How to Write a White Paper: A Step-by-Step Guide

October 13, 2023

If you’re looking to learn how to write a white paper, or what a great white paper should look like, you’ve come to the right place. A white paper is a comprehensive and detailed document that outlines a technology and positions it as a solution to a problem. Typically, white papers are written for business purposes and are used to educate, inform, and persuade readers. If you're looking to create a white paper, this guide will help you learn how to write and format it effectively.

Here at twodoor marketing, we got our start in cryptocurrency white paper writing, and have continued to hone this craft over the years. To us, the hallmarks of a great paper are:

  1. A logical, flowing structure
  2. Design that enhances understanding
  3. Compelling storytelling
  4. No errors

If you're wondering how important a white paper is, a study of Australian crypto investors found that white papers and community, above all other factors, informed their choice to invest in a project. So if you’re planning to write your own, it’s important to get it right before sharing it with the world.

In this guide, we’ll run you through how we write epic white papers that inform the public, attract community, and secure investors.

Write an outline

Writing an outline is the best way to ensure you write a white paper that flows and makes a compelling read. In the long run, a well-thought out outline will save you a ton of time in revisions, especially if you work with your business partners or collaborators on it. If everyone agrees on the structure of the white paper from the get-go, there’ll be less moving, rejigging, and scrapping, when it comes to editing time.

Our outline template is as follows:

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Problems
  • Solution (the product)
  • Features
  • Revenue model
  • Tokenomics (if applicable)
  • Team
  • Roadmap
  • Conclusion
  • CTA

While this template is a great starting point, you’ll need to tailor this around the specific nature of your product.

Research Your Sector

Once you've honed in on the key talking points of your white paper, and outlined the core problems (ideally three) your product is solving, you can start gathering data and sources. You should gather as much information as possible from reliable sources, such as academic journals, industry publications, and government reports. If possible, you should also consider talking to industry experts in the specific field you’re writing about.

Data and references from reputable sources like research papers will transform the problems you highlight from abstract ideas into tangible issues, bolstering the value of your solution in the eyes of prospective investors.

Section 1: Executive Summary

An executive summary is a brief but comprehensive overview of the key points discussed in a white paper. Although it starts the document, the executive summary will always be the last thing you write, as it is an abbreviated form of the completed document.

The executive summary should be written with the intention of providing a clear and concise understanding of the main message and findings of the white paper and should be easily accessible to a broad audience, including busy executives and stakeholders who may not have the time to read the entire report.

A well-written executive summary should include the following key elements:

  1. Introduction: Provide a brief overview of the white paper, its purpose, and its audience.
  2. Background: Describe the context and the problem that the white paper aims to solve.
  3. Key findings: Summarize the most important results or insights from the white paper, highlighting the benefits and potential impact of the proposed solution.
  4. Conclusion: Conclude the summary by emphasizing the significance of the results and calling for action.

Overall, an effective executive summary should be engaging, informative, and persuasive, while providing a clear roadmap to the full report for those who want to explore the topic more deeply.

Section 3: Introduction

Your introduction should be purposeful and attention-grabbing. The background information included here should provide context for the problem you're trying to solve. You should explain the history of the problem, how it came about, and how it has been addressed in the past; paint a picture of the landscape that your product is entering and explain why it's important.

You should introduce a sense that the product or service area is both rich with opportunity and ripe for disruption. You should also provide any relevant statistics or data that support your argument.

If you’re at a loss for where to begin here, try nailing down your problems, and then working backward from there to find your introduction’s focus.

Section 4: Problem Statements

Your problem statements should be clear and concise statements of the problems you're trying to solve. You should explain why these problems are important and what the consequences of not solving them are. This is where you can start bringing in the research and data you found to support your thesis. As you’re writing it’s natural for new ideas to spring to mind—you can be conducting further research as your problems become more clear.

Remember, the better you can sell the seriousness of these problems, the more impactful—even necessary—your solution will appear in the eyes of the reader.

Section 5: Solution

The solution section is the heart of your white paper. This is where you provide your solution to the problem: your product. You should explain how your solution works and how it will solve the problem. Keep in mind the problems as you write, and try to frame your solution around them. You should also provide evidence to support your solution.

This section is where you provide an overview of the core features of your product and highlight why it makes sense for them to be grouped within a single offering.

Section 6: Features & Benefits

The features and benefits section should detail the features of your product, the specific ways in which they will benefit your target audience, and the long-term impact they’ll have on your sector.

This section is where you’ll include the graphs and equations that power your product. Consider how and where they’ll fit in the document.

