12 March 2024

White Paper Topics: How to Choose the Right One to Generate More Leads

Updated March 2024: Choosing white paper topics that your audience actually wants to read is a challenge for even the most seasoned content marketer. White papers should resonate with potential customers, build your brand’s credibility and drive high-quality leads for your business. And none of that’s easy. 

So where do you begin? How do you brainstorm potential topics and then narrow them down to one specific topic that will capture your audience’s attention and drive meaningful engagement? 

In this blog post, we dive into 11 effective strategies for choosing white paper topics that will get you the leads you are looking for. 

Fasten your seatbelt, and let’s dive in:

What is a white paper?

Let’s briefly recap what a white paper is. 

A white paper is an authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic, according to HubSpot’s definition. It presents a common challenge in your industry and guides prospects through to a solution. 

White papers are also a powerful tool for lead generation. 75% of B2B buyers said that they would give up their email address in exchange for a white paper.

But white papers aren’t sales pitches. They’re comprehensive documents designed to educate, inform and empower your audience.

Whatever you ultimately select for white paper topics, the content process typically begins by identifying a specific problem or challenge faced by your target audience. It might address common pain points, explore emerging trends or offer solutions to industry-wide issues—providing valuable insights and actionable recommendations along the way.

While white papers are produced by a company or organization, they should be objective and impartial. That way, readers trust the insights and recommendations you provide.

By generating on-point white paper topic ideas—and then crafting compelling content—you can position your organization as a trusted advisor and industry leader.

White paper topics—11 ways to find them

Now, let’s explore 11 actionable ways to generate white paper topic ideas that your audience will want to read about—and will be willing to give up their email address for.

11 ways to find white paper topics that your target audience will give up their email address for

1. Analyze your target audience

Effective white papers start with a deep understanding of your audience’s pain points, challenges and aspirations. 

Some 72% of B2B marketers attribute their content marketing success to understanding their audience’s needs, according to the Content Marketing Institute

Like them, if you invest in audience research, you’ll uncover valuable insights that inform your white paper topic ideas—and ensure you create content your audience wants to read.

Here are some actionable ways to start analyzing your audience: 

Do research

Use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, including surveys, interviews and data analytics, to gather insights directly from your audience.

Go broader

Identify challenges that SaaS companies at large are having, such as scalability issues, integration complexities or cost concerns. Then tailor your white paper topics to address those pain points head-on, providing expert insights that show you understand the sector’s unique challenges.

Gauge behavior

Explore the buying journey of your target audience, from awareness to consideration to decision-making. Identify key touchpoints where white papers could play a role in nurturing leads and guiding them toward conversion. By aligning your white paper topics with the needs and preferences of your audience at each stage of the buying journey, you can maximize engagement and drive tangible results for your organization.

2. Review your existing content

You don’t have to start from scratch when brainstorming white paper topic ideas. Review your existing content assets, such as blog posts, case studies and webinars for potential topics for white papers. 

Repurposing content allows you to expand on previously explored ideas, dive deeper into specific subjects and provide comprehensive solutions. So identify high-performing content pieces that have garnered engagement and consider transforming them into in-depth white papers.

The biggest names in SaaS, including HubSpot, repurpose blog content into comprehensive white paper topics that delve deeper into specific tactics or strategies. By repackaging existing content into white papers, HubSpot maximizes the reach and impact of its insights while catering to a broader audience.

3. See what your competitors are doing

Competitor analysis is a fantastic strategy for identifying gaps in the market—and understanding what topics resonate with your audience. 

So explore the white papers and content produced by your competitors. Use them to uncover common themes, areas of differentiation and potential opportunities. 

Look for white paper topics that haven’t been extensively covered or offer a unique perspective that sets your white papers apart.

Many customer and content marketing teams regularly analyze competitor white papers to identify their own white paper topic ideas. By identifying gaps and areas of opportunity, you can craft white papers that offer unique insights and solutions, positioning yourself as a leader in your space.

