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May 21, 2018 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Image via Flickr by wocintechchat.com
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.
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