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  • Writer's pictureMichael Paulyn

What is a White Paper?

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

Many of us have heard the term 'white paper' thrown around, but have you given it much thought? But what is a white paper? Let me help; I'll give a snapshot of everything in this blog and more; check it out.

White Paper, What You Need to Know

So, you might think, 'What is a white paper?" For the record, it's not a piece of white paper; get your head out of the gutter. A white paper is almost like a business plan; some think it's like an essay or scientific document, but that's not true.

Businesses use white papers as an alternative to sales and marketing plans to attract or entice potential customers to buy their services, products, tech, or mission statement. The design of white papers isn't a user manual or technical document. It's more like a pitch to the company's target audience.

Most white papers are 2,500 words for either highly technical or academic language. Much less flashy than a classic brochure, white papers follow a more rigorous outline designed to solve a difficult technical problem or give info on a complex topic.

White Paper Applications

It's not uncommon to see white papers drawn up for B2B (business-to-business) purposes, for example, between manufacturers and wholesalers or wholesalers and retailers. The white paper's primary goal is to persuade the other party to buy into the offering, whether a customer, investor, or company.

Regarding B2B white papers, there are three main categories: backgrounders for explaining technical aspects of a proposal. Then there are numbered lists, which present a list of key points regarding the offering. Finally, problem/solution white papers focus on tackling a specific technical problem using a unique solution.

These white papers don't always have a clear sales pitch or focus. Their main aim is to dive deeply into complex subject matter such as cloud security, hybrid clouds, and the economic benefits of adopting cloud computing, to name a few.

The World of Crypto and White Papers

The term 'white papers' is probably most closely associated with cryptocurrency. Most digital asset developers look to release their white papers to explain their technology, purpose, and rationale.

Potential investors then can educate themselves and see if this project is something they want to invest their money into. From data ranging from statistics, detailed diagrams, and different formulas, crypto white papers are a wealth of knowledge and not for the weak of heart.

Hungry for more? Join me each week, where I'll break down complex topics and dissect the latest news within the cybersecurity industry and blockchain ecosystem, simplifying the world of tech.

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