How to develop a ‘writing voice’ for white papers

In general, a ‘writing voice’ applies to creative writing. In general…

But you can also apply it to business writing. There are a few ground rules though.

For example, when writing a white paper, or any business document, you need to write in a more formal style, making it hard for your personality to shine though.

Note that I said *your* not the company’s personality.

And this is why we must be careful.

Your voice must aligns with the company’s writing voice. You can’t go off on tangents.

How to develop a writing voice for white papers

So, how can we develop a writing voice for our white papers?

  1. Examine the company’s vision statement. If none exists, interview senior staff to get a feel for the core values that underpin the company.
  2. Prepare short writing examples that try to capture the right tone. What do they think? Listen to what they’re saying ‘between the lines’ to tease out what’s close to their heart.
  3. Prioritize these key values. Weave them into the text, but don’t over-do it or it’ll look forced.
  4. Remove clichés, expressions, jargon and other types of noise.
  5. Refine the text over a series of draft. Soon an authentic voice will begin to emerge. It won’t happen at once. Give yourself time. Coax it out. Be patient. You’ll get there.

Want an example of different writing styles?

Compare Apple’s and IBM’s white paper and you’ll get a feel for this straight away.