To woo business decision-makers, a dozen blog posts won’t cut it. If you want the attention of these savvy individuals, you need to up your content game BIG TIME!
That’s why seasoned marketers use white papers because they do such a swell job at convincing decision-makers.
Sure, white papers might be more challenging to produce than articles or social media posts. But when it comes to lead generation, authority building, and sales, the white paper is king.
What is a white paper?
By definition, a white paper is an in-depth, detailed document published by an organization to educate an audience. It focuses on a product along with the problems and issues it aims to solve.
A white paper is typically published in PDF format — often filled to the brim with data visualizations, tables, and statistics. Its facts may come from a handful of verifiable sources, like:
- Industry reports
- Case studies
- Original research
- Other white papers
For a brand, the white paper is the ultimate “in-your-face” content in the B2B landscape. It aims to sell a solution by presenting data to back up claims about the product’s features.
Well-designed white papers also succeed in making data sets as readable as possible. This ensures an engaging educational experience that will drive decision-makers to take action.
White papers in marketing
White papers make sense in a B2B setting where leads need extensive research before making a purchase decision. They can also help B2C companies convince their audience that they’re dealing with a credible information source.
Unlike case studies and ebooks, white papers can be more expensive to create because of the great deal of research involved in the production process.
Still, white papers are indeed a valuable addition to any content marketing strategy. Even if you’re in a B2C industry like retail, grooming, or lifestyle, they give your brand something competitors don’t have. And that’s an authoritative, compelling piece of content that uses data to create paying customers.
Are white papers still relevant? 8 reasons they’re crucial to business marketing
Regardless if you’re in B2B or B2C, here are eight reasons why you need to use white papers to spice up your marketing:
1. B2B buyers are swayed by white papers
According to the 2018 Content Preferences Survey Report by Demand Gen, 71 percent of B2B buyers consumed white papers to empower their purchase decisions. Most of them also spent more time reading white papers than reading ebooks or listening to podcasts.
This only solidifies the position of white papers as the ultimate selling tool for B2B brands.
2. White papers will get you cited
Content creators and publishers love to sprinkle statistics over their posts to make them more authoritative.
By publishing a white paper with original research, you boost your chances of getting cited and earning natural, high-quality backlinks. Not only will this send traffic directly to your site, but it will also have a positive impact on your search engine rankings.
3. Win the industry’s trust
Investing in a single white paper will have long-term benefits for your brand’s image.
For one, it serves as irrefutable proof of your expertise in the industry. And for another, it shows that you can have access to information that leads to data-driven decisions. This should increase buyer confidence around the solutions you’re trying to sell.
4. Attain thought leadership
If you continue to publish data-rich content, you can establish yourself as a thought leader in your niche.
Stakeholders, from customers to other brands, will turn to you for insights. More importantly, they will listen to what you have to say. All this will have a direct effect on your social media presence along with your lead generation efforts.
5. Offer a white paper as a lead magnet
A direct way for white papers to affect lead generation is to offer them as “opt-in bribes.” The plan is simple: Ask your audience to subscribe to your mailing list in exchange for the white paper.
Plenty of businesses in both B2B and B2C spheres use this strategy to ramp up lead generation. Just avoid turning your white paper into a sales pitch and focus on giving your audience accurate facts and knowledge.
6. Generate leads with high purchase intent
The longer prospects spend consuming your content, the more likely they’ll reach the bottom of your sales funnel.
It’s already established that B2B leads spend a lot of time reading white papers. You just need to offer them solutions that directly address or align with the facts you present. Play your cards right and generating conversions from white papers shouldn’t be a problem.
7. Bring traffic to old posts and pages
In case you didn’t know, white papers published in PDF format can contain links.
A lot of brands that use white papers include internal links to existing posts or pages on their website. This allows you to squeeze value out of old content that would otherwise only gather virtual dust.
8. Skyrocket demand for your product
A great white paper emphasizes the target audience’s pain points in the most compelling way possible.
Using proven data and statistics, readers understand the gravity of their problems.
For example, a company may already know their processes are outdated and inefficient. But, to them, it doesn’t appear urgent unless you attach the actual costs they incur.An article will tell them that they’re losing money. A white paper, however, will tell them they’re giving up $10,000 a month in lost sales. To top it off, a white paper positions your product as their shot to win that money back. Click To Tweet
Tips for creating a white paper
Ready to use white papers to put your content marketing on steroids? Here are tips for creating white papers that can attract leads:
- Have a single goal: Are you creating a white paper to nurture existing leads, or do you want to generate new ones? Identify your goal from the get-go and avoid loading up your white paper with information meant for different audiences.
- Conduct original research: White papers that only source data from third-party studies or reports lose a lot of their authoritativeness. If possible, create white papers using original data obtained from your own research.
- Show, don’t tell: Colorful and easy-to-read visuals give engaging white papers their charm. Be creative with visualizations and incorporate a variety of formats, from pie charts to timelines, to keep it interesting.
- Mention real examples: Don’t reduce everything down to just numbers. Include actual names, cases, and — if possible — quotes to make your white paper more relatable and impactful.
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