When explaining complex ideas, technologies, or systems, think about accompanying graphics that could help illustrate them visually, and write down instructions for your designers. If you’re feeling creative, draw some sketches yourself, either digitally or on paper.

Where possible, try and have each feature flow into the next feature section. Think about user journey and experience. For example, if you’re writing a white paper about a new financial product, a section explaining the features and benefits of an account and how to create one, could flow into a section about the application and its features and benefits.

Section 7: Revenue model

If you’re looking to secure investors, you’re going to want to explain how your product intends to make money—and explain it well. Any investor worth their salt knows that at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is your revenue model, and even if yours is great, if you don’t communicate it well, you’ve lost their interest (and their money).

If you’re writing for a cryptocurrency project, this is especially important.

Section 8: Tokenomics (if applicable)

The tokenomics section should describe the economic model of the cryptocurrency or token, including details on the token's distribution, use cases, and any other factors that may impact its value. Specifically, this section should include:

  1. Token distribution: Describe how the tokens will be distributed, including the total supply, the initial distribution, and any subsequent releases or vesting periods.
  2. Token utility: Explain the various use cases of the token, including its function within the platform or ecosystem it is meant to serve. It should also describe any incentives that will be provided for using the token.
  3. Token economics: Describe the economic model of the token, including the mechanism for price discovery, inflation or deflation mechanisms, and any other factors that may impact the token's value.
  4. Token governance: Describe how decisions related to the token will be made, including how voting rights and governance will be structured.
  5. Token incentives: Describe any incentives that will be provided to token holders, including rewards for staking, voting, or participating in the ecosystem.
  6. Token sales and fundraising: If the token is being sold through an ICO or similar fundraising mechanism, provide details on the sale structure and terms.
  7. Team and advisor allocations: Describe how tokens will be allocated to the project team and any advisors, and any vesting periods that may be in place.

Your tokenomics section should provide a clear and comprehensive overview of the token's economic model and how it will function within the larger ecosystem. It should be transparent and informative, providing potential investors and users with the information they need to make informed decisions about the token.

It is crucial to present the information within the tokenomics section through a combination of graphs and text. Graphs are the best ways to communicate complex number sets, while text can be supplementary in readers’ understanding while also ensuring that the white paper is accessible to all individuals, including those who are blind and rely on screen readers. This advice is applicable to the white paper as a whole.

Section 9: Team

The team behind your project is one of your biggest selling points. Write compelling bios that highlight not only what makes them great, but what makes them the right fit for the project. This will include a mix of their relevant experience, qualifications, and achievements. Specifically, you should include:

  1. Experience and qualifications: The white paper should describe the relevant experience and qualifications of each team member, including education, work history, and previous projects they have worked on. Don’t be afraid to get elaborate here, especially with core team members. For auxiliary roles, however, it’s fine to have shorter bios.
  2. Achievements and accomplishments: Highlight any notable achievements or accomplishments of the team members, such as awards, patents, or publications.
  3. Role and responsibilities: Describe the specific role and responsibilities of each team member, including how they contribute to the project and the goals they are responsible for achieving.
  4. Background and motivation: The white paper should provide some insight into the background and motivation of each team member, including their personal interests, values, and vision for the project.
  5. Advisors and partnerships: The white paper should also describe any notable advisors or partnerships the project has, and how they contribute to the project's success.

Ultimately, you want to provide potential investors and users with confidence in the project by highlighting the experience, qualifications, and achievements of the team members. Be transparent and informative in highlighting how the team is positioned to achieve the project's goals.

Section 10: Roadmap

When it comes to building a new project, a roadmap can be a valuable tool to guide you on the path to success. The roadmap is a visual representation of the project's timeline, outlining the key milestones and goals that the team aims to achieve over a set period.

A well-crafted roadmap in a white paper can provide readers with a sense of direction, instill confidence in the team's ability to execute, and set realistic expectations for what's to come. But what should be included in a roadmap to make it effective?

Firstly, a clear and concise timeline is essential. The roadmap should outline each stage of development, from the initial concept phase to the launch and beyond. It should provide an estimate of how long each stage will take, as well as the resources required to reach each milestone. This will give investors and other stakeholders a clear idea of the timeline and scope of the project.

Secondly, the roadmap should be broken down into manageable parts or phases. This allows the team to focus on the specific objectives of each phase, without getting bogged down in the details of the entire project. It also helps investors and users to understand what to expect in the short term and how the project is progressing over time.

