Laying Out Your White Paper

The design and formatting of your white paper play a crucial role in its readability and visual appeal. A well-designed white paper not only enhances the user experience but also reinforces your brand identity and professionalism. 

How it looks will determine, to a large degree, how far the reader gets in the document. Most will not read the entire paper.

This confuses and annoys some of our clients. They want to know why they are paying for a white paper and going through the process of researching and writing one. They’re right to ask.

The white paper is the foundational document for a company offering that solves a significant prospect problem. No one will read the paper and try to solve the problem on their own. They’ve been trying that and failing. What they want is to learn enough in your paper to convince themselves that you are an option and then give you a call.

Do you care whether they read the whole paper, 65% of the paper or just the first section before they call you? You just want them to call you.

Still, we have to make sure they read long enough to make that call, so layout is important. Consider the following design and formatting tips:

Use a consistent visual style

Create a visually appealing and consistent design throughout your white paper. Use a consistent color scheme, typography, and layout to create a cohesive and professional look. Ensure that your design elements align with your brand identity and reflect the tone of your content.

Break up text with visuals

As mentioned earlier, incorporating visuals such as charts, graphs, and infographics can enhance the readability and impact of your white paper. Place visuals strategically throughout the white paper to break up text and provide visual interest.

Use white space

White space, also known as negative space, refers to the empty space between elements of your design. It helps improve readability and makes your content easier on the eyes. Use ample white space to separate sections, paragraphs, and visuals.

Include a table of contents

If your white paper is lengthy, include a table of contents at the beginning to provide a quick overview of the sections and subheadings. This allows readers to navigate the white paper easily and find the information they are looking for.

Optimize for digital reading

Many readers access white papers online or on digital devices. Optimize your white paper for digital reading by using a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes. Ensure that your fonts, images, and layout are easily readable on mobile devices.

Because we cascade out our white papers, providing more than 30 pieces of additional content for every white paper we write, we don’t need the reader to absorb every word of the white paper to ensure its success. But we do want them to learn from it, enjoy the process of reading it and maybe even pass it on to others, so layout is very important.

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