What’s in a Whitepaper? A PDF by any other name….

Caelan Huntress
3 min readFeb 20, 2024

Spoiler alert: A PDF by any other name wouldn’t smell as sweet.

There’s an air of gravitas around saying you have a whitepaper. It’s more than just a PDF download.

A whitepaper is an instrument of thought leadership.

You claim your stance in the marketplace of ideas by publishing a whitepaper for anyone to read. It represents your foray into the realm of your own expertise, and it can feel like your own little dent in the universe.

Some whitepapers are highly technical, full of specifications and charts. Others are highly emotional, designed to lure in future customers, as a lead magnet.

Making a whitepaper can seem daunting and complex, but there’s really not that much to it. If you start with a solid outline, and you have a little library of good examples you can review for inspiration, then you can paint your ideas on a PDF canvas in an afternoon or two.

I’ve made dozens (maybe hundreds, now) of whitepapers in my time as a digital marketer — for myself, and for clients. I have the production process down to a clear and simple system.

Over the years, I’ve developed a simple outline that lets you just fill in the blanks to make a compelling whitepaper that demands attention and get results.

I’ll share this outline with you, as well as my swipe folder of my favorite 2 dozen whitepapers that I have collected during my time as a digital marketer for other thought leaders. A few of these I’ve made myself (they are my favorites), but most are from colleagues I know or thinkers I admire.

Looking through this swipe folder gives me inspiration and ideas that I use in designing my own whitepapers, and I’d like to to share this collection with you.

whitepaper workshop

I’m planning a free Whitepaper Workshop on Leap Day in the US, (which is the First of March in NZ) at 1pm my time, 4pm Pacific Time.

During this interactive, 60-minute workshop, I will give you the formulas and outlines that I have successfully used to create lead magnets that build a list and position expertise.

This workshop is suitable for any business that wants to build a list, but especially for authors, coaches, and speakers (as well as their business managers and virtual assistants).

Feel free to invite anyone on your team, or fellow entrepreneurs that would find value in making a new whitepaper to build their list.

If you can’t make it live, you can register to watch the replay.

Register Here



Caelan Huntress

I help busy professionals transform their performance, maximize their impact, and create exceptional experiences. I wrote the book on Marketing Yourself.