Where to Publish Your White Paper: 16 Promotional Tactics that Really Work
By Helen McCrone, SEO Copywriter
You’ve spent the last few weeks developing and writing your white paper. It’s been a team effort, and you’re delighted with the results.
Now you’re ready for the launch and you’re excited because you believe that a white paper represents an excellent return on marketing investment.
… if the target audience know it exists and is persuaded to read it.
Sadly, many white papers don’t meet expectations simply because they’re not publicized effectively.
And that’s such a waste of time, money and effort.
So, to help you make a successful launch of your next white paper, here are sixteen tried and tested promotional tactics that you can implement with relative ease.
Slideshow: The Best Places to Publish Your White Paper
Now let's look at those sixteen promotional tactics in a bit more detail...
1. Create a short, persuasive landing page
If you could choose only one promotion tactic, it would be this. A simple, good looking and convincing landing page. This standalone web page has just one purpose: to encourage and enable the website visitor to download your white paper.
You’ll need a brief, compelling text explaining the content of the white paper and a big, colorful button to allow downloading. It’s up to you whether you opt for a click-through landing page or a lead-generation landing page. The first has a simple download button. The latter allows you to collect lead data such as names and email addresses.
If you’re going to go for lead generation (and there are arguments for and against gated content), make sure your opt-in process is as short and simple as possible. You don’t want to scare people off by asking them for their life story. Their first name and email address are all you need in most cases, but I notice some companies ask for a job title too, which is their way of segmenting their leads at the earliest stage possible.
Landing Page Tip
Get your landing page ready a couple of weeks before you launch your white paper. You’ll want to make sure that it’s up and running perfectly because all the promotional tactics that follow will lead back to this web page.
2. Publish a press release about it
Issue a press release just before you launch your white paper. These short, factual official announcements— which are normally a page long and follow a certain format—are sent out to the news media and others.
A well-written press release is a great way to target journalists and news outlets that cover your industry. Try to build a list of between 20 and 30 journalists/publications to reach out to each time you publish a white paper. You might also want to look at the website of Mequoda, which has a list of best paid and free press release sites.
Send your press release to journalists ‘under embargo’ a day before it is to be published, then they can’t share your information until the date and time you specify. By sending it in a little early, you’re giving them time to write a piece around it.
3. Spotlight the white paper on your website
Don’t restrict publicity to only your landing page. Sprinkle mentions of your white paper around your website by placing links on your home page, blog page and anywhere else you think is appropriate. You never know where a visitor is going to land on your website, so give them every chance to download your latest creation.
This tactic is akin to placing ads on your website. Remember to put a link in your top menu bar that takes visitors to your resources/insights page (i.e. the page where you collate all your articles, white papers, news items, blog posts, etc.).
4. Mention it in your e-newsletter
Your regular communication with subscribers is a great opportunity to announce the publication of your white paper. Write a short blurb about it to generate interest, then add a link to your (impressive looking) landing page.
To give your newsletter a cohesive look and feel, you may want to have the other articles refer in some way to the topic of your white paper.
5. Get your colleagues to distribute it
Recruit your colleagues to help you in your distribution efforts. Explain your reasons for publishing the white paper and ask them to distribute it in a special email to their contacts. Ask them to add a link to the landing page to their standard email signature. Encourage them to hand out paper versions at meetings or presentations.
6. E-mail it to people you’re already connected with
Grab your list of clients, prospects, suppliers and distributors and shoot off emails to them all, not forgetting that all important link to your landing page. Are you a member of a Chamber of Commerce, a BNI or some other networking group? Then make sure they know about your white paper too.
If you want your email to look professional, with a graphic and a nice, shiny download button, consider using a free email marketing service like MailChimp or SendinBlue—they have plenty of templates you can customize to make them uniquely yours.
7. Broadcast it on social media
Tweet about your white paper on Twitter, post a message on your business Facebook page and LinkedIn newsfeed, mention it on Google+, create a Pinterest board for white papers. Whatever social media platforms you subscribe to, use them to broadcast your news. Don’t forget to add a ‘call to action’ to persuade your reader to visit your landing page.
8. Blog about the launch
Your own blog is a natural place to talk about the launch of your white paper, but don’t ignore other blogs that focus on your niche or topic. Ask other reputable bloggers if they would post on their blog an article you’ve written about your white paper.
Don’t give too much detail in the article; you want the reader to download the white paper, after all. Add just enough information to pique their interest. As always, remember to include a call to action and a link to your landing page.
