Writing the Perfect ICO Whitepaper in the 21st Century
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Dorian Martin, a senior writer and content marketing specialist who is a frequent contributor and consultant to Studicus and Best Essay Education, and who maintains a personal blog, NotBusinessAsUsusal, containing articles on startup strategies and content marketing for entrepreneurs, explains how to write the perfect whitepaper.

There are a lot of whitepapers floating around that are garbage. And there are some pretty good ones too. They are written for all sorts of reasons, but most often are used by companies as a marketing tool, to convince others that an idea has value.

An ICO whitepaper is no different. The point of the whitepaper is to convince others that your idea is worthwhile – that it merits support from others in the form of investments of cash, coin, recommendations, or public recognition/sharing. If it does all of these things, then it can be considered “perfect” for your purposes.

But doing all of this is a tall order indeed. And it is going to take time, lots of help (if you have never done this before), and probably plenty of drafts before the final document is ready for the public.

So, let’s take a look at the steps that are involved in crafting that “perfect” ICO whitepaper.

Pre-Writing Steps

You have an idea, and you want to promote it with an ICO. All well and good. Now it’s time to refine your idea and your project into a working piece that can be used to craft that final whitepaper. This is often called a “light paper,” and it can be used to attract advisors/team members for the final document creation.

How is this “light paper” created? There are several steps.

  • Read a number of successful whitepapers – what makes them good? How do they craft their idea and project into a compelling piece?
  • Conduct the research on your project idea and be certain that you are offering something of unique value and that you have the solution to a problem that will fill a gap in what the industry currently offers.
  • One good technique that you can use is a simple mind map that will let you engage in free thought and then to combine and consolidate all of those thoughts into key aspects of your idea/project. Once you have done this, you are ready to look for advisors.

How Do You Find the Right Advisors?

Here is another time-consuming task. Finding good advisors among a sea of potentials will take research, conversation, and separating the “wheat from the chaff.”

Advisors market themselves on crypto sites, search engines, and even on social media. But many are rather fraudulent, looking to make some quick cash or a free ride, without sound expertise and successful histories. There are some warning signs:

  • Demand for cash up-front. If an advisor really believes in your project, he will put in the time for later gain. They will be happy to take a percentage of tokens at a later date.
  • Success even two years ago is not enough. You want advisors with very recent successes – that’s how fast things are changing in this business.
  • Requesting too large a percentage of the token economy.
  • They want the ability to cash out quickly after ICO launch.

Look for the following:

  • Diversity of skills: Advisors do not have to be blockchain tech experts. You need marketing, PR, legal, etc. expertise, as well as someone who has familiarity with influencers.
  • Connections with reputable suppliers and funders: Suppliers are far more willing to come through with support if they know and trust an advisor’s opinion.
  • Experience writing successful ICO whitepapers: This is huge, because there are critical components that must be included. Mark Murray, Director of Recruitment for Trust My Paper, puts it this way: “When we recruit writers for any of our departments, they must have proven experience that we can verify. Each type of writing is unique and, before we take any new writer on, we have to be certain of his/her expertise. Otherwise, we won’t consider such a hire.”
  • Access to and understanding of the exchanges, wallets, KYC, etc. This will make it easier to list your tokens when you are ready and which wallets and ICO platforms to use.
  • Blockchain. This is the tech part, and it is a must – someone not only capable of setting up your blockchain but who is connected to protocols.
  • Tokenomics. Someone with a solid track record in token metrics, who can expertly value your token as it is taken to market.

Look for advisors who have two or more of these skills, and you will be set.

Crafting the ICO Whitepaper

Your whitepaper will contain critical sections, none of which can be glossed over. Failure to develop each section will mean failure of the entire paper. As this is crafted, take the counsel of those members of your advisement team who have experience writing them before.

Briefly, each section will include the following:

The Mission Statement

This must be clear, succinct, engaging, and demonstrate your own enthusiasm for the project. What are you looking to do? Let your inspiration inspire others. Think of this as the headline and first sentence of an amazing news article about a huge event.

Highlight Your Team

Write amazing bios and link these to their LinkedIn profiles. Polish up their social media profiles and accounts, list their achievements and awards, their press – anything that shows them as experts and recognized in their niches. Include headshots. The goal is to show the reader that you have amassed a team of rock stars. Jan Castello, PR Director for Grab My Essay, reinforces the importance of showcasing a business team: “Our business is writing expertise. If we do not highlight the backgrounds and expertise of our professional writers, who in the world would want to patronize our company? No one. Nothing is more critical than showing a capable, professional team with histories of success.”

Describe and Explain Your Product or Service

Provide a brief explanation of the industry – current size, growth and growth potential, and any market factors that will influence growth. You want readers to see that their will be demand for what you are producing and offering.

More Detailed Overview of Your Product

This section should be divided into two sub-sections:

  • What problem are you solving with your product/service? This is how you show a clear purpose for your project. Only if you are solving a problem will users see the value and embrace your product. Here’s a simple example. How many new mothers hate running out of diapers and having to run to the store, new infant in two, to get more? A subscription service that has diapers delivered to the door once a month solves a huge problem. This is why subscription services for anything from diapers to razor blades, to beauty products are so popular. Make sure that your reader understands you are solving a real-life problem.
  • How does the technology work? This is where your tech advisor really comes into play. You may not understand blockchain technology, but s/he does. And your whitepaper audience will be potential investors who are techies. Your blockchain description and explanation must be perfect, or you will lose credibility with them.

Your Token Metrics

OK. So, this is where the token economy is identified, explained, and justified. Basically, it is a complex method of analyzing and evaluating the value of your tokens. This requires expertise that you probably do not have, so rely on your advisor who has these skills. Without proper token metrics, your ICO will fail.

What is Your Growth Strategy?

In short, you are going to explain how you plan to get your idea to market and how you are going and exactly how the market will respond positively to your project. This must be a well-thought-out plan that is believable and backed by research and statistics in your industry. You should again touch upon the need for your product and the solution it provides, as well as how you plan to market and bring attention to it among your target audience members.

Additional Critical Elements and Tips

Now that you have the rough draft of your ICO whitepaper, it is time for all of those steps that will result in its success (success = interest and investments).

  • Don’t write a non-fiction book. An ICO should be complete, but simple and succinct. Language should be as simple as possible too – cut out as much industry jargon as possible. Potential investors will not have a lot of knowledge about your niche, so don’t overwhelm them with too much detail. Stick to need, value, and problems your product will solve. You will re-write this whitepaper many times before it is ready for publication.
  • Add professional-looking visuals whenever possible – images, diagrams, infographics – to support your text. Visuals can help to drive a point home, can make data easier to absorb, and can even empower your brand.
  • Ask others who are “uninformed” to read your whitepaper and give you feedback on whether they can understand it.

When you really believe that you have done the best you can; when your advisors have done their parts; when you have reviewed and edited several times and gotten the feedback of others; you will probably have a successful whitepaper. And remember this: it’s not just about raising funding. It’s a piece that will bring your idea to fruition over the long-term.

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