A few words on white papers. White papers are one of the best ways to market to engineering professionals. Engineers are shopping in a business to business environment, and their objective is to solve a problem. Whether they want to find a vendor to stuff printed circuit boards, perform injection molding, or solve a manufacturing problem of their own, they research you and your competition. White papers are one way to shine.
The white paper is a document that fits this situation perfectly. The white paper gives the reader credit for being an intelligent person. (White paper readers include some very intelligent people.) They are soft-sell documents that engage in subtlety. They describe the problem, discuss solutions, and use targeted examples that just happen to feature the products they are intended to sell.
A lot of documents called white papers really aren’t. While white papers don’t have a strict format, there are a few accepted practices. Length is one important aspect of a white paper. The extremely technical papers can be very long, but most are about six pages. White papers for executives are even shorter.
We’ll go into some of these accepted practices in future blog posts. For now, keep white papers in mind if you’re working the business-to-business scene and trying to sell technical products.