White Paper Length: How Long Should it be?

7 Jun
2011
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The length of the white paper normally averages between 3 and 14 pages, but I have read papers that reach the extremes. The shortest paper I have read was less than a page and the longest one I have read was more than 60 pages. That was a B2C paper though. The longest B2B white paper I have read was about 30 pages long.

 

When I write a white paper, I do my best to maintain the length between 3 and 14 pages, as I think that’s the perfect length. Anything longer or smaller than that will affect its quality. Your document needs to be at least three to four pages long for it to describe a problem and solve it and after that you need to write about the product/service too.

 

Your paper might look like a big task that never ends if it is longer than 14 pages. It might discourage the reader from reading it. If your document gets out of hand and becomes too long, then the best thing to do is to divide it into two or more papers. This way your reader can choose the topics they are interested in and read them.

 

Important Length Determining Factors

 

While deciding the length of the white paper many factors have to be taken into consideration. You need to take a look at the product and decide on all the information you plan to add; do you want to write any definitions, any product or market history etc. You also need to ask the company if they have a certain length in mind as you’re writing it for them. The other thing you need to think about is the audience as it’s them you’re writing it for. You need to decide if your audience would be ready to read a long paper or if they would prefer a short and quick one.

 

The main factor that affects the length is the benefits. You need to do all the research you can and find out all the benefits of the product/service. The best thing to do is write down all the benefits on a piece of paper. Using this you can create all the solutions and related problems. To find out more about how to do this please read my paper “Understand and Write White papers”. The number of these problems and the solutions should control the length of the document.

 

The fewer the number of problems and solutions the shorter the papers can be and the more the number of problems and solutions the longer the papers can be. If you have too many of these problems and solutions the best thing to do is to separate them into categories and write them in a series of papers.

 

Therefore the length of these papers is directly proportional to the number of benefits offered by the product/service.

 

Hope this article was helpful?

 

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

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