Your Top 5 Questions about White Papers, Answered …

Writer typing on a laptop

If you're looking to make a great living as a freelance writer … here's a high-demand writing skill you may have missed or even dismissed.

It's a project called White Papers … which is a marketing content cornerstone that can bring in tons of sales leads for Business-to-Business (B2B) companies and others.

If you like doing clever research — along with the idea of distilling it into smart, fascinating, and persuasive business essays — this project is for you.

But here's another big reason why you may want to take a close look at white papers.

In one word: money.

White paper writers get paid a LOT of money for their work. Here are just a few online references I found about the going rates for white paper writers.

From this source*: "You can expect to pay between $3,000 and $6,000 for a decently produced white paper (depending on the length and other factors). However, it is not uncommon for high-end white papers to cost more than $10,000 to produce. It's also possible to find freelancers willing to produce relatively short white papers for less than $3,000. You will want to make sure you know what you are getting before you get started. It's better to pay $5,000 and get a great product than it is to pay $1,500 and get a passable white paper." (DDIY)

"Our research shows that the 'average' cost for a white paper is around $4,500. Writers with specific professional knowledge and experience more often charge from $5,500 to $7,000." (Demodia)

Here's another good find: "The cost of creating a white paper varies greatly depending on the scope of the project and the experience level of the writer. Here's a general round-up of costs associated with white papers:

Writer's fees: $2.5K-$10K

Illustration, Design, Printing, Translation: $0-$10K

Promotion: $0-$10K

Total: $2.5-$30K

Wondering why a company would pay upwards of $30K for a single piece of content? It's simple: Return on Investment." (Better Marketing)

The upshot of all this? If you're a skilled white paper writer, plenty of companies will pay you up to $10K for a 10-page paper. That's $1,000 per page!

Think about it. As you become a pro at this, you can write a couple of $5K white papers (the average for papers under 10 pages in length) each month to bring in $120,000 per year. If you land those $10K white papers, you only need to write one per month for the same annual income. Or do more than one each month and keep boosting your annual income even more!

Do I have your attention now? 😉


To give you a feel for whether writing white papers is a freelance focus you want to pursue, here's a quick overview of the white paper marketplace and what's required — starting with the basic question:

What Is a White Paper?

A white paper is a document that both enlightens and persuades, presenting a new solution to an industry-wide problem.

It's a factual report or guide that informs readers concisely about a B2B offering that's relatively new, complex, or expensive. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, grasp a new concept, solve a problem, or make a decision.

White papers are not long — most are only 6-8 pages — yet they are still the "heavyweight" in the lengthy B2B sales cycle, providing proof the product can do what you say it can.

You see, they're a key part of a content marketing strategy, great for drawing attention in a crowd and supporting a product launch. White papers are useful in all three parts of a sales funnel: for generating leads at the top, nurturing prospects in the middle, and supporting evaluations at the bottom. That's a powerful tool in a B2B marketer's toolkit.

Businesses highly value white papers, especially technology products because they need explaining. But if you're not into tech, don't let that hold you back because any new idea can use a white paper. Finance, HR, insurance, construction, health and wellness, and other industries also use white papers to explain new ideas to their business buyers.

For instance, cybersecurity and how companies can protect themselves against data breaches. This is a huge, ongoing issue, right?

So, a company offering an innovative cybersecurity system for corporations can publish a white paper about the problem and the unique, fresh solution. You can imagine that tech managers would be extremely interested in that white paper.

White Papers Are Ideal for the Following Business Missions:

  • Introducing new innovations, such as the cybersecurity system noted above …
  • Addressing trends, such as how to manage the growing demand for work-from-home jobs …
  • Predictions and how to prepare for something big, such as sweeping changes in the housing market due to a climb in mortgage interest rates …
  • Survey findings (always popular), such as the results of a survey on sustainable manufacturing practices or compliance with The Americans with Disabilities Act …
  • Breaking news, such as the sudden explosion of AI-generated content and how it's affecting all kinds of business functions …

White papers that address industry concerns will help key decision-makers or influencers make informed choices about implementing a particular solution. In other words, buying the product!

White papers are also great for generating awareness about a company and its products and services. Plus, they help a company stand apart from their competition and establish itself as a trusted thought leader.

