Different Kinds of White Papers and the Audience to Reach

White papers are typically not a term a lot of newbie writers are familiar with. These are specialized pieces of writing material requested by a client on a unique subject for a particular type of audience. The targeted audience is usually readers the client is trying to reach with subject matter either scientific or technical in nature and a more “layman” interpretation is needed to get across their message.

Nearly all of these are created with the same intent, but there are different approaches to expressing a message depending on the targeted reader. This gives a brief overview of the distinct audiences of focus along with a variety of approaches a freelance writer takes to constructing what the client requests.

Four distinctive groups of readers:

Within the same company-this is communication routinely is from one area of a company to another area of the same organization. Generally one department is disclosing material to another or from a single area to the rest of the entire company.

Business and investor relationship-businesses seeking out investors want to share the simple terms of what they offer the average investor and what the investor can expect in return. Generally what they do as a business and how the invested financing is handled is included as well.

Launching with the public-when the scientific or technology community reveals the latest and greatest in their field with the public they have white papers created. These are the largest portion of white paper writing gigs.

Scholarly –this is what comes to mind when most people think of the term. This situation encompasses a writer sharing academic papers for boards or committees. Various clients interested in circulation with groups for discussion or would like to see their material in journals need the scholarly method.

Types of white papers

Problem and solution

A communication revealing a problem and a solution to it using facts, figures and other logic is a problem and solution white paper. A new method or tactic to the issue is generally the norm. All four groups of readers are reached with this layout. For an example, it can be used within the same company to discuss an issue with upper management or even disclosing topics to journalists, bloggers in addition to industry analysts.


Sharing the advantages of a particular product or service combined with the features happens to be a background white paper. Almost always only the positive aspects are listed along with straightforward list of details. Mainly these are aimed toward business to business connections or sales staff. These are a little larger than most other types running anywhere from 8 to 10 pages in length. While generally considered promotional, they do not necessarily have to be chocked full of marketing techniques and lingo to work out well.


Lists are always marvelous resources for writers to use with anything they create. This holds true when building magnificent white papers. Characteristically these are comprised of questions, answers or topics to discuss surrounding a client’s specific issue. They are capable of making the writer’s talent and skills stand out and identified as the easiest format.

Lists target an audience of readers already attracted to the specific issue. They are designed to draw attention and interest in the matter. In some cases even debate is the goal. Writers need to build substance both stimulating and very observant using this approach.

In conclusion

The audience determines what type of white paper to build. Most clients have an idea in mind of which type they would like used. Though, in a good number cases more than one kind works for the writing job. As the professional your input is valuable in making certain the best approach is used to connect with the audience they are reaching out to. Remember, the task is sharing scientific or technical material using a more informal approach. The job requires building content with terminology easy to understand for someone possibly unfamiliar with the majority of the substance.

A great piece of work written for the wrong audience or using the wrong kind of white paper defeats the job. Combining the right white paper with the right focused reader assures a job well done.

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