One of the many legal marketing pieces that can establish you as an expert within your legal niche, a white paper is an educational piece that presents solutions to a reader’s pain points or problem. When written well, white papers can be incredibly effective at engaging audiences and positioning you as an expert in your legal niche. The information below outlines the anatomy of a compelling white paper and gives you a template to use.
Attention-Grabbing Title: Draw the Reader In
Like the subject line of an email, the title either draws the reader in or pushes them away, so be sure to quickly address a pain point or tease an irresistible topic. One example of this with a personal injury firm is “What You Need to Know About Medicare When Your Medical Bills Are Piling Up.”
Underneath the title(s) is the author byline, which is an opportunity to credit your firm and brand the piece.
Abstract and/or Introduction: Explain Further to Ensure Reading
An abstract is a brief paragraph that presents the value of your white paper, highlighting findings in an attempt to convince people to read. An introduction is like a watered down version of an abstract—it reviews the reader’s pain points, outlines the purpose of the white paper, outlines a brief strategy for addressing the problem at hand, and most importantly, catches the reader’s attention.
An abstract isn’t strictly necessary but it can help increase readership. Try featuring one in a legal marketing email to convince recipients to provide an email address for access to the full paper, for instance. Always include an introduction before jumping into the body content of your white paper.
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Body: Solve Their Problem
The “meat” of a white paper should cover a few key elements:
- The reader’s problem or pain points
- The value of addressing this issue
- The solution to the problem
Here are a few strategies for hitting all of these elements in an organized, efficient, and compelling manner.
- Make an outline with sections, subsections, and descriptive headers
Dividing the white paper into sections provides structure so readers can more easily internalize important points and want to keep reading.
- Employ statistics and quotations
Statistics and formal research can be particularly powerful within legal white papers, and quotations from attorneys within your firm can’t hurt either. Just don’t forget to credit all sources.
- Present a clear solution
Don’t make readers work for it. Use graphics and images if necessary to simplify complex information.
Conclusion: Reexamine and Summarize
The conclusion should wrap up everything presented in previous sections, such as the reader’s pain points, the objective of the white paper, and most effective solutions. This is also the perfect time to tell readers where they can find further resources—your website and blog! Just don’t go overboard on the legal marketing and push your services too hard here; let the value of the white paper speak for itself, convincing readers that you are the best resource to help them with their problem.
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