4 Things to Look for to Land a Great White Paper Writer

7/08/22

White papers are incredibly technical documents that are helpful for the reader and move them through the customer journey. They’re great for acquiring new leads and closing sales….but only if you have a great white paper writer. The ability to provide helpful information while subliminally nurturing a sale isn’t a skill all copywriters have. 

A great white paper writer can deliver a stack of well-researched and engaging pages that capture the true essence of your brand ethos and position you center stage as the only and long-awaited answer to your customer’s problems. 

The first step to finding the right writer for your project is to outline what you’re looking for in a writer. 

Pro Tip: There are (at least) four things every white paper copywriter you work with must have. These tips will save you time and help you eliminate writers who might not actually be ready to take on a white paper. Once you understand what to look for, you’ll be ready to start interviewing writers.

Here’s what to look for!

#1: Experience Writing in Your Industry

If you’re reading this, there’s a high likelihood you’re a sustainable home builder, agriculture specialist, waste diversion expert, or product designer. That’s what I write in. And if you’re looking for a white paper, you sell valuable services and/or products to other businesses. 

When searching for a writer who can boost your revenue, you’re going to want to choose an expert in your industry—someone who eats, sleeps, and breathes sustainability. If sustainability isn’t your industry, feel free to insert your industry every time we say “sustainability” from here on. 

Look for a writer who is fluent in your industry’s jargon and has a general familiarity with your target audience. A writer who’s niched in your industry will be able to hit the ground running on your project, without having to sort out the differences between ESGs and the EPA. They also might have helpful insight into your industry that could better support your white paper research.  

Whether you’re using a white paper to grow your email list or nurture leads into becoming high-paying customers, having an industry expert on your team is your express ticket to customer loyalty, bigger checks, increased authority and more referrals.

It’s worth it to narrow down your search to a copywriter in your niche to support your white paper projects.

A white paper writer with experience can make all the difference in your final product.

#2: Experience Writing White Papers

There is one exception to the niched copywriter… and it’s the second thing to look for in a copywriter. Try and find a writer who has experience writing white papers. If white papers is the only service a writer you find provides, and they crank out drafts for multiple industries, you can likely trust them with your white paper. 

In the copywriting world, this is called “vertical” niching, which means they’ve niched in writing one type of copy for any industry. Copywriters who have niched “horizontally” will write different types of copy in one industry. 

If you find a copywriter with white paper experience in your industry, then you’ve likely found your perfect fit. If this type of writer isn’t an option for you, consider these questions during your copywriter search:

  • What experience does the writer have with writing white papers in your industry?
  • How in-depth and involved is their research process?
  • Are they adept at transforming dense information into appealing long-form content?

Prescreening for a quality writer will make a big difference in the long run. During the writing process you won’t have to do any hand holding. Less calls and less emails is a win for everyone. You can hand your white paper project over and rest assured that your pages will be written well.

Expert storytelling + extensive research + sustainable know-how = helpful and snore-proof compelling content

Whether this is your business’s first white paper or you’ve published several already, an experienced writer can give creative direction, help you exceed your business goals, and get more money rolling in. 

#3: The Right Pricing 

It’s no secret that high-converting white papers can sometimes be a significant investment. Copywriters charge anywhere from $500 to $1,000/page for this type of writing. And with white papers, on average, running 6-10 pages, you’re looking at a $3,000 to $10,000+ investment. For a high-quality copywriter, set aside a budget for at least $8,000. 

While you can find a diamond in the rough with a little luck, do your best to steer clear of content mills. Leverage your network, your LinkedIn, or do a quick Google search to connect with reputable white paper writers. 

And, if you do end up going the content mill route, as tempting as it may be, don’t give your project to the lowest bidder. The quality you get likely won’t be what you need. And nothing is more frustrating than having to pay for the same thing twice. 

The value you get in return from working with a more expensive, experienced copywriter will be well worth the investment.

In fact, when done right, employing the skills of an expert copywriter can turn your business into a trusted and valued authority in the B2B space and skyrocket your ROI.

Be prepare to invest $5,000+ in an experienced white paper writer.

#4: A Professional When it Comes to Their Business  

You want your white paper to get read and be a part of the influential content that drives 71% of B2B purchases. But, you’re not going to pull percentages like that with any copywriter. 

It’s important to find a white paper copywriter who is professional and makes the process easy. You’ll want to hop on an initial call with your writer to get an idea of their process and determine if they’re a good fit.

Consider…

  • What’s their onboarding process and how will they get up to speed?
  • How will they communicate with you throughout the process? 
  • Are they able to set clear expectations and guide you through the drafting process?
  • Can they take tough feedback and line edits to polish up the final draft?
  • Are they open to communicating with a designer to ensure a seamless transition? 
  • Do they dig deep, strategize with you, and give your project their full attention?
  • Are they on time to the call, professional, and someone you’d like to work with for an extended period of time?

While they’re not a direct hire, you’ll still be spending a lot of time with your white paper writer. Make sure they’re someone who will be pleasant to spend one to two months working with. The professional and culture fit is almost as important as their industry and white paper writing experience. 

If you’re ready to start a white paper, or simply want to talk shop in further detail when it comes to white papers, schedule a quick 1:1 call with me. 

I’d love to meet you and see if I could be of assistance with your next white paper project! 

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