Content Marketing – Why Worry About White Papers?

If you operate in the B2B marketplace, it is extremely likely that at some point you will have been asked to trade your email address in return for receiving a “white paper”. This magical document promises to explain why Cloud widgets help slash operating costs, increase efficiency and improve business profits (or something similar). But only if you sign up first. No email address, no white paper.

A collection of white papers in folders ready for use in content marketing

If you printed out all the white papers on the Internet, it would look a bit like this

White paper madness?

The white paper is at the forefront of a “new” revolution called content marketing. But really it boils down to a very old marketing premise – give the customer something for nothing, and have them join your marketing mailing list in the process.

The reason that white papers are so popular is because:

  • Your client finds the information useful and applicable to their situation
  • Each sign-up is a pre-qualified sales lead for you
  • White papers are relatively cheap to produce and offer a decent return on investment

The client has already demonstrated an interest in your subject and solutions when they download the document. This can then be used by your sales team to create a more-targeted campaign focusing on these people and increasing the likelihood of converting them into a customer.

How to succeed with white papers?

A quick search on Google turns up millions of free white papers (over 7 million as I write this), so how do you make yours stand out?

Relevance

Choose an aspect of your service or product which addresses a real-world issue faced by your customers. Often this means a white paper is very narrow in scope, but this also makes it much more relevant to the people downloading it, creating a finely tuned sales lead. Using a search term as the paper title (“How does Cloud CRM improve my company turnover?”) gives you a starting point to construct a case and attract more readers.

Authority

Your business should know what  it is talking about. Your white paper should then establish credibility about your knowledge and experience. This is best achieved by using general industry information and statistics, rather than allowing the document to become yet another sales brochure.

Facts and stats

People love facts and stats, and your white paper needs to be stuffed with them if it is going to prove a point. Reference respected sources and studies wherever possible to increase trust. Spend the time researching relevant information to give your white paper some real “meat“. You can also use quotes from respected industry figures for added credibility.

Focus

Pick a subject or central theme and stick to it. If you find you want to address a closely-related topic, consider creating a second white paper. Don’t muddle issues or you will confuse readers and dilute your authority.

The white paper can then be offered for download from your website until the content becomes outdated. The document offers many of the benefits of a traditional brochure or mailing without the printing and postage costs. Better yet, only people who are interested receive the document, reducing marketing budget wastage.

If you would like to know more about white papers, content marketing, and how they can be applied to boost your sales leads (and ultimately your company profits) drop us a line. We research and write white papers for clients operating in a variety of different sectors, and can certainly help you too.

Written by Ben Lloyd


Ben Lloyd has worked in the IT industry since 1996, covering a number of roles from helpdesk support to network management and everything in between. Tech Write is built on this experience, offering outstanding technical copywriting services to agencies and clients across the world.

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