4. Monitor social media output

Social media platforms are invaluable sources of insights into industry trends, conversations and pain points. So be sure to monitor discussions, hashtags and forums relevant to B2B SaaS and your specific niche to uncover emerging white paper topics and areas of interest. 

Also pay attention to the questions and challenges your audience raises on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and industry-specific forums. These interactions can spark ideas for compelling white paper ideas that address real-time concerns.

Some 54% of buyers use social media to research products and services, according to Statista. By actively listening to social media conversations, you can identify topics that resonate with your audience and capitalize on those opportunities through white papers.

5. Identify where leads are lost

Examine your sales funnel and identify stages where leads are dropping off or encountering obstacles. 

These friction points often indicate areas where your audience is seeking more information or clarification. 

Addressing these pain points through targeted white paper topics can help nurture leads through the funnel and drive conversions. Just try to focus on providing valuable insights and solutions that alleviate common barriers to conversion.

Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost, according to Forrester Research. 

So by addressing the spots where leads drop off in your funnel through relevant white paper topics, you can optimize your lead nurturing efforts. And drive higher conversions.

6. Use insights from experts

Engage with industry experts, thought leaders and internal stakeholders to gain diverse perspectives and insights. This is gold for generating white paper topics.

You could conduct interviews, roundtable discussions or expert panels to explore emerging trends, challenges and innovations within the B2B SaaS space. 

Collaborating with experts not only helps you generate more white paper topic ideas, but it enriches your content, enhancing your credibility and authority in the eyes of your audience.

For example, IBM regularly features insights from industry experts in its white papers on emerging technologies and digital transformation. 

IBM adds depth and credibility to its white paper content by including expert perspectives. This cements the business as a trusted advisor in tech.

7. Learn from other white papers

Immerse yourself in white papers produced by other industry players to stay abreast of white paper topics and best practices. 

Analyze the ideas, structure, tone and content of white papers within—and outside—your niche to identify what’s working, and how you can improve your own. 

It’s essential to avoid outright replication. But drawing inspiration from well-executed content can spark ideas for your own unique topics for a white paper—as well as interesting new angles.

71% of B2B marketers use white papers in their content marketing efforts, according to Gitnux.

By reading more white papers, and staying informed about industry trends, you can identify more white paper topics that resonate.

8. Carry out original research

Original research is a great foundation for compelling white paper topics. Consider conducting surveys, case studies or market analyses to uncover unique perspectives, trends and statistics within your industry. 

Using data-driven insights will substantiate your white paper arguments, effectively position you as an expert and help you provide unique recommendations. Your audience won’t be able to put your content down. 

78% of B2B marketers believe that original content is the future of content marketing, according to Siteefy. 

By conducting your own research, you can provide unique insights and perspectives that steal the spotlight from competitors, framing your business as the expert.

9. Find the gold in industry newsletters

Subscribe to industry newsletters, publications and blogs to stay informed about the latest developments and trends. 

Industry newsletters often highlight emerging white paper topic ideas, research findings and expert opinions relevant to your target audience. 

Pay attention to recurring themes and other popular talking points, as they can inform your process for selecting white paper topics.

By subscribing to industry newsletters, you can stay informed about relevant topics and trends—and create content you know your audience will care about. 

10. Align your white paper with a wider strategy

Integrate your white paper topics with other content formats, such as webinars, podcasts or blog posts to maximize reach and engagement. When leads have finished with one piece of content, they can dive into your white papers and see your expertise in even greater depth.

Pairing up content also creates a cohesive content journey. Your audience is guided from awareness to conversion with complementary resources and insights.

Aligning white paper topics with your overarching content strategy will help reinforce key messages and nurture leads effectively.

Leading SaaS businesses, including Adobe, often pair white papers with webinars or interactive content experiences to engage audiences and drive deeper engagement. 