As a White Paper Specialist, your objective is to get prospects thinking about the problem and the solution featured in the white paper, and to then introduce one of your client's products or services as the best choice for that solution.

Is Writing White Papers Something You'd Enjoy?

While you can make great money, writing white papers is not for everyone.

You have to be part writer, part investigative reporter/detective … because research is a very important element of the job.

A lot of your time will be spent digging up facts, talking to a few experts, and scanning through data.

You should also be comfortable interviewing business experts both inside and outside your client's company. It's important that you have a knack for asking the right questions so you can quickly unearth the answers you need to make your case.

You'll be required to write in an easy-going, informal style, just like any kind of copy or content. That won't change. But with white papers, you're writing informational, authoritative documents with a neutral voice versus writing something with a sales spin.

Do You Have to Have a Working Knowledge of B2B Copywriting to Do This?

The answer is that while it's not absolutely necessary, it's strongly recommended.

In addition to it helping you write copy that really connects with your audience, having a strong knowledge of B2B copy will allow you (should you choose) to take advantage of your client's other related B2B requirements.

B2B is a multitrillion-dollar industry with digital advertising spending at an all-time high. According to a Statista report, “By 2024, business-to-business ad spend might reach roughly 18.5 billion dollars.”

That doesn't even include corporate spending on trade shows, conferences, sales meetings, and other live events … along with trade journals and other print media.

And here's a great thing for you, if you pursue white paper writing.

When most people start out to learn copywriting or content writing, they initially focus on Business-to-Consumer (B2C) copy. So, there tends to be much less competition among copywriters in the B2B arena. That means more work for you!

How Big Is the Demand for White Papers?

According to a study by B2B magazine and Junta42 Match, about a third of a marketer's budget is spent on custom content and creation — and half of that portion of the budget is spent on white papers.

In the United States alone, there are 240,000 B2B companies with over 50 employees.

I couldn't find the exact figure of how much money is spent on white papers every year, but I think you can see from the above statistics, it's in the billions and billions of dollars.

Why Is the Demand for White Papers So Huge?

The simple answer is … they work.

According to a recent report by DemandGen, research/survey reports and white papers were the top two content categories when surveyed B2B Buyers were asked, "What are the most valuable content formats and sources for researching your B2B purchases?"

Research/survey reports and white papers are both considered part of the general white papers category — so you can see the power of these documents!

But writing white papers is only one part of this vast opportunity. Once you've drafted a solid piece, you need to make sure prospective buyers find and read your report. After all of your efforts, you want a large audience for your white paper!

Bonus: Help Your Client Promote Their White Paper

You can earn extra fees when you write the support materials for your client's white paper.

For instance, you could write the content to help readers find the white paper — such as, social media posts, news items, blog posts, trade articles, emails, landing pages, and more. Companies want readers to find and download their white paper because more readers equal more potential sales leads.

Plus, the white paper call-to-action may lead readers to the following marketing components:

  • A landing page where readers sign up for the company's newsletter.
  • A blog where they can review deeper information about the solution.
  • Case studies that feature real customers talking about the outcome of the client's solution.

Wherever your white paper leads readers next — you can write that content!

In Conclusion …

For all the reasons outlined here, you might want to consider becoming a White Paper Specialist.

The money is excellent, and the demand for well-written white papers far outweighs the number of freelance copywriters who call themselves "White Paper Specialists."

To learn more about this interesting, well-paid writing project, go here.

Right now, you've got a chance to be tutored by a small team of experts (led by me!) and become certified in one of the most in-demand, lucrative, and prestigious projects in the industry …

Learn today's most popular white paper formulas, and discover how to find the quality clients who are waiting for you on the other side of the training line …

And master a unique writing project that will keep you challenged and intrigued …

Everything you need for fast white paper writing success — all in just a few short weeks. Check it out here.

*Source used:

The AWAI Method™

The AWAI Method™ for Becoming a Skilled, In-Demand Copywriter

The AWAI Method™ combines the most up-to-date strategies, insights, and teaching methods with the tried-and-true copywriting fundamentals so you can take on ANY project — not just sales letters. Learn More »

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Published: March 8, 2024

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