How to Write a White Paper that Gets Read

White papers are, according the Content Marketing Institute, the third most popular content marketing tool. Why? Because they attract your target audience, build credibility and softly sell your business.

But a white paper is dead unless it gets read.

So how do you make sure that your target audience is going to download and read your white paper? You figure out who they are and what they want before tapping out a single word on your keyboard.

Suppose you’re a marketing consultant (like me). You might think that your audience is people who need help with marketing. In a broad sense it is, but that definition needs refinement. If you talk to everyone who needs help with marketing, you end up talking to no one.

So ask yourself these questions.

Who Do You Want to Attract?

What’s the title of your target prospect? Is it the stressed-out Marketing Manager who is juggling marketing, budgeting, forecasting, a host of other issues and a boss with unrealistic expectations? Is it the Creative Director at an advertising agency who needs help with your niche expertise? Or is it the small Business Owner knows very little about marketing, but their business is too small to add a marketing guru to their staff.

Where Do They Work?

Is your target cog in the wheel for a cubicle-infested corporation? Or are they defining the path ahead for a small business? And what industry do they work for?

What are Their Hopes and Dreams?

What are their hopes? Does the Marketing Manager seek exceptional results so they can bypass the corporate ladder and take the express elevator to the executive suite? Or does the business owner want to move beyond start-up, out of the red and into the black?

What are their fears?

Do they worry about being given a pink slip instead of a corner office with a view of the lake? Late mortgage payments as the company consumes all cash reserves?

What is Their Knowledge Level?

You don’t want to talk over their heads but you do want to add value by offering new insights.

Know Your Target Well, and Your White Paper will Sell

Once you really know your target market, you can write a white paper that talks to them as if they were sitting across the desk from you.

Give it a headline that intrigues. Then spread the word. Once your target audience reads your white paper, it will start to it work for you.

If you need help writing a white paper, free report or e-book, call Carolyn Frith Marketing now at 610-340-0622 for your free 30-minute, no-obligation consultation or email



  1. I am an online marketing manager and I want to be able to know a little bit about graphic design and HTML so I can easily create and edit pages online. I also want to be able to edit graphic images (very basic stuff) and save them in optimal ways for my page. which software should I be learning? Photoshop? Indesign? Studio? Dreamweaver? thanks

    • I don’t know that you have to learn any of that as long as your website is created in a content management system. My website was created in WordPress and with a little direction, it’s easy to use. Here’s a link to the resource I used to learn the ins and outs of WordPress.

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