Keep in mind that tying developmental milestones to specific dates can be limiting and leave the community and investors disappointed—even angry. A more effective approach is to structure the roadmap through epochs, as Cardano does, where defined buckets of completed deliverables mark the end of one epoch and the beginning of another. This approach provides a more flexible and adaptable framework for project development.

Thirdly, it's important to be transparent and honest about the challenges that the project may face along the way. The roadmap should acknowledge potential risks, such as regulatory changes or technical difficulties, and outline contingency plans to address them. This demonstrates that the team has thought through potential roadblocks and is prepared to pivot if necessary.

Lastly, a roadmap should be dynamic and adaptable. As the project progresses, it may become necessary to adjust timelines or goals based on changing circumstances. A good roadmap should have built-in flexibility to accommodate these changes while staying focused on the project's overall vision.

In summary, a roadmap in a white paper is a crucial component in outlining a project's journey to success. By providing a clear timeline, breaking the project into phases, being transparent about potential challenges, and remaining adaptable, the roadmap can set expectations and build confidence in the team's ability to execute.

Section 11: Conclusion & Call to Action

The conclusion of a white paper is an opportunity to summarize the key takeaways and reinforce the main points of the paper. Remember, white papers are long, so don’t be afraid to go back over the content and highlight the most important aspects of the product.

The conclusion should also reiterate the benefits of the offering and provide a call to action for the reader. It’s important to really consider the direct action you want readers to take after completing the white paper. You want to include social links, but are you looking for investors? If so, encourage them to email you or a team member for inquiries.

The conclusion of your white paper needs to be engaging and memorable, leaving a lasting impression on the reader and motivating them to take action. Focus on ensuring you leave the reader feeling informed, convinced, and excited about the potential of the project.

The Revisions Stage

The revisions stage is perhaps the most important part of the entire white paper writing process. This is your opportunity to refine and improve the content of your document to make it as clear and accessible as possible. Getting opinions from a range of different people, from industry professionals to your team mates, even friends and family, can help you refine your document in a way that will make it as widely accessible as possible.

Industry professionals can provide valuable feedback on the technical aspects of your white paper, including whether your research is sound and whether your arguments are convincing. They can also provide insight into current trends and developments in the industry, which can help you ensure that your white paper is up-to-date and relevant.

Your team mates can provide valuable feedback on the clarity of your writing and the organization of your ideas. They can also help you identify any gaps in your argument or any areas that could benefit from additional research. Since your team mates are likely familiar with your work and your goals, they can provide feedback that is tailored to your specific needs.

Friends and family can provide feedback from the perspective of a layperson, which is important if you are aiming to make your white paper accessible to a wider audience. They can identify areas that may be confusing or difficult to understand, which can help you make your writing more clear and concise.

By getting feedback from a range of different people, you can identify areas for improvement and make changes that will make your white paper more engaging and effective. Whether you are seeking to educate, inform, or persuade your audience, a well-revised white paper is key to achieving your goals.


While nobody’s denying Satoshi’s work on the Bitcoin white paper, the trend away from literal white pages towards beautiful, illustrative, and branded white papers is clear. Hiring a professional designer to design your white paper is extremely important as it can enhance the visual appeal, readability, and overall impact of the document.

Don’t skimp on design: even if you write the best white paper in the world, it’s going to get thrown in the trash before it’s read if the design is unattractive or confusing.

Making Your Own White Paper

In conclusion, writing a white paper is a complex process that requires careful planning, research, and organization. If you're looking to create a white paper, this guide can help you write and format it effectively.

A white paper is a detailed document that outlines a technology and positions it as a solution to a problem. It is typically written for business purposes and used to educate, inform, and persuade readers. The hallmarks of a great white paper are a logical, flowing structure, beautiful design, compelling storytelling, and no errors.

We’ve tried our best to walk you through the process of creating a white paper, including writing an outline, researching your sector, crafting an executive summary, and writing clear and concise problem statements and solutions. With this guide and a bit of hard work, you’re on your way to drafting an epic white paper that informs the public, attracts community, and secures investors.

If all this sounds like a lot of work, you may consider hiring a professional team to help you with creating your white paper. Here at twodoor marketing, we’ve written over a dozen published white papers. We pride ourselves on knowing how to write powerful white papers that convert, and our designers are some of the best in business; able to convert your message into a visual idea that makes an otherwise potentially overwhelmingly-long document go down like honey.

To see our portfolio, including a number of our published white papers, enter your email through this link.


twodoor marketing is an Australian marketing agency that focuses on finding emerging voices in web3 and amplifying them through head-turning marketing and design.

If you want to find out what twodoor marketing can do for your project, click here.

Ben Hofmeyer
twodoor marketing

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