From IT to health care to consulting, businesses in a variety of sectors rely on white papers to provide in-depth reports and high-level solutions. Though the exact guidelines for this type of publication might vary from industry to industry, one aspect is common across all sectors. Without basic marketing principles in place, white papers can’t adequately serve the industries they’re designed for. Instead of letting your business’s hard work languish, learn how to market white papers for a successful campaign.

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8 Ways to Market White Papers

Create a Catchy Title

If you’ve never stopped to consider how much of an impact a catchy title has on the success of your white paper, take a moment to think about how many blog posts and high-level publications you’ve glazed over simply because they didn’t capture your interest. As the number of white papers available in your industry continues to grow on what seems like a daily basis, it’s more important than ever to grab readers’ attention immediately.

When you’re brainstorming titles with your team, however, don’t focus on catchiness alone. Be sure to feature industry buzzwords to catch interest, and include keywords that will boost your white paper’s search potential online.

Incorporate Solid Writing

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No matter the size of your industry, creating a strong white paper is a tremendous opportunity to put your business in the spotlight. Not only should a white paper feature cutting-edge ideas relevant to readers within your vertical, it should also incorporate skilled writing that allows your innovative concepts to shine.

High-level by nature, a white paper should capture the interest of the greatest thought leaders in your field, while also speaking to those who want to learn more about your vertical. To see the greatest returns from your efforts on this project, rely on expert copywriters who have advanced insight into your industry.

Include Interactive Content

When it comes to producing high-level content, even the most animated writing only goes so far. In addition to solid research and writing, be sure to include interactive content in your white paper. Start simple with links to relevant articles, studies, and products on your company’s website, or provide clickable links to your business’s social media profiles so readers can continue the conversation. Take your interactive content to the next level, and incorporate infographics to help market white papers on social media and generate specific leads.

Develop a Landing Page

White papers make ideal marketing tools, but they’ll never generate the buzz you want without a landing page. To market white papers successfully, create a basic landing page. Start by drafting a few hundred words’ worth of content that sells the white paper. Incorporate keywords to optimize for search traffic, and include an option to access or download the white paper. Most importantly, be sure to capture readers’ information in order to add them to your sales channels.

Even if you feel confident that your landing page is spot on, consider A/B testing it in order to ensure that it’s as effective as you need it to be. Monitor both versions for conversion rates until you have a reasonable sample size, and then make necessary adjustments so you can distribute the white paper as widely as possible.

Keep It Simple

Even though you’ll undoubtedly want to approach your plan for marketing a white paper as a method for generating as many leads as possible, it’s important to keep the process simple for the reader. When developing a download or email sign-up form, don’t ask potential clients to devote more than a minute or two to filing in the required information.

Instead, keep this part of your marketing plan simple and just request the basics, such as name, company, interest, and contact information. From there, you can funnel each new lead into the appropriate segmented list, and route each one through your automated marketing workflow. While taking the simple route might make you feel like you’re leaving out critical steps, it should actually amplify your lead generation and connect you with more potential clients.

Know Where to Distribute

In many industries, the possibilities for distribution are nearly endless. From blogs to syndication to newsletters to earned media, you might be faced with an overwhelming number of distribution outlets. When you have numerous great opportunities at your fingertips, it’s important to understand the outlets that offer the greatest ROI for your industry.

Familiarize yourself with the top journalists, blogs, and syndication possibilities in your field, and don’t discount the chance to promote your work at conferences and speaking engagements. Whichever outlets you pursue, don’t forget to promote your white paper through your own blog and newsletter channels, especially since your readership has already opted in to learn about your latest and greatest news.

Make It Social

No matter how many distribution channels you have at your disposal, don’t neglect your own social platforms. If you have a dedicated following on more than one network, you already have a built-in audience for your white paper. Promote and market white papers to your social media followers across the appropriate platforms. This can be especially beneficial for both generating new leads and creating more complete marketing profiles for existing clients.

While you should certainly promote your white paper on all social channels, remember that some have tools designed just for this purpose. LinkedIn, the top-rated B2B social network, allows business users to create related content on LinkedIn Publisher and share it with users in target groups.

Lean on Your Network

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Whether you’re in the tech field or the security industry, take your distribution and social efforts one step further, and connect with influencers and experts in your area. Find industry-specific networks, and share details about your white paper with a rapt audience. Don’t hesitate to share a surprising detail, raise an engaging issue, or ask for feedback from your peers in order to get your network talking.

Once your company has made the smart decision to produce a white paper, don’t go into the process blindly. From brainstorming to content creation to distribution, follow these tips to market  white papers to their fullest potential.

No content marketing strategy is complete with blog posts 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 create white papers and how this expert-level material completes a comprehensive content marketing strategy.

What White Papers Do for Your Business

Create white papers for a variety of benefits

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White papers 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, white papers 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 white papers aren’t direct sales tools, they do help gauge client interest and generate potential leads. You can create white papers to track 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, white papers 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 white papers to make purchasing decisions, and over two-thirds of marketers consider white papers 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, create white papers to 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 white papers 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.

Create White Papers with Best Practices

As high-level pieces of content, white papers demand much more than just run-of-the-mill execution. Instead, they require careful research, strong writing, and professional editing.

Start by framing your white paper 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 white paper 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 white papers to give the project a professional sheen.

In addition to great writing, the best white papers 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 white papers don’t have overly salesy tones. Rather than directly selling to readers, focus your white paper on building your company’s trustworthiness, anticipating client questions, and sharing your informed ideas about the future of your industry.

Effective Marketing Tools for White Papers

Even the best white paper 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 white paper 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 white papers 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 white paper through a number of effective channels. Develop a series of blog posts that highlight your white paper and appeal to various marketing personas. Reach out to influencers in your field, and ask them to share your white paper 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 white paper 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 white paper on your landing page.

Don’t sell your business short by leaving expert-level material out of your content marketing approach. Create white papers to highlight your company’s expertise, share your knowledge, and help your clients make informed decisions about your business’s products and services.