White papers have been around for quite a while, but I’ve noticed that many businesses misuse the idea and get disappointing results.I think the reason is that many people don’t understand the distinction between marketing literature and a true white paper.Marketing literature, such as a brochure, is just what it sounds like. It’s literature intended to sell you something. It may be informative and interesting, but the purpose is clear. It works best when the person requesting the literature is curious about a specific product.A properly-written white paper, however, is not simply sales literature in disguise. It is intended to be an authoritative report or a guide focused on an important, relevant issue. It seeks to educate readers and help them solve a problem or make a decision.