White Paper Editing Basics

by admin on February 25, 2011

So you—or your boss—have decided your business needs to have a white paper, but you’re not sure exactly what’s involved in writing one. What IS a white paper? Where did the name originate? And, more importantly, how does one go about writing and editing a white paper?

Let’s begin with the obvious—a brief explanation of what a white paper is. It’s a heavily-researched, issue-oriented report used as often to inform as to serve as a sales and marketing tool. White papers can be written by individuals, committees, researchers…pretty much anyone who can write with any degree of authority on a specific topic, without being heavy-handed and really obvious with the sales pitch, if there is one. (And let’s face it, even if the topic is a social and not a business issue, there’s still some “selling” involved in coaxing the reader to the desired point of view or conclusion.)

As for the name…well, guess what?  A white paper is bound with—you guessed it: white paper!  Such a simple explanation for a term that has acquired some degree of mystique!

Okay, now we know generally what a white paper is and why it’s called that, so how does one write such a weighty tome? Research, research, research!

What, you thought there was an easier way? Remember, your goal is to convince people to invest in your business or that your solution is the perfect one for that particular societal problem—or something along those lines. In order to accomplish either of those tasks or anything similar, you have to become an “instant expert” on the topic at hand, and that requires facts—lots of ‘em. You can use Google, JStor, Google Scholar, or any other reliable source of information to gather data, but just remember that all that data must be reliable and stand up to independent verification by the reader.  In other words, if you’re not sure of the source or can’t document a statistic properly, it might be best not to use it. Here’s a website that offers further advice on how to organize your white paper: how to write a white paper/ .

Geez, sounds like you’re back in college writing a research paper, doesn’t it?

Well…for all intents and purposes, that’s exactly what you’re doing! A white paper is just a fancy name for a research paper, only in this case, it’s not a grade you’re after, it’s a promotion…or, not to put any undue pressure or anything on you, but maybe simple job retention!

So…now you’ve got your white paper well-written and properly referenced…or do you and is it? How can you be sure? Your professional reputation could very well ride on this one document, so how can you ensure that it’s as perfect as possible?

Why not hire a professional editing firm such as Professional Editing Services (professional editing services) to smooth out the rough edges on your work? Now, keep in mind, professional editors are just that—editors. They don’t do the research or write the paper for you, but they can make sure your references are all consistently formatted, using whatever style guide (APA, MLA, etc.) you prefer, and they can check little nit-picky things like grammar, spelling and punctuation errors that an electronic spellcheck might have missed. They can also edit for clarity, reduce excess verbiage, and even reword or rewrite sentences when necessary.

Don’t leave your white paper—and your professional reputation—to chance: Hire a professional editor and rest easy knowing that your work will receive the attention to detail that it deserves!

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