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What is a white paper?
White papers are documents that can be shared with your audience, and usually can be referred to as reports or guides that offer possible solutions or deep-dives into different subject areas.
White papers have been used since the dawn of the internet, but only in the last few years have marketers and business owners started to see the value that these documents can add.
Who uses white papers?
Usually, white papers are used by B2B companies as these play an important role in the decision-making process of their buyers. Due to their educative and persuasive specificity, white papers are an important part of the marketing strategy.
Benefits of white papers
- Build a mailing list
- Generate leads
- Convey complex topics in a longer form
- Position yourself as a thought leader in the field
A study sponsored by Content 4 Demand outlines that white papers are a great tool for lead generation, as 75% of B2B buyers said that they would share information about themselves and their company in exchange for a whitepaper.
✔️ It’s a great way to build your mailing list
✔️ If you are new on the market, you can build your credibility and reach out to other partners that can help you grow your business faster
✔️ You can do it in-house if you have the time to do it and all the resources you need
❌ It might take time to write it and you need some extra resources, such as two experienced writers that can write and spell-check the document
❌ You need to promote it on other platforms too - if you want to reach the full potential, it is not enough to publish it just on your website
❌ You have to make it as interesting as possible, therefore you should back up everything with valuable data, statistics and research
What type of business can use white papers?
Agriculture industry, AI & machine learning industry, automotive industry, construction industry, cryptocurrency industry, entrepreneurship industry, financial services industry, human resources industry, insurance industry, IT services industry, law industry, marketing & advertising industry, real estate industry, recruiting industry, telecommunication industry, etc. (Needs to be remembered that it is more effective for B2B companies, but this does not mean that B2C can’t use this type of content).
How do you write a white paper?
- Writing white papers can be overwhelming, but there is no reason to worry. If you know what to do and have a plan or process to follow, you will see that this is not a complicated process.
- Know your audience. Before you start planning, make sure you know your audience, their needs, wants and their problems. This will help you write an amazing white paper that will be helpful for your audience.
- With a clear understanding of your audience, start doing some research and choose the topic of the whitepaper.
- If you already have the topic, you can make a plan - do some more research, start looking for content that you can use (blog posts, articles, news, brochures, annual reports, case studies).
- To add more value to your paper you have to move to the next step and interview some of the experts in the domain, or even leaders in your market.
- If you are happy with the information you have, based on your research and the interview, you have to plan the structure of the document. When planning the structure, think about a structure that will simplify the writing process and what will best suit your product/service and your audience.
- A popular format is a headline, a sub-headline, an introduction, the problems, the solutions, a conclusion and information about your company.
- Use a formal and professional tone of voice while using simple language (avoid jargon). Also, try not to mention your product directly, as the purpose of the white paper is to help, not to sell.
- After you finish writing, read the text again, to make sure there are no errors, typos etc. After that, ask an experienced writer to review it for grammar, spelling and accuracy.
- If you have the final version of the text, you have to think about the design of the whitepaper to highlight your brand’s values - use the correct colour palette, logos, font etc. It is recommended to use images, graphics, illustrations, that will make the whitepaper more appealing to the eye and easier to read.
- When all is done, publish the white paper on your website and share it on your social media profiles. You can also consider repurposing some of the information into other content formats, such as infographics, blog posts, etc.
After following these guidelines, you'll produce an engaging, informative white paper that motivates readers to take action and deepen their connection with your organisation.
By using a lead generation form or landing page on your website, you can catch a lead's data and gain valuable insight into the demographics and interests of your customer base.
So, you add it on your website, sit, and wait for the leads.
But, the visitors don’t come... where did you fail? Keep reading :)
The significance of distribution
The web is not the same as it was. As a result of the huge quantity of content generated daily and an ever-growing number of websites, it's a lot harder to get noticed.
To get people viewing your white paper, you must be smart not just about design and writing but promotion too. A few content marketing thought leaders have suggested that you should invest 20% of your time on content production and 80% online promotion.
Distribution is about identifying channels where your potential customers may be and sharing your whitepaper on those channels. Based upon the target audience, a few will be more applicable for you than the others.
The most successful way to distribute your white paper is based mostly on your intended audience and the industry.
Ensure you evaluate and research how knowledge is shared in your business. Every business will be slightly different. Reaching people in these places is your best guarantee of successful distribution.