Worried about duplicate content? There's no need. Google won't punish you. That's a stubborn myth that refuses to be busted. What's more, guest blogging can be a useful way to build backlinks. Having said that, duplicate content can impact your SEO, so it's worth rewording any article that's already on your site before you submit it to other sites (and do check the guest sites' guidelines).
9. Turn the white paper into a series of blog posts
Take two, three or four extracts from your white paper and rework them (don’t simply copy/paste whole sections). Ways to do this include making the tone of voice chattier, shortening some sentences, and adding some info you didn’t use in the paper itself.
Top and tail the text with a suitable introduction and conclusion and find a couple of relevant images. Publish the posts over a couple of weeks, soon after you publish your white paper.
Make sure each blog post has a link to your white paper’s landing page to increase website traffic and encourage readers to download.
10. Announce it to suitable LinkedIn groups
Make good use of any LinkedIn groups you’ve signed up to by telling them about the launch of your white paper. Sharing content with professionals in the same industry or with similar interests will help establish your credibility. Hey, it may even turn you into an industry expert in your own right!
11. Publish a short article on LinkedIn Publisher
Write a short article on your white paper’s topic, add a link to your landing page, and publish it on LinkedIn Publisher. Now this is not the same as posting a message on your news feed. LinkedIn Publisher is a separate platform that allows LinkedIn members and ‘influencers’ to publish articles on their areas of expertise.
Why is it worth doing this? Because the article will be shared not only with your connections and followers in their news feeds but also with members who aren't in your network. Also, any articles you post in LinkedIn Publisher will show up in your LinkedIn profile.
It is important that your article is original content, so don’t copy/paste one of your existing articles or blog posts. Note that you can't currently publish articles using your organization's name, only as an individual member of LinkedIn. Here’s a great example of a short article on LinkedIn Publisher: Build the Perfect Team
12. Get reviews from bloggers and journalists in your niche
Sending a press release to those who cover your cover your niche is worthy of your time. But don’t leave it there. Be bold. Ask journalists and bloggers upfront if they would write a review and post it on their blog or in their publication. Don’t forget to copy any decent reviews on to your own landing page.
13. Invite experts on your topic to guest blog
Experts who blog usually have a decent following, so their readers are likely to read a post they publish on your website. Make sure there’s a link to your white paper’s landing page so that the expert’s followers are encouraged to download your white paper.
Whether the expert will agree to guest blog or not may depend on how active your own blog is. If you have only a couple of followers and you don’t post regularly yourself, they’ll probably decline your invitation. But if they do accept, make sure they write about a topic strongly connected to your white paper. You’ll need to agree to include their byline, a link to their own website and probably a rel=canonical tag.
14. Ask for a mention in channel partner newsletters
Do you receive regular e-newsletters from your distributors, vendors, consultants and other partner organizations? If so, ask the marketing & communications manager for a mention of your white paper in their next issue. As always, make sure they include a link to your landing page.
15. Reach out to your industry’s associations
Boost your viewership for free by uploading your white paper onto a suitable publishing platform. Most professional associations have a resource on their website for members’ use, so it’s worth asking them if you can contribute. The website of HR.com is a good example.
Check out free publishing platforms for which you don’t have to be a member. Examples are Tech Republic Resource Library (a vast library for IT professionals), and Find White Papers (a platform for technology-related white papers).
16. Repurpose it as a slide deck
According to Content Marketing Institute, the more content methods you use, the more traffic you attract to your website, so turn your white paper into a slide deck to help gain awareness and generate leads.
Forget those boring PowerPoint presentations in airless meeting rooms that we’ve all suffered. These days you can create high quality, engaging slides that you can embed in your website and publish on other media platforms.
The world’s highest-traffic slide presentation site is SlideShare, and since it’s owned by LinkedIn, it gives you a vital link with the world’s biggest professional social media platform. There are 70 million SlideShare users, and around eighty percent of SlideShare visitors come through targeted search, which means you have a ready audience looking for articles on your topic.
Don’t forget to send you slide deck to your colleagues, sales force, channel partners and other interested parties. You can even use it to develop a webinar.
Most of the tactics above are relatively easy to implement, although you may want a little help with those that demand professional writing skills, such as the articles and press releases.
Of course, the best person to ask for help is the one who wrote your white paper because he or she would already have all the background information needed. You may even be offered a special deal!
If you have used any of these tactics with great success or if you use a different tactic to promote your white papers, please share them with us in the comments below. I’d love to know.