You’re getting ready to commission a writer to write a white paper or special report for you.  You know your investment in a white paper will more than pay for itself in terms of sales of your product or services, and you’re ready to take your marketing to that next level.  Before you hire a writer, ask yourself these six questions:

  1. Who is my audience?  This is who you want the writer to speak to in the paper.  Think about your typical prospective customer, and have the writer aim for that target market.
  2. What do you want to accomplish with this white paper? You’re not pushing a hard sell in your white paper.  Instead, you’re educating your customer.  But how much do you want to educate, and how much do you want to push your product?  What would be the desired outcome when your reader is finished?
  3. What issues need to be addressed? What problems do your customers face? How can you solve them?
  4. Which competitors need to be analyzed? Do you have competitors that do the same thing? Do you want to mention them, or just dance around them?
  5. What benefits will my product provide that the competition can’t? See question four.  If you’re dancing around the competition, figure out which features your product has that the competition doesn’t.  Then instruct your writer to mention them in the text.  For example, if you’re selling a smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard, you may want to have the writer weave in how it’s easier for executives to touch-type their email responses on a QWERTY keyboard.
  6. Who do I want to write the white paper? Ah, the ultimate question.  You’ve figured out what you want in the white paper, maybe even identified an industry thought leader to have your writer interview, and it’s time to choose the writer. You may have an in-house writer, but if she’s swamped or if you don’t have someone in-house to write the white paper, consider hiring a freelance writer. Of course I’m going to tell you to hire me, but there are a lot of great white paper writers out there.  Since white papers require a lot of researching, writing, and interviewing, you’ll want to choose someone with a journalism background. You’ll want someone with good email and verbal communication skills, and you’ll want to know she can get the job done in a reasonable time frame.

Now that you’ve asked yourself these questions, you’re ready to commission your white paper.  Good luck!