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Vector art illustration for comparing White Papers and Case Studies for the article What is the Difference Between White Papers and Case Studies

What is the Difference between White Papers and Case Studies?

Case Studies and White Papers are types of B2B content that help businesses show their products or services are reliable and effective. Although White Papers and Case Studies both feature real-life testimonials and examples, the terms aren’t synonymous. This article will help you easily distinguish between them and determine which works best with your business model.

What is a Case Study?

A Case Study is also known as a Customer Success Story. It describes how your company overcame obstacles and solved a client’s problem. This description is usually divided into the following three parts:

  1. Situation/Problem
  2. Solution
  3. Results/Benefits

Case Studies put prospects in your client’s shoes and show what working with your company is like. This makes Case Studies powerful selling tools, so post them on your website or incorporate them into your sales cycle.

Additionally, showcasing your best clients in a Case Study builds trust in your company. Prospects will be more likely to say yes to a partnership knowing that other established businesses have had verifiable positive experiences with you.

Click here to review the library of our Case Studies.

What is a White Paper?

A White Paper is an authoritative document that explores an industry-specific issue or topic. It can also showcase a solution, product, or service that your company offers or plans to offer. A White Paper doesn’t focus on the experience of working with your company. Instead, it concentrates on a specific problem your company can solve and details about your company’s solution. 

White Papers are usually longer and more formal than Case Studies, and the content is often technical and supported by outside research. As a result, the audience of White Papers doesn’t consist of the casual, everyday reader. Instead, companies use White Papers to try to sell goods and services to prospects and clients and convince investors to take part in the company. 

Use White Papers as gated marketing content or send them directly to prospects and clients.

Click here to review samples of White Papers.

At a Glance: The Difference between Case Studies and White Papers

Refer to the following table to quickly view the differences between White Papers and Case Studies:

Case StudyWhite Paper
AudienceEveryday readers, individual customers, and any prospectsProspects, current clients, investors, and anyone wanting to learn more about a particular topic, solution, product, or service
FocusA client’s positive experience with the company’s product or serviceAn industry-specific issue or topic, or key features of the company’s particular solution, product, or service
PurposeNurture prospects and build trust in the companyEstablish the company as an expert in the field or industry, generate leads, explain a product or service, and influence investors
Number of Clients FeaturedOne clientSeveral clients—or no clients at all
Typical Length2 pages3–12 pages
Level of DetailHigh-level, straightforward summary of the situation, solution, and resultsDetailed account with technical information and outside research
Level of FormalityCasualFormal
Level of ResearchLowHigh
Distribution MethodWebsite content and incorporation into the selling processGated marketing content or direct distribution to prospects and clients

Conclusion

Now that you know about the differences between Case Studies and White Papers, which do you need for your business? If you’re still not sure, get in touch with us. We’ll help you figure out what option is best for you.

Stef Mates

Stef Mates has been writing, designing, editing, and managing a variety of content types for several different industries for more than 15 years. She started at SuccessKit as a freelancer in November 2019 and became an official part of the team as the Director of Editing, Writing, and Design in June 2021.

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