White papers might not be the newest platform for the distribution of informational content but they certainly are one of the most effective marketing tools that many B2B environments have thrived off of.
This under-the-radar tool walks the thin line between education and promotion, perfectly positioning your business as a thought leader while providing answers to various industry matters at the same time. And when done right, it can help generate leads, improve SEO, traffic and brand awareness for your company.
Turn your content strategy into a money making machine
When you compile a white paper, the idea is to write a document that is longer than a blog post but shorter than an ebook. It must not come across as a sales pitch but rather a more in-depth report on a specific topic. Although these reports are considered to be more technical, they need to be written in such a way that it shows your readers who you are, what you do and where you position yourself in the market.
Here are the four key benefits of using a white paper in your content strategy.
White papers generate warm leads
White papers are not designed for the casual reader, but rather for someone who is seeking information to help them achieve a specific objective or someone who is struggling to action the final stage of their purchasing decision. In addition to you motivating your topic, these reports will build connections with people who admire your wealth of knowledge and people who are looking for expert advice.
White papers usually take quite a bit of time to create as they require specialist knowledge in a specific field. Whatever it is that you choose, you need to provide your readers with information that is useful. While the planning can be quite time-consuming, the return on investment is well-worth your time. The more you create, the bigger your lead-generating machine will grow to be.
As great as the content may be, your promotional approach to your already-written white paper is the real test. Find creative ways to integrate it into your marketing strategy by sharing it on your social channels, through Google AdWords and other call-to-actions on your website. Webinars can also be used as an alternative tool to sharing that information, especially for people who digest information better through audio and video. Be sure to monetise that content for further company or promotional use too.
White papers build brand awareness and brand image
Gone are the days where push marketing tactics were the most effective marketing solution for your business. Today, the key to success is being able to utilise different online tools to increase brand awareness and overall brand reputation. When companies personalise their knowledge and opinions on a trending topic, it naturally draws people to the brand. Once you’ve drawn them in, you have the opportunity to really capture their attention through your brand voice and your expertise. Try to establish a strong sense of authority in your content by persuading through logic, not emotion. The minute your content becomes emotional, you’re starting to manipulate your readers.
White papers help you build brand trust and win over customers
Success in the digital age starts and ends with trust. When you show your audience your authoritative, insightful and demonstrative voice, people will start to pin you as an expert in your field. Only once your customers truly trust your advice, will they lean on you for assistance with their own challenges.
Your target audience will also determine the type of content you create. If you are targeting businesses with your white papers, many decision makers prefer facts to strong opinions or sales pitches. They want to have a clear explanation of the topic, the best practices to support their business functions, as well as good solutions to solve their problem. If you are targeting consumers, they prefer discussions.
White papers help grow your mailing list
Getting someone to sign up for your newsletter is a painful task. But if you start giving out free content, like funny cat videos, then people will start taking an interest. Why? Because you’re giving them something that is useful to them. It’s the same with white papers. Use them to get more people to sign up because they know they can expect something in return. The bottom line is: direct marketing is not dead. Not everyone uses social media, but at least 90% of internet users have an email account.
Lead the way to digital success
White papers are an essential content marketing tool if done right. As mentioned, they can significantly increase traffic and social reach, build relationships and, most importantly, generate leads for your company. If this is something that interests you and your company, grab it by the horns and have fun.
White papers are a great way to position your brand and keep your customers glued to their screens.