Should I Keep the Writing in the White Paper Simple?

3 Jun
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I have been asked this question by both writers and clients. The reason why people think the language in a white paper should be a little more complicated is because of all the hype about it. They’ve heard that it’s one of the most powerful marketing tools therefore they think that it would be better to use sophisticated language that will reflect on the company and make it look sophisticated too. Also using the sophisticated language will help differentiate it from the other marketing materials which are kept as simple as possible.


They normally plan to make their white paper their most important marketing tool. Therefore they think that using complicated language is a necessity.


But they haven’t thought about the most important factor which differentiates these papers from most marketing materials – which is the length. These papers are normally ten to fourteen pages long, which is longer than most of your other marketing materials. First your reader should want to read your white paper. After they start reading your paper it needs to be able to hold their attention for as long as possible.


This is the reason why you need to keep it as simple as possible. Once you start using jargon and sophisticated words to make your white paper sound sophisticated, you will lose your reader. When your reader comes across a word they don’t understand, they won’t look it up on the internet or in a dictionary. They will just ignore the word and read on and when they come across the next complicated word, they will realize that this document is strewn with complicated words, so they will just get rid of it  and will start reading some other marketing material that makes sense.


This is the reason why it’s more important to keep the language in these papers simpler than any other marketing material. If you come across technical jargon, research all you can about it and look up the meaning and write it in its simplest form possible. If you come across a complicated word, look for its simplest meaning in the dictionary and use it.


If you keep your language as simple as possible you can be sure that every bit of the paper will be read and it will work its wonder.


Hope you enjoyed reading this article?


To find out more about these papers read our white paper “Understand and Write White Papers”.