5 Tips for Writing Better Cyber Security White Papers

Cyber security white papers - person reading text on a Kindle

Quality Cyber Security White Papers Generate Quality Leads

White papers have become a popular marketing tool for cyber security firms, software developers, and other businesses in the IT sector. A well-written white paper can help your company establish thought leadership, bolster off-page SEO, and generate quality leads, but a poorly written, unprofessional paper could damage your reputation and turn off potential customers. What distinguishes poor cyber security white papers from winning ones? Keep these five tips in mind.

1. Pick a Topic that Addresses Your Customers’ Pain Points

Sales is all about identifying your customer’s pain points and illustrating how your product or service can relieve that pain. This is especially true in the information security sector, which is all about keeping businesses from getting hacked and keeping them in compliance with industry and regulatory standards. The first step to generating a good white paper is to ask yourself who your customer base is and which specific security issues they are struggling with. Are they overwhelmed by compliance costs? Are they scrambling to defend against ransomware attacks? Is IoT security about to become a huge problem for them?

2. Don’t Confuse White Papers With Sales Sheets and Marketing Collateral

While the bottom-line purpose of a white paper is to generate leads, white papers are not sales sheets or product brochures. Cyber security white papers that do nothing but talk about the issuing company’s product or service and how great it is are advertisements, not white papers, and they do not get read. The bulk of your white paper should be devoted to addressing your readers’ problem and exploring potential solutions, not repeatedly plugging your product or service.

3. Grab Your Audience’s Attention with a Strong Title and Introduction

The most important part of a white paper is the title; the second most important is the introduction. Remember that the target audience for cyber security white papers, IT decision-makers, are very busy people who are already drowning in reading material. Your paper has only a few seconds to pique their interest and make them want to continue reading.

4. Make Sure Your White Paper is Authoritative, Substantial, and Professional

White papers cannot be slapped together overnight and on the cheap. A quality white paper could take several weeks to research, write, edit, proofread, and format. The content must be original, substantial, and reference other authoritative sources, preferably peer-reviewed research studies or industry reports. The written content must do more than regurgitate what the references already said; it must provide further insight into the issue. Preferably, the paper should include charts and graphs that enhance the text by reinforcing the most important facts and figures. Finally, the English must be flawless, with no spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors.

5. Segue into How Your Product or Service Can Help at the End

At the end of your white paper, and only at the end, you can finally get down to business and promote your product or service. If it was written properly, your paper has already hit your readers’ pain points and made them realize they need help solving their IT security or compliance issues. Now is the time to explain why your product or service can relieve their pain. Discuss the features and benefits, tying them back to the issues discussed in the paper. Make sure your company’s complete contact information – phone, email, web, and street address – is included on the final page.

White papers are popular because they work. Customers are tuning out online ads because no one likes reading sales materials. Everyone, especially in a sector as dynamic as cyber security, likes to read informative materials that will keep them apprised of current events that are relevant to their business. The time and monetary investment put into a quality white paper should come back to you several times over.

The cyber security marketing and content experts at Wild Owl Digital have deep experience working with information security and IT compliance firms to bolster SEO, build thought leadership, and drive qualified leads. Contact us today to inquire about our cyber security white papers writing services.