White Paper? Insight Paper? Which Do You Need Most?

White papers and insight papers establish your company and you as a subject matter expert.

A white paper usually summarizes current industry ideas or solutions with a view to clearing up misinformation and improving a reader’s understanding. An insight paper, on the other hand, offers a unique perspective on an industry problem, presenting alternatives to current industry thinking. The two types of papers have a few elements in common.

  • The white paper or insight paper should deliver what it promises. The introduction should always be written last and the conclusion should always summarize the content–all ideas in the introduction and conclusion should be covered in the body of the paper.
  • The big insights should be easy to find, preferably in subheadings or bullet points. Your readers won’t go hunting for the main points in your white paper or insight paper. .
  • The connection to the reader should be clear (“you”) and positive. Most companies know if they have a problem; they are looking for solutions.
  • Examples should be real world and based on actual experience. Interviews are a great way to establish real world expertise.
  • Links to other research and background data are excellent–but the links should actually work. Make sure readers can access the papers or articles you cite and be careful about linking to so many outside sites that readers lose the thread of your own argument.
  • The paper should end with a call-to-action. The call could consist of a summary of the services the company offers or a form for requesting more data or a give-away in exchange for contact information.

As a professional writer and editor, I have decades of experience researching and writing white papers and insight papers for a broad range of industries. Let me know how I can help you can establish yourself or your company as a subject matter expert.

Insight Papers: Is Your Expertise Going to Waste?

Insight papers or white papers are a perfect way to present your expertise to current and future clients and customers. They are also a way to develop a deeper understanding of your own business and consolidate your marketing focus.

A true insight paper requires more than writing down everything you have learned in your career. It should present a new perspective on a current industry problem; information that has not been gathered in one place before; and support for a stance.

Here are five steps toward building an insight paper:

  1. Research the current trend(s) in your industry. For example, if you are a kitchen designer, you might want to research the use of color, metallic, and engineered surfaces.
  2. Ask your clients and experts in your field about their experiences with that trend. Most people are happy to be cited in an insight paper, but treat their comments with respect whether or not they agree with your preconceptions.
  3. Research the topic of your insight paper. For example, if you are a manufacturer, you might research statistics on how just in time manufacturing has affected innovation in your industry.
  4. Take a stance–one you believe in. For example, if you are an executive coach, you might argue that some team building exercises alienate employees instead of inspiring them.
  5. Make it interesting. No one wants to read two thousand (and more) words of statistics or a lecture on what you believe. Use quotes, stories, illustrations, and even humor to make your point.

One of the easiest ways to construct an insight paper is to create it from your own blog posts or other marketing collateral. But remember that an insight paper must go beyond a reiteration of your own thoughts: it must be substantiated with quotes from experts, statistics, and stories about real experiences. A well-constructed insight paper is far more valuable as a source of future blog posts and marketing collateral.

One of the advantages of your research is the insight it will give you into your business. Are you taking advantage of recent trends, marketing to the concerns of your customers, and developing solutions that meet their needs and set you apart from your competition?

You might decide to self-publish your insight paper on your website; provide a hard copy to potential clients; email it to past customers to remind them of your expertise; or submit it to industry magazines. It can serve to generate qualified leads, when people are interested enough to leave their contact information in return for the insight paper.

If writing an insight paper feels like a momentous task, please contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. You’ll be delighted with how efficiently an insight paper can be written and delighted with the results.