The true meaning of a whitepaper differs heavily from one industry to another. This makes it a tad confusing for marketers who are trying to create one for their business. So, what is a whitepaper? A whitepaper is an authoritative report or guide whose aim is to inform readers of an intricate issue succinctly. It’s also meant to help readers understand the issue, and make a decision or solve a problem.
Initially, a whitepaper referred to a type of government-issued document. However, the use of this term has since proliferated, taking on a new meaning in business, which is used as a type of marketing presentation. In business, a whitepaper is a marketing tool designed to persuade both partners and customers through the promotion of a product or viewpoint. In essence, you can consider a whitepaper as grey literature.
Writing whitepapers is quite a lucrative job that one could make a living from. However, for you to be successful, you need to understand the difference between normal writing and whitepaper writing, as well as the key elements.
Who needs whitepapers, and why are they important?
Whitepapers are one of the best ways a business can cement its position as an industry thought-leader. The biggest clients for whitepapers include IT and consulting industries, digital marketing and social media, corporate websites, and small to mid-sized businesses, among others. Empirically, a positive correlation exists between whitepaper publishing and enhancing the revenue of a business.
An even greater correlation exists between the number of published whitepapers, and the number of clients interested in the service or product offered. This means the more whitepapers a business publishes, the more leads it generates. Thus, their client base and revenues increase. Not only does this make whitepapers an effective tool for both entrepreneurs and organizations, but also creates job opportunities for writers who are interested in the field. Many companies are seeking out professional writers who can produce top-notch whitepapers.
Earning from writing whitepapers
It all comes down to how quickly you can get a project done, your understanding of the format, and the quality of your work.
A beginner might charge $3,000 for one project. A middle writer can charge $8,000, while an expert writer can charge upwards of $15,000 per project. It’s important to specialize in one niche so that you can write whitepapers in a reasonable period. The task will be easier and you won’t waste time familiarizing yourself with another industry. Writers with a portfolio website and a specific niche have a higher chance of landing high-paying clients.
As a beginner, your focus should be on establishing yourself as whitepaper writer. Start with creating a personal website, which clearly states your specialty. Add a few samples, and get ready to find clients. Writers with portfolio websites and a specific niche have a higher chance of landing high-paying clients. At first, you might not find the best-paying projects but you can use them later as testimonials on your website. Be fair with your pricing and remember you don’t have substantial experience. In addition, your client might be on a budget, and can’t afford to hire an experienced whitepaper writer. That being said, a beginner can charge around $3000 per project. The project might take about a month and, to be honest, 3K is actually a good pay. With time, you’ll have a developed a network, a strong specialty, and an established presence.
As an intermediate writer, you have been around for a while. You know where and how you landed your first client. You are probably still moving up the ladder. Since you have a bit of experience, your charge can be an average of $8,000 per project. As you build your reputation, and gain experience, you’ll be on your way to becoming an expert whitepaper writer.
For expert writers, their work is easy. They know the nuts and bolts of writing whitepapers like the back of their hands. Marketing their services is easy since their testimonials speak volumes about their expertise. Charging an average of $15000 per project, and completing a project in a much shorter period of time, means your earning potential can be around $30,000 to $60,000 per month.
Things that will make you a better whitepaper writer
As a writer, it’s important to know the basics of writing a whitepaper, and how valuable it is to your client. In addition, you need to understand the target audience for the whitepaper since this will allow you to come up with a nice structure, and relevant content for the paper.
Writing a good whitepaper requires you to liaise with your clients to ensure you get all the information required. You want the content of your whitepaper to be factual, and not include embellished or biased information.
After identifying your audience, you need to figure out the kind of information they require from your whitepaper. You should be able to identify the problems you can solve for them.
A good whitepaper should have the following:
– A working title or headline.
– A brief description of what the white paper will be about.
– An introduction.
– Section subheadings with further bullet points beneath.
– Break out boxes or sidebars containing data tables or additional information.
– A conclusion summarizing your major takeaways.
Why you should try writing whitepapers
If you are a writer who loves going into detail, then whitepaper writing is just the job for you. Whitepaper writing requires you to go into detail by describing what the problems are, and going a step further in giving detailed solutions.
Also, let us be honest here: the money can be great! If you are excellent at your job, you will be compensated accordingly. Finally, the greatest move a writer can make is to switch to a higher-paying type of writing. Of course, there will be a few rookie mistakes here and there but, eventually, you’ll end up making more money as a writer.
You can read more about whitepapers, and even see a template, HERE.
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Karoki Githure is a full-time freelance writer who is passionate writing about how to make a killing as a writer. When he is not writing, he is a diehard lover of music, novels, and adventures.
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