White Paper Challenges

You want to create a white paper!  

As well as get your regular work done.

And there’s just not quite enough time to complete everything.

You’re in good company. 

Over 80% of marketers struggle with enough time to get everything done. 

It’s like climbing a mountain. You take one peak (or challenge) at a time and eventually you’re there!

bar graph showing white the challenges of creating a white paper

Here are the Challenges You Face

Challenge #1 Set a Business Goal

Challenge #2 Identify Your Audience

Challenge #2.5 Pick a Topic (Only 1/2 a challenge when you you know the goal & audience)

Challenge #3 Get Collaborator Agreement

Discover specific steps below you can take to overcome your white paper challenges.

CHALLENGE #1 Set a Business Goal

Defining a goal sounds easy. The challenge comes in choosing just one. 

CONSIDER THIS: It’s hard for a white paper to generate leads AND provide detailed information to close sales.

Your white paper should meet prospects where they are in your sales cycle.

What do you want to accomplish:

  • Generate Leads?
  • Tell your story?
  • Nurture a complex sale?

Where will you use the white paper:

  • Trade Shows?
  • On your Website?
  • On Sales Calls?

Setting a goal comes down to answering 2 questions:

  1. Why are you creating a white paper?

2. Where will the white paper be used?

CHALLENGE #2 Identify Your Audience

Creating a white paper for just one person – your “perfect prospect” makes your white paper more successful.

In order to do this, you’ve got to have a person in mind.

You can choose an actual customer –  or use a persona.

Either way, defining your audience helps you know:

  • What problem(s) do you solve?
  • How familiar they are with your product/service?
  • How much technical detail do they want?
  • What terms and acronyms do they understand?
  • Which research sources will impress them?

Entering a new market? Look at:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Technographics

Demographics include age & sex, job title, business role.

Psychographics include attitudes, what drives them, problems they have.

Technographics are how your audience will find your white paper

CHALLENGE #2.5 Pick a Topic

 If you’ve decided on your goal and audience, the list of topics is usually very short. (then it’s only half a challenge!)

  • GOAL: 
    • Will this idea meet your goal?
    • Which concern will interest your audience?  
    • Will they see this topic as a solution to their problem?
    • What concept puts your product or service in the best light?
  • IDEAS: 
    • Will this approach make you stand out from your competition?
    • Is this idea fresh, unusual, or timely?
  • LENGTH: 
    • Can this subject be covered in 5-12 pages?

CHALLENGE #3 Obtain Collaborator Agreement

Before you write your white paper. Before you even create a detailed outline, talk to everyone involved.

This can be done in a 30-minute meeting or group phone call. 

Who should you include:

  • Anyone who will write, review, and/or approve the white paper.
  • Any teams you consult – such as legal, corporate, etc.
  • Product Development.
  • Engineering.
  • Sales.   
  • Also, consider inviting:
    • Subject Matter Experts you want to interview.
    • Graphic Design Team.


You’ve decided on your goal, chosen your audience, picked your topic, and had a group meeting.

Now What?

  • Set Deadlines
    • Deadlines keep everyone accountable and on track.
  • Outline
    • Create an outline before you research and schedule interviews with Subject Matter Experts. (So all your questions are answered.)
  • Graphic Design
    • Layout and design are some of the final steps. However, it’s good to get your designer involved early so she can figure out colors, styles, etc.
  • Complete Research & Interview SMEs
    • Of course, you have your usual SMEs.
    • Also consider looking at LinkedIn groups, blogs, etc. to discover what your prospects want right now.
  • Write & Edit
    • Give yourself time to complete several drafts of your white paper.
    • It’s best to write, set the draft aside for a few hours/days, and then edit.

Go from confusion to completion. Take these steps to get your next white paper done:

  • Set a Goal
  • Identify Your Audience
  • Pick a Topic
  • Get Agreement (from Collaborators)

Feeling overwhelmed by the white paper process? Let me do it for you.

I take white papers from concept to completion. Contact me to get your next white paper done.

NOTE: This blog post was taken from a Special Report I created. Click here to get your pdf copy