Category Archives: White Papers

Follow this Basic Style Guide for Writing in APA

by My Web Writers

Image Courtesy of the American Psychological Association- APAstyle.org

APA style is used broadly among academics, students, and researchers working in the social sciences and allows for the proper citation of the findings of others in a recognizable format. APA style breaks papers into manageable sections that help writers to effectively organize their thoughts and allow readers to more easily navigate material. Here are the basics to get you started.

APA papers should…

–          Be typed with 12-point font.

–          Use 8.5 x 11 inch paper with one-inch margins.

–          Contain a running header. The header should include the title of the paper flushed left and the paper number flushed right. The title page should be numbered page 1.

–          Contain four sections: Title Page, Abstract, Main Body, and References.

Title Page

–          The title page should contain the running head. Note that the title should be in all capital letters.

–          The following—title, authors first, last name, and middle initial if applicable, and institution affiliation—should be centered at the upper half of the paper and should appear on separate lines.

–          The title page should be double spaced.

Running Head: TITLE OF YOUR PAPER                                             1

Title

Betty Ann Sue

University of the North Pole

Abstract

–          An abstract should be between 150 – 200 words.

–          It should include a summary of the paper’s main research points.

–          Do not indent the abstract.

–          List key words at the bottom of the text by indenting, writing keywords in italics and then listing them.

 Main Body

–          The paper should begin with the title centered below the header.

–          Use headings for each section of the paper.

–          Double space.

In-Text Citations

In-text citations include the author’s last name, year of publication and page number. The year of publication is specifically important to the social science field because it helps readers to quickly identify whether or not research is current. Here are a few samples.

According to Patterson (2001), “The subjects exhibited nervous behavior in unfamiliar environments” (p. 56).

Patterson (2001) found that “the subjects exhibited nervous behavior in unfamiliar environments” (p. 56); this is different from his earlier studies.

He stated, “The subjects exhibited nervous behavior in unfamiliar environments” (Patterson, 2001, p. 56); this is different from his earlier studies.

Reference List

–          The reference list appears on a separate sheet at the end of the paper.

–          The title should be centered and plain text.

–          Citations should be double-spaced with no extra spaces between citations.

–          Entries should be alphabetized by the last name of the first author listed for each resource.

–          Make sure you have an entry for each resource cited in your text.

–          For entries that are more than one line, all the subsequent lines should be indented one-half inch.

–          EasyBib is a free site that generates reference pages in a variety of writing styles. Using this resource may save time when compiling a reference list.

Check out the basic web and book formats below.

The format for citing a web resource is:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online Periodical, volume number (issue number if available). Retrieved from http://www.includeaddresswithfullurl

The format for citing a book is:

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.

~Lindsey

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Filed under Citing Sources, Expository Writing, Persuasive Essay, Research Tips, Revising & Proofreading, Technical Writing, The Writing Process, White Papers

White Papers à la Persuasive Essay

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Looking for a great model for the structure of your white paper? Look to the way in which one writes a persuasive essay. After all, as Michael Stelzner, a leading authority on the topic of writing white papers, states in his pdf entitled How to Write a White Paper, “[a] white paper must contain informative and persuasive information. The goal of a white paper is to lead the reader toward the conclusion that your product or service will best meet his or her needs.” Similarly, a persuasive essay also aims to persuade the reader to adopt a certain point of view or to take a particular action. Given that white papers and persuasive essays share the common goal of shaping a view point, then following the structure of a persuasive essay results in the kind of compelling white paper that you want. Let’s look at the crucial components needed in the construction of a successful persuasive essay and transfer them to the creation of a white paper.

Effective Introduction
Much like in a persuasive essay, the first paragraph of your white paper should always contain a statement of your writing’s purpose. Choose wisely as this statement serves multiple purposes.

1) It lets the reader know the topic of discussion.
2) It keeps you from wandering outside of the scope of relative information.
3) It helps organize the entirety of the white paper.

In a white paper, the typical thesis would address a real problem faced by consumers and/or businesses whose solution, presented in the white paper, proves your product or service to be the best choice.

However, since you are asking the reader to stay with you for anywhere from 1 to 12 pages, throw in a sentence or two that grabs their attention.  Waterford Union High School’s library staff gives a great list of ways in which a persuasive essay’s introduction can grab the reader’s attention when writing the persuasive essay. They suggest that you open with –

  • an unusual detail,
  • a strong statement
  • a quotation
  • an anecdote that is short and to the point,
  • a statistic or fact,
  • a question, or
  • an exaggeration or outrageous statement.

Depending upon the tone of your white paper, any one of these persuasive essay attention grabbers could be used.

Helpful Executive Summary
At this point, do yourself and the reader a favor by writing an executive summary paragraph. An executive summary previews the main points of any document aimed at persuading its audience. The executive summary should provide the reader with enough information to get familiarized with what the white paper discusses without having to read it in its entirety. Why is this important? Given the amount of text that crosses an individual’s path in any one day, people don’t have time to read every single word. Our generation filters worthwhile content through skimming and scanning. The executive summary allows the reader to recognize the value of your white paper early on and, when given more time, will read the entire thing. An executive summary also benefits you, the content writers or writer. The white paper’s executive summary serves to keep you from wandering outside of the established parameters of the topic of discussion, thus filling it with only relevant material.

