No content marketing strategy is complete with blog posts or e-books alone. As you solidify your company’s approach to content marketing, you’ll find that you need a variety of content types to create a cohesive plan. Learn why all businesses should produce whitepapers and how this expert-level material completes a comprehensive content marketing strategy.
What Whitepapers Do for Your Business
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Whitepapers offer your business a unique opportunity to connect with potential clients. Unlike short-form content like blog posts, long-form white papers are designed to educate and inform your client base. As expert-level pieces of content, whitepapers give your business the space to establish itself as a trustworthy authority. Share new insights and credible data as you address client concerns and needs, and you can position yourself as a reliable source to a new market.
While whitepapers aren’t direct sales tools, they do help gauge client interest and generate potential leads. Track white paper shares and downloads to monitor interest, and capture contact information from readers. From there, you can help potential customers take action and move on to the next decision-making step in the purchasing process.
How White Papers Benefit Your Clients
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As a type of content that increasingly appeals to businesses, whitepapers have become one of the most common tools to help business-to-business (B2B) companies make buying decisions. In fact, more than 50 percent of B2B buyers use whitepapers to make purchasing decisions, and over two-thirds of marketers consider whitepapers to be key components in content marketing strategy. You will, too, once you see how white papers impact your clients.
In a world where marketing is everywhere, sales pitches are omnipresent, and content is bite-sized, white papers offer something entirely different. Rather than bombarding readers with sales pitches, they offer thought-provoking analyses of new data, answer frequently asked questions, and help readers gain a better understanding of an in-depth topic. Readers who consume them early in the purchasing decision process tend to gain the most value, as they seek industry context, points of comparison, and an authoritative voice.
Ultimately, great whitepapers help readers educate themselves about a topic that’s important for business. When done right, this premium content will play an active role in the purchasing process and encourage clients to trust your brand and your scope of knowledge.
Best Practices for Creating Whitepapers
As high-level pieces of content, whitepapers demand much more than just run-of-the-mill execution. Instead, they require careful research, strong writing, and professional editing.
Start by framing your whitepaper with a unique perspective. Remember that education is one of the primary purposes of this type of content, but that doesn’t mean you should err on the side of simplicity. Because your readers can find basic information on your field almost anywhere, approach your topic from a viewpoint they won’t find elsewhere. Not only will this help your whitepaper stand out from the pack, but it can also give your brand extra clout.
When it comes to writing and editing, it’s in your best interest to leave these tasks to professionals so your content truly shines. If you don’t have a writer and an editor on your team, don’t hesitate to outsource this important step. Contract a writer with industry experience or a content production company that excels at creating whitepapers to give the project a professional sheen.
In addition to great writing, the best whitepapers include interactive elements. Include hyperlinks to direct readers to data and related content on your website. Incorporate videos or interactive infographics that invite readers to delve deeper into the topic at hand.
As you go through each step of the process, from ideation to research to writing to editing, don’t forget that the best whitepapers don’t have overly salesy tones. Rather than directly selling to readers, focus your whitepaper on building your company’s trustworthiness, anticipating client questions, and sharing your informed ideas about the future of your industry.
Effective Marketing Tools for Whitepapers
Even the best whitepaper won’t reach your ideal audience without a marketing plan. Begin the project with a promotion plan in place so you can hit the ground running as soon as it’s complete.
To give your whitepaper the spotlight it deserves, create a landing page where interested clients can download it. Like most landing pages, this can be relatively simple. Include marketing copy that’s optimized for search engines, and work in a clear call to action that invites readers to download the content.
Because whitepapers are ideal for generating leads, you’ll need to incorporate a tool for gathering potential client information right on the landing page. Require readers to enter their names and email addresses prior to download, and funnel them into your automated marketing workflow. Don’t forget to A/B test the landing page to make sure it functions the way you intend, and edit as necessary to generate the maximum number of leads.
From blog posts to syndication to social media, you can distribute your whitepaper through a number of effective channels. Develop a series of blog posts that highlight your whitepaper and appeal to various marketing personas. Reach out to influencers in your field, and ask them to share your whitepaper with their audience, or go the syndication route and distribute it through major channels in your industry.
You should also share your landing page and relevant blog posts about your whitepaper through your social channels. Promote it via Facebook and Twitter, and feature it prominently on LinkedIn, especially if you’re a B2B company. Try publishing a short passage on LinkedIn Publisher, and direct readers to download the complete whitepaper on your landing page.
Don’t sell your business short by leaving expert-level material out of your content marketing approach. Create whitepapers to highlight your company’s expertise, share your knowledge, and help your clients make informed decisions about your business’s products and services.