By offering multiple touchpoints for audience interaction, they maximize the impact of white papers and enhance the overall content experience for their audiences.

11. Aggregate sought-after data in one place

Industry data is another great launchpad for finding white paper topics. Aggregate and analyze popular data points, statistics and research findings related to a specific subject within your industry. 

Compile this data into insightful white papers that provide valuable insights and recommendations for your audience. You can use data visualization techniques to present complex information clearly and compellingly, improving reader comprehension and engagement.

When you compile the data your audience is looking for in one place, they’ll view you as both a helpful and authoritative brand. They’ll come back the next time they’re looking for an expert’s perspective on a subject and may well become a customer in the future. 


White paper topics—how to select the RIGHT one

Now that you’ve got lots of great white paper topics at your fingertips, you need to prioritize the topics that align most closely with your audience’s needs.

Consider factors such as relevance, timeliness, uniqueness and potential impact when evaluating white paper topic ideas. Aim for topics that aren’t just interesting and readable for your audience, but also differentiate your brand and offer tangible value.

For example, Slack’s white paper on remote work productivity resonated with its audience during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering actionable tips and best practices for distributed teams. 

By addressing timely challenges and providing practical solutions, Slack positioned itself as a trusted advisor and resource for remote workers worldwide.

White paper topics—10 examples

1. ‘The State of Cloud Adoption in [Industry]’

This white paper topic could delve into the current trends, challenges and opportunities related to cloud adoption in a specific industry, providing valuable insights for businesses considering cloud solutions.

2. ‘The Ultimate Guide to [Specific Technology]’

This white paper topic could offer in-depth insights into a particular technology, such as artificial intelligence, biometrics or augmented reality, outlining its applications, benefits and best practices for implementation.

3. ‘The Future of [Industry] in the Digital Age’

This white paper topic could focus on the digital transformation of a specific industry, exploring emerging technologies, disruptive trends, and strategies for businesses to stay competitive in a rapidly evolving landscape.

4. ‘The ROI of [SaaS Product]’

This white paper topic could provide a detailed analysis of the ROI businesses can expect by adopting your SaaS product, including cost savings, efficiency gains and revenue growth.

5. ‘The Definitive Guide to [Business Process Optimization]’

This white paper topic could offer practical tips to help businesses optimize their workflows and streamline operations using SaaS solutions—ultimately improving productivity and performance.

6. ‘The Impact of [SaaS Product] on [Key Metrics]’

This white paper topic could present case studies and real-world examples of how a specific SaaS product has helped multiple businesses improve key metrics such as customer retention, revenue growth or employee satisfaction.

7. ‘Navigating Compliance and Security in the Cloud’

This white paper topic could address concerns around data privacy, regulatory compliance and cybersecurity, guiding how businesses can effectively manage risks and compliance when using cloud-based SaaS solutions.

8. ‘Unlocking the Power of Data with [Analytics/BI Platform]’

This white paper topic could explore how businesses can harness the power of data analytics and business intelligence tools to gain valuable insights and drive strategic growth.

9. ‘Scaling Your Business with [SaaS Platform]’

This white paper topic could target growth businesses, discussing strategies for scaling operations, expanding market reach and managing resources effectively using a specific SaaS solution.

10. ‘The Future of Work: Trends and Technologies Shaping the Workplace’

This white paper topic could explore the evolving nature of work in the digital age, examining remote collaboration tools, flexible work arrangements and other SaaS solutions that are transforming the workplace.

Need a hand with your SaaS white paper?

If you’re anything like our other SaaS customers, you’re probably juggling more balls than a circus. We’re here to help. Check out our white paper writing service.

« back to all posts
Avatar photo
Emily Amos

As the founder of Uplift Content, Emily leads her team in creating done-for-you case studies, ebooks and blog posts for high-growth SaaS companies like ClickUp, Calendly and WalkMe. Connect with Emily on Linkedin

Back to Top