Guide Writing a Report: Step-by-step Guide to Effective Report Writing

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The same goes for other roles. Crowdsourcing knowledge means having the power of a true expert in many fields.

6 Steps to Writing Great Reports

Finally, filling a "content gap" will help your white paper get noticed and gain traction. By addressing a topic no one else has written about definitely, your white paper will be more likely to rank highly on search engines and even be featured elsewhere on the web. Pro tip: You can even ask your audience what they would like to see in your upcoming white paper. You'll get ideas, make your topic more relevant, and you'll generate buzz around your content even before it's finished.

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In fact, we used the same method for this guide! Defining your audience goes hand in hand with choosing the right topic. Knowing this helps establish the voice you should use and whether industry-specific jargon is appropriate. It also narrows the scope of the research you should include. Part of defining an audience in the age of Google centers around how people will find the white paper. This means thinking about which platforms specific personas use for research and what search terms they put in. Not only will this help a white paper get found by the right people, but it is useful when outlining the white paper later on.

Optimizing for keywords is important, but remember to write for people, not for search engines. Google is getting better all the time at understanding and matching search intent with relevant content. Like with all good writing, your intro should serve to captivate your audience, pique their curiosity, and entice them to read further. It's good practice to provide a brief summary of what they'll find in the white paper and to emphasize exactly what benefit they'll get from reading it.

Your outro is equally important, especially if you're using your white paper to market your products or services. You should avoid any self-promotion in the body of your white paper, but you can certainly mention your relevant product offerings and how to obtain them — perhaps using a compelling call-to-action — at the end. White papers are not meant to be advertisements for your company, and you should avoid any overt promotion.

Instead, you should provide plenty of useful information that will be valuable to readers even if they don't become customers.

Emphasizing value is the key to a great white paper that will get shared and widely read. Remember, white papers serve to showcase your expertise as a company or brand in a given field. Your readers should come away having learned something useful and with the impression that you're a reliable source of expert information. As pointed out earlier, generating this kind of reputation will lead to greater business success as buyers are more likely to purchase from companies they trust.

No first draft is ever a finished work. While a white paper may not need seventeen drafts, there will undoubtedly be points missed and logical inconsistencies in the first version. Finishing a draft, stepping away, and coming back to it with a fresh mind is the best way to ensure quality. White papers should be more detailed and thorough than blog posts or eBooks. This may cause them to be more dry and formal, but this doesn't mean they have to be boring. A trap that white papers easily fall into is using statistics as a crutch and not maintaining interest throughout.

Technical as it may be, you still want your white paper to be read. There are some pitfalls and common mistakes to avoid when writing a white paper. Each of these has the potential to make an otherwise stellar piece of content into a wasted effort. Here's a brief list of things to look out for. When white papers are used as part of a marketing campaign where businesses showcase their product, a common mistake is to make them sound like a sales pitch.

Don't let this happen; it will immediately turn your readers off. In a white paper, your audience is seeking unbiased, educational information that will help them, not try to persuade them.

Business Reports: 10 Tips for Creating Reports People that People Want to Read

Save the sales pitches for other content, like product brochures. As previously mentioned, white papers should be well-researched documents. Aggregating statistics and searching through scholarly work may take time, but the result will be worth it. We'll go in-depth into design in the next section, but it's worth mentioning here. The written content of a white paper is what matters most, but neglecting design is a big mistake. Designmakes your salient points stand out and helps the reader understand what they're reading.

Using visuals like images, videos, charts, and graphs that support your arguments is crucial. Check out some white paper examples built with Foleon to see examples from clients of ours who have an eye for design. White papers are informative and factual. Backgrounders, problem-solution white papers, and research findings all have a story to tell, and the reader is far less likely to make it through the entire piece without some form of narrative to keep them engaged.


  1. Step 1: Decide on the 'Terms of reference'!
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  4. Effective report writing.

