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How to Develop Exciting White Papers

Four simple steps for solid reporting

by Wendy J. Meyeroff

First, let me provide a quick definition for folks who ask this question all the time: “What’s the difference between a case study and a white paper?”

Very simple. A case study is telling folks about how a certain project—in which you were involved--succeeded. So it could be about how your electronic medical records program saved a specific doctor’s practice or hospital. Or it could be about how your live entertainment series helped enhance the happiness of a nursing home’s residents.

A white paper is more of an overview containing research you’ve done on a specific issue. This usually seems less self-promotional, ‘cause you’re not conveying what you’ve accomplished. Rather you should be communicating overall insights like, “Top 10 Ways to Enhance SEO Success,” or “How AI Has Accelerated Small Business Sales.”

The only place your biz name comes into play in a white paper is being placed on the title cover and in a short bio at the back. The latter can start with something like “XYZ Company has been providing AI to nonprofits, small businesses, and companies in the healthcare industry since 1992.”

Note: When it comes to white papers, these materials of 2,000-8,000 words require solid research. They can’t just be written off the top of your head, the way you might be able to create shorter blogs.

I. Enhancing your expertise recognition

You’ll need to find statistics that explain why you’ve chosen your topic. Besides great resources like Entrepreneurs, Forbes, and the Wall St. Journal, ch