B2B buyers have relied on white papers for years to shortlist vendors and evaluate choices. Now marketers see the true value of hiring a white paper writer for their content marketing.
Whether you’re targeting consumers at the top, middle or bottom of the sales funnel, a well-written white paper is an essential tool in your marketing tool kit.
If you sell innovative, complex or expensive products to other businesses, you can definitely profit from publishing white papers. These persuasive, fact-based reports have amazing reach and influence.
Did you know that half of business decision makers in North America spend at least 30 minutes every week consuming thought leadership content? Or that 41% of C-Suite executives say thought leadership has led them to include a company in a RFP opportunity.
Done right, thought leadership content is clearly a worthwhile investment. And what format is at the top of the pile? Yep! White papers.
Why do white papers have so much influence? If they're well-planned, well-researched and well-written (hint: not all of them are), they can help you:
In short, white papers are incredibly effective in building a company's credibility and getting a website noticed by major search engines and target audiences. That translates into more leads and more sales.
White papers are one of the most influential content marketing strategies available.
All white papers have one thing in common: they educate their audience by presenting a problem and providing a solution. However, they're not a sales pitch. Yes, they are a remarkable marketing tool for B2B vendors, but there is no appeal to emotions, no puff-speak and no exaggeration.
They're not an ebook either. Ebooks are much lighter in style than white papers, both in style and format. And because they're more visually engaging in general, they have fewer words on each page and use a more casual tone of voice.
White papers are factual and informative, so the language must be clear and concise. Benefits must be proven. This doesn’t mean you can’t make your white paper engaging. It's entirely possible to create an interesting and readable document designed to help someone understand an issue, solve a problem or reach a decision.
One of the main reasons a white paper fails is that it oversells. Too much selling irritates the reader and demolishes any authority you were trying to establish. Another good reason for failure? The business didn't hire a professional white paper writer.
All white papers must be well-researched. That's because they're aimed at a bunch of trained sceptics, which includes B2B buyers, analysts, technicians, journalists and engineers. And so it follows that white papers generally have a similar format, which I outline below:
Sadly, not all white papers meet expectations. It may be that the content simply doesn't address the pain points experienced by the intended reader. Or maybe the topic is well chosen but the writing style isn't up to scratch. White papers that are poorly put together are not going to convince audiences your product or service is the solution they're looking for.
But many white papers fail because they’re not publicized effectively. And that’s such a waste of time, money and effort. A well-considered marketing strategy is essential for all white papers. You have to let your target audience know it exists, and you have to encourage them to read it.
There are numerous ways to market your white paper, including:
Most marketing tactics for white papers are relatively easy to implement, although you may want a little help with those tasks that demand professional writing skills, such as the articles, landing page and press releases. Of course, the best person to ask for help is your white paper writer because he or she would already have all the background information needed. You may even be offered a special deal!
My role as a white paper writer is to present my client (your company) as a trusted adviser and respected seller. I do this by appealing to your target audience with logic, not emotion. This sets apart a white paper from most other types of copy.
The creation process is more challenging than writing a blog post or sales letter. In fact, a whole team can be involved (e.g. writer, designer, subject experts, in-house researchers, reviewers, printer).
But even if it’s just you and me, publishing a white paper that business decision makers will take seriously requires careful planning, an organized process and sufficient production time. That's why I offer a White Paper Planning service. Planning a step-by-step process and identifying the contributors and their roles at the start of the project is vital for a successful white paper.
Once the planning for your white paper has been done, I will:
The results are a quality white paper that your company can publish and promote with confidence.
In 2017, 45% of business decision makers and 53% of C-suite executives admit to losing respect and admiration for companies producing low-quality or irrelevant thought-leadership content.
In fact, over 30% of business decision makers have removed companies from consideration after engaging with what they viewed as poor thought leadership content. So, it seems that not investing in well-written content like white papers can have a negative effect on your brand.
Source: How Thought Leadership Impacts B2B Demand Generation: June 1, 2017 (Edelman LinkedIn)
White papers are perfect for today's world of inbound marketing. Re-purpose them and you can stretch your investment even further.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 360-525-8277 to discuss your needs.
I've worked with many industries over the years and I have a business background, so I can get up to speed with unfamiliar companies and products quickly, and work comfortably as part of a team.
Together, we can get your white paper written and published!
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