How to write an effective white paper (according to Michael A. Stelzner)

Cómo escribir un white paper efectivo (según Michael A. Stelzner)

If you want to learn how to write white papers, you must read the Gordon Graham’s book. But there is another “heavyweight” on the market: Michael A. Stelzner. Like Gordon Graham, he has also bequeathed us his knowledge.

Versión en español

Gordon Graham wrote the most complete and detailed book you can find about white papers. There are 19 chapters full of advice, recommendations, experiences, definitions and examples.

But we need a structured summary that orders what we have read. And this is what we find in the book written by Michael A. Stelzner.

(Writing White Papers: How to capture readers and Keep them Engaged)

The book catches you from the beginning. The author introduces you to the topic, step by step, and explains it in a clear and logical way. So much, that in the end, you realize how everything fits and that you are ready to write your first white paper.

Unlike Gordon’s book, the digital version is not available on Amazon. You have to visit a website to buy it. Its price, $ 25, is high for a book written in 2007. But you will not regret it!

Light on the road

Learning to write a white paper is no easy task. Both authors state this. But they teach you that in their way.

While Gordon emphasizes each of the details, Michael summarizes them.

Gordon uses his advice and experiences; for Michael, the examples are the priority.

Gordon gives you freedom to organize your text; Michael uses templates to guide you.

Not everything is perfect

There are two book flaws that I would highlight.

Michael is no longer writing white papers. And all the information that his company gathered is no longer available to the public. I’m talking about, reports, forums, and blog posts.

And that is evident in the book because almost all links are dead. Some because the source changed them. Others because the website of that company no longer exists.

The book focuses on one type of white papers: the so-called problem/solution. And it does not analyze the other two, numbered list and backgrounder.

But to write a problem/solution text is a real challenge for writers. Then, we must consider Michael’s preference as a limitation of the book? I would say yes and no, depending on the point of view with which to look at it.

Final words

You have these two books at your disposal to learn how to write white papers

Those books are enough.

I recommend reading Gordon’s book first and then Michael’s.

In that order.

But when you start writing your first white paper, follow the reverse order. Use the templates of Michael and consult Gordon’s book to clarify doubts. That in the beginning, there will be many.

Follow their advice, and you soon will start writing useful whites papers.

The main image is courtesy of Pixabay

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About author

Jorge Luis Alonso G. is a freelance writer and blogger based in Argentina. He specializes in writing white papers (English and Spanish) and reuses its content in blog posts and articles to newsletters, magazines or newspapers. Also, he writes content for websites.

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