One of the secrets of a good white paper is the topic.
(article continues below)
Pick the right white paper topic and your white paper will virtually write itself. Pick the wrong one and you can be stuck in limbo for days, producing a document that no one will ever read.
The simple truth is that your business is full of potentially fantastic white paper topics. Everyday you are surrounded by opportunities to present your products, services, and processes in an informative and positive light.
If you're still stuck for ideas, here are some ideas to jumpstart the creative process:
- Strategic Plans. A carefully crafted strategic plan is a hotbed for creative white paper topics. Your strategic plan should describe your company's strengths and identify targeted short-term goals. White papers can be used to leverage your strengths and to position the business to hit strategic plan benchmarks.
- Marketing Plans. White papers can also be used to reinforce promotional initiatives and marketing strategies. By creating white papers that either parallel or complement an ad campaign you can generate a marketing tour de force for your company.
- The Competition. There is no shame in writing white papers on the same topics as your competition. In fact, if the competition is writing persuasive white papers on a topic that you haven't addressed, you had better write one on the same topic ASAP.
- Market Trends. Your competition can give you ideas for white paper topics that address where the market is today. But market trends can give you ideas for topics that address where the market will be tomorrow – and for many business owners, that's more important. A strategic series of white papers can position your business as a leader in the market that will exist six months or a year down the road.
- Customer Surveys. Customer feedback is a great place to look for potential white paper topics. You might think you know a lot about your products, but customer feedback tells you what's actually happening. Most customer feedback mechanism contain information about how real people used your products to solve real world problems.
- Personal Passion. The best white papers are inspired by the writer's genuine belief that a process or product is capable of solving a specific problem. You are your company's biggest cheerleader, the person most capable of articulating the benefits of your products. Let your personal passion for your company's mission guide your white paper topics.