This is a problem faced by a lot of writers, and we decided to solve it.
As a content writer, with deadlines over our heads, we usually want a good pile of information stacked in one place (not all of us have teams to do extra work, right? 🙃)
But as we were discovering the different ways to find the best topics for writing whitepapers, we were surprised to find that there was no single guide that covered in detail about white papers.
If you’ve faced this same problem as well, congratulations. 🎊 You wouldn’t have to surf any other website after this one to find good topics for your white paper.
But before we get into that, let’s talk about what white papers are used for and why are they even important?
Purpose of a White Paper
Traditionally, organizations and corporations used White Papers to advocate their target audience or potential clients about their perspective with in-depth and well-researched information.
White papers were used to claim that a certain product or service was the best solution for a particular problem. The claim was of course backed by authentic data and statistics.
Actually, it was used as a political manifesto or a legislative document that backed to provide a solution to a problem.
But that’s not everything that white papers can do today.
With the internet revolution, white papers are now changed from just a data-rich, authoritative document to a marketing tool.
Businesses now use whitepaper as an advanced problem-solving guide.
What led to the use of white papers in marketing was a demand for a more comprehensive approach, that is:
- Centered towards the industry
- Provides extensive information
- Addresses the problem, and
- Presents a practical solution to it
And a white paper checked them all.
At the core, irrespective of whom it’s targeted at, a white paper has to solve some sort of a problem.
Without knowing the problem, why would anyone read a white paper?
So ask yourself:
Do you really need to write a white paper?
If yes, why?
You need to analyze whether your corporation really has a problem to address that the market is currently facing.
Based on that you need to plan how in-depth your white paper needs to be and what all will it address. So start by creating a list of essential topics.
Now that you know what all you are supposed to work on, you are good to go on the next step to find good topics for white papers.
A white paper should guide the readers towards a solution, and thus your research should be more solution-centric.
And here’s how you can not only just find topic ideas for your white paper, but also find data and statistics supporting that topic:
1. Steal from your competition
When it comes to finding a topic and content related to it, your competitor can be your best friend 👫.
You can take inspiration from the white papers released by your competition as it will help you find:
What kind of content works:
And by finding what is working for your competitors, you can work towards creating something similar but better.
What are the strategies being followed:
This will help you find the information required to make your white paper more appealing and updated with the latest data.
What information you are missing:
Surely, there are some pieces of information you are bound to miss the first time. But by going through your competitor’s work, you can easily find these missing gaps.
When you review already published research, based on the topics of your company’s interests, you will find the facts, trends, statistics, and findings you need to back up your claims, in your white paper.
By gathering all this data, and using it to solve the problem you want with your white paper, you can come up with a lot of topics along with the relevant data that you can present to the world and make an impact on your business.
2. Best Performing Blog Posts
The best way to save your time on research and find good white paper topics is to have a look at your best-performing blog posts, or of your competition’s (if you don’t have your own)
If people have been sharing it on social media or they’ve been receiving a good amount of traffic to a post (you can check that using a spy tool), it proves that people are searching for it.
So why not repurpose the information in the blog post into a white paper?
The extra step that you should do here is to research for up-to-date information and statistics to back up that blog post, and format it like how a white paper should be.
You can also add in some of the comments on the blog post to prove how this topic is of significance and what do people think about it. This will add to the authenticity of your white paper.
A clever way to find out the topic idea for a white paper, isn’t it?
3. Comments Section of Blog Posts
Just like you can take inspiration from a blog post, you can also seek it from the comments section of blogs related to your industry.
And not only blog comments, but you can also check out the comments on social media handles of your own company or of others in your industry.
The best thing about comments is that you get honest feedback from the people who care. 👩🏻⚕️
With a variety of opinions, points of view, and perspectives, one can easily understand the content gap there.
Sometimes, people post really good questions that they need answers to, and sometimes they criticize something or the other. You can observe these comments and come up with a topic that people are really struggling with.
And when you put in the effort to present a solution backed with data and research, people are going to love it.
4. Forums and Q&A Platforms
The next place to look in for inspiration for your next white paper are platforms like Quora, Reddit, AnswerThePublic, etc.
These are the platforms where people have created threads about a question that they need an answer to, which basically means a problem they need a solution to, and that is exactly what you are looking for isn’t it?
There are different kinds of forums and Q&A sites across the internet, where some are generic while some are industry-specific.
So, depending on the industry you want to write a white paper for, do a Google search and discover platforms where people have poured their hearts out with the problems they are facing.
5. Keyword Research Tools
Another way yet the best way to search for a topic for your white paper is by performing Keyword Research.
It is not something that only bloggers and SEO experts can do to rank their websites in the search engines but can also be used by content writing agencies like us to find what people are searching for.
So head over to a keyword tool like Google Keyword Planner, UberSuggest, Keywords Everywhere, SEMrush, etc and enter in your industry’s or company’s seed keywords.
With all the results that pop up, look out for a topic that a lot of people are searching about. Try to find long-tail keywords, with at least 4-5 words, such that you can find something specific to write about in your white paper and not something vague and broad.
With keyword research tools you can collect endless topics for your white paper.
Now we are sure that you can find the topic for your white paper easily, but we don’t want to end our journey this quickly.
So, as a parting gift, we want to give you some bonus tips for drafting your white paper. Check them out right away:
- Add authority to your white paper
- Research from the reputed sites
- Hunt for internal research, reports, tables, charts, and publications, that present your unique take on the topic of your white paper
- Have interviews or interactions with the subject-matter experts. They can tell you more information about what others can’t
- Along with data, facts, statistics, graphs, etc, make it engaging for your audience
- Experiment with the typography, graphics in relation to your industry.
- Make use of the information discussed in openly available conferences, webinars and other events.
- Remember, you have access to the publicly available information. So do your competitors. What will make you stand out is your level of creativity and the way you use the sources available.
With all the tips in your kitty, uncover the white paper topics people are talking about and evoke industry discussions through your white paper.
It’s your chance, make it work.
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