The Revolutionary White Paper — To guide your prospects to the seismic change you want them to undergo. Part 2 in a continuing series of white paper outlines, each with a different structure and focus.
This white paper outline is about The Revolution that your new ideas and technologies ignite in your customers’ organization.
Suppose you want your prospects to:
- replace a zillion spreadsheets with a customer relationship management (CRM) package
- move from a central headquarters to a virtual structure
- switch from Office 365 to Google
- change from Python to Clojure
When your product or service disrupts the way in which your buyers perform basic business functions, you should create a story around it that tells them what they’re in for. A revolutionary change is going to affect People, Process and Technology, and this is the structure on which you’ll base your white paper.
The same things that apply to the white paper outline for the educational white paper apply here. You’ll establish the people-process-technology theme in the summary and maintain it in your structure throughout the paper.
IMPORTANT: Avoid talking about your product or service by name. This white paper outline is about The Revolution that you occasion, but it’s not specifically about your features and functionality. Leave those for your brochures.
Then dive in. Assume your readers already know what has their hair on fire, are familiar with The Revolution, and want to know how it is going to affect their…
First talk about people. Describe how to sell the revolution to different groups in the organization. If people don’t get on board, then process and technology won’t matter very much.
Use a series of quotations – real and imagined – to give a voice to objections, warnings, praises, recommendations and water-cooler talk about The Revolution:
- “We don’t need agile development because our release cycles are so long.”
- “Our QA staff is stretched too thin as it is. The added workload of migration would break us.”
- “We want to spend less on trade shows but aren’t sure that social media is where we should put those dollars.”
- “We’ve already switched to authoring in DITA/XML tools, but our team is still doing things pretty much the same as before, only more slowly.”
- “We need to get our overseas offices on board with going paperless.”
You’ll build the People section around those quotations, ending with a brief segue into…
The Revolution will introduce new vocabulary and new workflow to your readers’ organization. In this section, define that vocabulary in your own terms (this is stealth branding) and outline that workflow as you’ve seen it play out with your other customers.
For example, client Service-now.com reinforces the message that the most successful implementations of its IT service management platform rely on putting processes in place first. Outline those processes in this section as a series of easy-to-read steps.
Assuming The Revolution has a technology component, it comes last in the white paper outline. Now that you’ve addressed the People’s fears and the novelty of Processes, describe the software, hardware, machinery, materials and capital expansion required:
- cooling towers
- data center equipment
- earth-moving equipment
- gas turbines
- rubber bands and staplers
- cloud computing resources
If The Revolution is a service, explain the steps for implementing it:
- 30-minute interviews with executive staff
- recorded depositions
- subterranean termite inspections
This isn’t the place for the bill of materials, but you should list anything required to get The Revolution going successfully in terms that make both business and technical sense.
The Revolutionary White Paper tells us what we can expect
List some of the business and technical benefits customers have experienced. Use pull-quotes. Refer and hyperlink to case studies and success stories.
But soft-pedal mention of your product or service, because the essence of the paper is still The Revolution. Don’t worry: your readers know where to find you.
Conclusion and Follow Us
Use these sections to briefly tie up the white paper outline and invite readers to follow you. Your “Follow Us” section should be boilerplate, with the usual pointers: social media, web, e-mail, phone.
Again, let other marketing pieces specifically describe your product or service. The goal of this white paper is to convince readers that nobody knows more about The Revolution than you do.
How about that? The result is a white paper outline you can circulate. When you colleagues review it, they will be able to see the path down which you intend to take the readers of your revolutionary white paper. Once you have their feedback, you can start on the draft.
Next: The Vindication White Paper: Seven Myths Outline