Strong, Supporting Body
Who can forget the 1980’s Wendy’s commercials demanding to know Where’s the Beef? If you have advertised a big juicy hamburger, give them a big juicy hamburger. Make sure that the fancy bun of the white paper’s introduction and executive summary doesn’t open up to reveal a lot of nothingness. The body is where you present supporting evidence that proves two things :
1) your arguments are reasonable and reliable and
2) your expertise in the target industry.

Thorough, well-researched and well-examined evidence substantiates the premise of your white paper and provides a compelling reason for why your reader should be doing business with you.

The tools most effective in substantiating your position are –

  • logical arguments,
  • statistics,
  • examples or where your product or solution is beneficial,
  • expert opinions, and
  • personal observations or testimonials.

Keep in mind that, in keeping with the reader-friendliness of your white paper, add a picture or other visual elements to the body of your white paper. Whether it be graphs, charts, pictures, and sidebars, these elements strengthen, clarify, support, and add visual interest to your white paper.

Memorable Conclusion
Given that this is the last chance to influence position of the reader with respect to the information you have to share, the conclusion has to be rock-solid. As with any good persuasive essay conclusion,

  • don’t introduce new ideas or material,
  • simply restate the point of view communicated in the introduction, and
  • briefly summarize the details of the body’s information that substantiates the view point you aim to see the reader espouse.

However, this is where the white paper diverges from the framework of a persuasive essay. Whereas a persuasive essay ends with a tone of completion, a white paper, written for marketing purposes, strives to continue or open up a dialogue with potential clients with a call to action. The determination of your call to action depends upon what you want the reader to do next. If your white paper seeks to educate the reader prior to investing in a product or service, then provide a checklist of the important things outlined in your white paper will help the potential customer hit all of the points that prove the benefits of your service or product to be the best solution to the problem. The call to action could be a question which causes one to ascertain how the material presented in the white paper improves one’s life or adds value to one’s business. Your white paper’s call to action could simply be an invitation to view your website, request further information, or speak directly with a company representative.  All of that contact information should be found in your white paper. However  you close out your white paper, make sure it leaves a positive impression since this final message will be playing in the reader’s mind long after he or she stops reading.

Writing white papers isn’t for everyone. Although simple in the fact that a white paper benefits from following the framework of a persuasive essay; word choice, grammar, flow, and the synthesizing of research findings can cause some people to turn down the writing of a white paper. If that describes you, outsource the writing of your white paper to a company who specializes in copywrite service and web copy service. Not quite ready to give up? Good for you! Just brush up on your English teacher’s lesson on a persuasive essay and your white paper is ready to take shape.

~Marni

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Filed under Persuasive Essay, White Papers

White Papers and Web Writers

by My Web Writers

White papers for marketing and sales purposes appeared in the 1990’s and continue to play an important role in businesses today. Their objective? Companies use them to :

  • highlight favorable information,
  • educate potential customers about the benefits of their products or services,
  • introduce new products, and
  • develop sales leads.

persuasive structure and professional voice
The realization of these objects requires a certain style of writing. Because white papers aim at moving the reader to buy a product or subscribe to a service, the content consists of a melding of the persuasive writing structure and the professional writing voice. The persuasive writing structure comprises of an attention grabbing title or introduction, an elaborative middle which convinces the reader of the benefits and superiority of its products or services, and a concluding call to action. Professional writing voice, although dependent upon the target audience, uses direct, engaging, appropriate, and concise language while excluding outrageous statements or exaggerated claims which undermine the credibility of the company’s claims. Traditionally, a white paper that successfully blended the convincing power of the persuasive structure with the credibility of professional language, earned the loyalty and business of its readers.

white papers move online
As sales and marketing move away from print and onto the web, companies are finding that the traditional, white paper is not enough to reach their target audience. White papers need to go online. Not only do they need to get online, they need to get where readers  will see them. Online, visibility comes from appearing at the top of search engine results. Conseqently, terrific persuasive structure and professional language are not enough. Not only does the content need to satisfy what the readers want, it also needs to satisfy what search engines require. Enter the web writer.

web writers deliver
If a company’s white papers are not search engine optimized then hours spent on composing the ideal, traditional white paper is a waste of time because no one will ever see it. Web writing services not only know how to write to the reader, but they also know how to write to the search engine. They weave the search engine’s particularities into the content to produce high search engine rankings that drive traffic to your site. How do web writers do that?

  1. They research your industry and identify the keywords your customers are searching for.
  2. They stay up-to-date on the algorithms used by search engine services like Bing, Yahoo, and Google.
  3. They strategically incorporate keywords into the content according to search engine services’ keyword-to-text ratios.
  4. They place the keywords where search engines will spot them.
  5. They add to your site’s legitimacy by providing internal and external linking opportunities.
  6. They track the efficacy of the white paper and adjust the content as needed based upon reader response, search engine rankings, or changes in search engine algorithms.

White papers that have not been optimized for search engines essentially remain invisible in the virtual world of documents. A web writer’s skill brings your white paper from the depths of obscurity to the top of keyword rankings.  In the end, you will enjoy an improved web presence, get more people reading your white paper, and increase your customer base.

~Marni

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Filed under SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Web Writers, White Papers