Setting up a problem, elaborating on a solution, and including some type of success story is a proven formula for making any type of content more story-like. Because most white papers will involve sharing research findings, it can be easy to leave them in the realm of theory without explaining how to utilize those findings on a practical level. This is true more of backgrounders but can be the case with problem-solution white papers as well. A good example is the abundant amount of content on employee engagement. Many B2B cases have covered the importance of employee engagement and the pitfalls of getting it wrong.

Too little of this content goes further and gives concrete examples of what companies in specific verticals can do to alleviate the problem. A picture is no longer worth a thousand words. Today, its value is in the number of eyeballs it can keep glued to your content and the ratio of those viewers it convinces to click through to other sections of your website.

The average human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish.

How to Write an Effective Test Summary Report [Sample Report Download]

And with 3. Long form mediums like the white paper need serious sparkle just to compete. You'll need more than just black text on a white background. Your design choices regarding things like color, typography , and the use of visuals will play a prominent role in the success of your white paper. Here are a few important principles to keep in mind for creating a quality white paper design. Before this, web pages simply scaled according to the size of a user's screen, retaining their layout.

10 Steps To Write a Report | How To Write a Report

Naturally, this made most pages both unreadable and unnavigable on smaller devices. Responsive design solved this by allowing elements on a page to rearrange, resize, or be completely hidden from view in response to the size of the screen. When a smaller screen is used, font-sizes increase, buttons become larger for touch screens, and the entire layout adjusts to make the page mobile-friendly. But while this has become standard for web designers in a mobile-first world, producers of other digital content assets like white papers have generally not adapted.

Surprisingly, most companies that offer white papers and eBooks on their websites still use PDF format. The problem with PDFs is that they're unreadable on smaller screens. They're fixed-layout documents — they can't adjust or adapt to different screen sizes. Reading them on a mobile device requires excessive zooming and panning around, which is a terrible experience for users.

Mobile traffic is ever-increasing. If you decide to produce your white paper as a PDF, you risk excluding this vast segment of your audience. It's a design mistake that will cost you views and conversions. Because in-depth white papers contain lots of text and visuals , as well as supplementary information like footnotes, figures, logos and copyright info, the danger is that your design becomes cluttered.

Clutter accumulates before you realize it. You may choose a clean layout and color scheme, to begin with, but as you continue to add content, things can get crowded. Often, you must make tough choices about what not to include to strike the right balance between completeness and readability.

Good design makes bold choices and prioritizes important information. These choices and priorities affect layout, placement, color, font size, page order and more. Use these design elements to create emphasis on vital pieces of information.


  • Nutrient Delivery.
  • How to Write and Format a White Paper (With Examples).
  • Tip #1. Choose the right PowerPoint template based on the decisions you need to make.
  • But be careful. In , bold fonts and color schemes are in. Of course, all that might change tomorrow. But still, a great way to get inspiration when you're just starting is to take a look at what design trends are currently popular. U2's frontman, Bono, sings "every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief. Good designers are always drawing inspiration from other designers. The best way to create a successful design is to spend a lot of time looking at what others are doing successfully.

    Use Evernote , or a bookmarking service to save white papers and other exceptional designs that you encounter for future reference. Always consider your target audience, making sure that your use of language and style is appropriate. Make sure to write clear sentences and keep your work professional.

    Consider your audience

    You should also use sections and subheading to describe contents that follow. There will be time for editing once you are done with drafting. The tips outlined here are meant to serve as guidelines on how to proceed with your report. However, we know that effective project report writing requires particular skills and considerable practice. If you do not understand the various aspects involved, including how to format, structure, and write reports, as well as how to cite sources, then it may be a good idea to consider pursuing a report writing course.

    Please note that while report writing in English is a skill that anyone can learn, it may require considerable time and practice. In the meantime, there will be challenges that require immediate intervention. For instance, you may find that you lack enough time for the project. Lack of enough time is one of the common reasons why so many people turn to websites that offer report writing for students.