What Is A White Paper
Chances are you’ve probably heard this term, even if you’ve never paid too much attention to what it means. Basically, a “white paper” is just a specific type of report. Importantly though, it’s a report with a mission – to act as a powerful marketing tool. Typically they’ll be about 4-10 pages long, but can in fact range from something resembling a 2 page flyer, to as much as a 100 page book.
Check out these white papers, written for the healthcare industry, to give you an idea of what they can look like.
You’ll find them used by all kinds of business organizations, and the medical industry is no exception, and healthcare, biotechnology and pharmaceutical organizations in particular benefit from their use. They are are used as a marketing aid in many areas of these organizations, from financing to new drugs, or even new medical devices.
So How Do They Work?
White papers are often described as being a cross between a magazine article and a brochure:
- The Magazine Article: Typically the report opens up with this portion, educating the reader about a problem that is affecting them, and suggesting potential solutions.
- The Brochure: This portion closes out the report, and is where it switches to describe a product or service provided by the company – something that can provide a solution to one of the problems described earlier. It tends to support its message with well-researched facts and data.
The number one focus in medical marketing is to produce a well-constructed white paper that propels a product along a pathway to a final sale. It needs to convince the buyer that the product is of some benefit to them. There’s a fine line to walk, however, since the pitch needs to be “just right”.
Most importantly the white paper needs to be readable to allow the potential buyer to develop trust and confidence in the product or service on offer. It needs to engage the customer, providing evidence that it can serve a purpose for them.
In summary, white papers are used to educate their readers and hopefully help them to make an informed decision on why a company’s specific product or service should be used. If the paper is intended for the general public, it should not be too medical jargon-filled, and it certainly shouldn’t read as a report with an overwhelming sales pitch that drowns the reader.
Why Do Medical Writers Need To Know About Them?
If you’re a medical writer, it’s worth knowing about white papers because they represent a great source of business for you. You don’t even have to be a scientist or even a medical writer to write white papers for the medical industry – you just need to be able to write persuasive copy using a tone that is appropriate for the intended audience. But your scientific background can certainly come in useful.
So if you haven’t already done so, it’s certainly worth using your medical writing skills to tap into this market.
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