the basics of cryptocurrency mining – and why colocation is ideal for mining operations. Its technical director drafted a white paper on the subject, which we then copy edited in line with our own internal content quality checklist. If you’re even slightly interested in the practicalities of cryptocurrency mining, or the origins of blockchain, it’s an excellent read.

(If you’d like more examples, please do contact our team. We’ve written hundreds of white papers for B2B technology brands, and the chances are we’ll be able to show you something relevant to your needs.)

What’s the difference between a white paper and an ebook?

Excellent question. It’s easy to confuse a white paper with an ebook format, not least because some white papers are designed in more of an ebook style – and vice versa.

Here’s the short answer. Most ebooks are deployed slightly earlier in the B2B tech marketing funnel, where they need to grab attention and generate awareness. As such, ebooks tend to be lighter on detail, and heavier on bold design choices, with interactive elements like embedded videos or reader polls. By contrast, a white paper can dive into more detail, because by this stage the audience already knows why they should read.

(The long answer involves Nick Nolte, Gary Busey, and Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

We write B2B ebooks too, so we’re happy to work on either format for you. The important part is which will appeal most to your audience at this stage of their decision-making process.

What should I look for in a white paper copywriter?

Ultimately you need a writer who you can trust to ask your SME the right questions, and create content your audience will find useful and authoritative. In our experience, that tends to mean a good white paper copywriter will have:

  • Significant experience writing for your sector (or a similar one)
  • A robust understanding of B2B tech marketing
  • Solid SME interviewing skills
  • A journalistic commitment to checking and referencing sources
  • A strong portfolio of long-form content pieces

At Radix, we’ve plenty of writers who fit this bill. And just as importantly, we have an expert team of account managers delivering a highly responsive, professional service. That means:

  • Regular office hours – so you can always reach us if you need to
  • Clear, upfront pricing – so you don’t have to worry about going over budget
  • Project management support – so you spend less time chasing your stakeholders

If you’re looking to create a B2B white paper, we’d love to talk in depth about what you need, and how Radix can support you. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Let’s talk about your white paper copywriting project.

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