White papers are a growing trend when it comes to marketing medical devices and pharmaceutical products. They are an excellent way to demonstrate the abilities and services of your company while showing potential customers that you can get to the bottom of their problems and meet all of their needs. These documents actually were first used by government bodies as a way to argue for policy decisions. For businesses that want to establish trust with the healthcare professionals and put their best foot forward with prospective clients, white papers offer significant value. The development of a white paper involves a unique combination of writing and marketing skills that come together to help create a cohesive, easy-to-read, persuasive piece. Here are seven guidelines that can help you write successful healthcare white papers:

1.  Know who the intended audience is. It’s important to know who the paper is targeted to, what their habits are, what needs they have, and what they might be looking for. White papers should help people make decisions. It’s critical to know your audience and to gather as much information about them as you can before the writing process begins.

2.  Do the research. Without investing some time and attention to researching your topic and the target audience, it is impossible to write an effective white-paper. Check for valued and authentic resources that can supply you with data that can make your white paper stronger. Make sure all sources you use are properly cited and use only strong reputable sources for your information.

3.  Be brief and to the point. It is better to say what you need to say in a few pages. One of the biggest mistakes people make when writing white papers is they too wordy. While they may think they are offering the reader good information, the reader can quickly become bored or annoyed and stop reading the white paper.

4.  Point out problems and provide solutions. A well written white paper should point out a problem or issue that the reader will care about or have an interest in and then present ideas on how to address the problem or solve the issue. It’s not enough to just give facts and data, you have to be able to apply them.

5.  Focus on the benefits. Make sure whoever reads your paper knows why they should take an interest or take action. Be sure to list the benefits they will receive, and if you have any incentives or rewards offered, be sure those are highlighted also.

6.  Don’t forget the executive summary. Summaries at the beginning of the paper can help busy readers get an idea of what your paper is about. This is particularly important for medical device white papers. There is a lot of competition for your reader’s time. By offering a summary of the paper they can see if it is something they want to take the time to read and can determine if it is something that will benefit them.

7.  Be realistic. Do not be overly promotional, take liberties, use creative licensing, or anything else to try to push your business, product, or service. Be honest and present the pros and cons—many customers are swayed more by honesty and transparency because of the trust factor created. Taking the time to write a solid, compelling white paper is an investment that will provide your company with both tangible and intangible benefits over a long period of time.