Are White Papers Just for Technology Companies?

By Michael Stelzner

Are you working for a company outside of high tech?  Maybe financial services, health care or manufacturing?  You might be wondering, “Are white papers useful for us?”

Heck, you might even be a freelance writer looking to write white papers for these non-tech spaces.  I’d like to address that here.

The question was spawned by a reader (we’ll call her Ruth S.) who wrote me and asked:

I’m a newbie white paper writer who wants to target the life sciences/biotech industry. Yes, I know there are many science writers working in this industry.

But I actually have an academic background (degrees) in this industry. I know that isn’t necessary, but I’m hoping it won’t hurt, and that it might even help.

So is there a market for biotech white papers? Do you have any contacts in the industry? Can you help me get my foot in the biotech white paper door?

Wonderful question Ruth!  Here’s my response:

First yes, the biotech industry is a place that can benefit from white papers.  In fact, I’ve even crafted some myself for this space.  Indeed any industry that sells complex or expensive products and services will benefit from white papers.

Why?  Because the sales cycle is long and people (think buyers) need more evidence before they close the deal.

Industry Validation

Now you might want to do a market validation by simply searching Google for biotech white papers.  In fact I quickly found this resource and this one.

Doing some simple research will help you target businesses who use white papers in your industry and establish a hit list of competitors who “do not.”  With that list you can begin pitching to those who do not, dropping the names of their competitors who do.

Once you find a few hot ones, I would consider doing a paper for next to nothing to get your foot in the door.  Make them agree to give you an endorsement if they like your work and allow you to showcase it.

I hope this helps you get started!

If you’re reading this post and have any tips to help Ruth (or you just have something to say), please comment below.

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  • http://twitter.com/wordzopolis Jennifer Woodard

    Michael,

    Doing some simple research will help you target businesses who use white papers in your industry and establish a hit list of competitors who “do not.” With that list you can begin pitching to those who do not, dropping the names of their competitors who do.

    This is very good advice and a tactic that I plan to use. Thanks for the helpful information.

    If you have never written a white paper, what are some ways to convince prospects that you are the person to write a white paper for them besides offering your services very cheaply?

    Jenn

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Jennifer!

  • http://writingblog.johnwhitepaper.com/ John White

    Jennifer:

    Low price is probably not the best way into this writing niche.

    Who says you haven't written a white paper before? Have you ever written anything more than 6 pages in length? That's the length at which this category picks up, so if you have samples of commercial content that describe (and preferably, persuade), that's what you need a white paper to do. Dust it off and put it in your trophy case.

  • http://writingblog.johnwhitepaper.com/ John White

    Jennifer:

    Low price is probably not the best way into this writing niche.

    Who says you haven't written a white paper before? Have you ever written anything more than 6 pages in length? That's the length at which this category picks up, so if you have samples of commercial content that describe (and preferably, persuade), that's what you need a white paper to do. Dust it off and put it in your trophy case.