Here we are, in the middle of our series on “how to write a persuasive white paper.” This series will help you dig in and create a high-quality, lead generating white paper designed to dazzle your readers. If you missed the previous two segments, White Paper Marketing and White Paper Title, don’t forget to give them a read. This segment is going to outline your white paper format. I am going to let you in on a very specific white paper format and share some examples that will take your white paper from boring to brilliant. So, let’s dive in.
The Ultimate White Paper Format: Feel Their Pain
The first portion of your white paper format will be all about the problem that you know how to solve. As you know misery loves company. When your potential client is frustrated, upset and sick of dealing with a particular problem, you want to be the person that is on their team and joins them in their total exasperation. This phase of the paper is all about empathy. Let the reader know that you 100% know and understand their problem and that you’ve dealt with it and you have experience eliminating it. The empathy that comes across in this section is directly correlated with how much your readers will trust you.
Example: “Are you frustrated when you wake up each morning and still feel lousy…rotten…awful…crummy…miserable….terrible and crappy? “
The Ultimate Format for White Paper: Agitate their Pain
Now that you have let the reader know that you “feel their pain”, you want to agitate it and make it seem even more overwhelming and unsolvable than the reader ever imagined. Pour some salt in their wound and make them FEEL their problem on an emotional level. An excellent way of doing this is via statistics.
Example: “It has been proven that the chronic lack of sleep can put you at risk for numerous health problems, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes!”
The Ultimate Format for White Paper: Paint a New “Problem Free” World
During this white paper format section, you get to be a shining star and paint a clear picture for your reader on what their life will look like when they have resolved their problem. Change the readers focus to “hope” in this section. This section is perfect for a client story and the use of the word “imagine!”
Example: “Imagine waking up each morning full of energy and determination, and being the best shape of your life! It is possible, my client Angie reported feeling 25 years old despite being in her 60’s!”
The Ultimate Format for White Paper: The Meat
Now that you have your prospect trusting you and believing you’ve been there and have overcome this particular obstacle, it’s time to give them the answers. During this section, it’s time to outline your solution to what ails your reader. Provide your solution to your reader in an easy to scan and read way. I recommend using bulleted or numbered lists. During this section, it’s important to divulge your secrets. Do not get into a TON of specifics but make your solution to the readers problem feel credible and attainable.
Example: If you’re ready to feel healthy again, follow these simple steps:
… finish up your list and reasoning’s.
The Format for White Paper: End Strong
The final step of this white paper format is a strong call to action. I have found that the best way to close a white paper is by asking the reader two simple questions.
- Ask the reader to envision themselves utilizing the steps you’ve outlined about.
- Ask the reader if they are ready to work with you to solve their problem.
Example: “As you read the 5 simple steps for attaining a better night’s sleep and envision yourself doing them, what does your life look like? Are you ready to find out? If so, I invite you to work with me!”
Don’t forget this step! You want to let the reader know you can help them solve their problem if they believe in your solution and want your support to get to their problem-free world in less time and with less effort.
Most of the folks that download your white paper will never make it through it. Therefore, it’s important that you have a very strong follow-up email sequence to get them to convert from leads into clients. Watch for my next blog post that will tell you exactly how this final game-changing step is accomplished.