Probably the least formal type of white paper is the numbered list. While a problem-solution white paper is aimed toward the early part of the sales journey, and the backgrounder aimed toward the end of the sales journey, the numbered list is intended for the time in between. Here are three reasons to use a numbered list white paper.
1. Provide interesting facts about your product that might not have made the backgrounder white paper. Sometimes, the backgrounder gets into so much detail on critical aspects of a product that interesting minor features can be neglected. A numbered list allows the opportunity to discuss the features that may not be technical advantages, yet still differentiate your product from the others on the market.
2. The numbered list is a light read. Nobody expects to be bogged down with technical details in a numbered list. That means people assume them to be a quick read. Many people will pick up a numbered list to read when they have a few minutes, where a backgrounder or problem-solution paper might be set aside until the reader has more time. (And who has spare time in the tech sector?)
3. It’s the perfect opportunity to plant the seeds of fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the competitors’ products. While, in my opinion, it’s not particularly ethical to name names, there is no reason not to discuss competing classes of products, nor is there any problem with discussing tendencies amongst current solutions. The numbered list white paper is the only version where this sort of thing is tolerated.
Bonus reason – numbered lists are popular. Think about click-bait websites you find via Facebook. People read them because they want to know what’s on the list. Numbered lists are fun, to the numbered list white paper is assumed to be that sort of document.