If you need to boost your B2B marketing, it’s time to show off your knowledge in your chosen field. Statistics from 2016 indicate 51 percent of businesses rely on content to research their buying decisions. Plus, 96 percent want content with input from industry thought leaders. Position yourself as one of those thought leaders, and you’re a step closer to a brighter future. Whether you’re already well-known for thought-provoking blogs and industry insights, or you just have a wealth of knowledge that you know other companies are crying out for, white paper content marketing is the next logical step in building your brand.
White papers aim to inform. They provide well-researched solutions to business problems while reinforcing your reputation.
What Is White Paper Content Marketing?
Witty memes and cool Instagram posts are great for engaging with consumers. But, businesses are looking for a different type of content. Your peers want valuable content from thought leaders — solutions supported by facts. White paper content marketing is a fantastic strategy for business-to-business content marketing campaigns. White papers help build a reputation as an industry leader and provider of expertise. They encourage other businesses to work with you or make purchases from you. Over 70 percent of businesses use white papers as a form of content marketing. And, 50 percent of businesses rank them as one of the three most-effective ways to achieve objectives.
One of the key differences between white papers and blog posts or long-form website content is the level of detail. The contents of such papers have significant value for readers. But it’s not uncommon for businesses to ask for something in return. This “payment” is usually in the form of some basic contact information as part of a subscription. In exchange for your content, you get to expand your database.
White papers generate valuable sales leads that could be a significant boost for business. Just keep in mind that readers are expecting something special if they have to subscribe and hand over contact details. So, make sure your white paper delivers on its promise. Provide solutions rather than pushing your brand. Inform — don’t sell. If your white papers are good enough, you’ll quickly build a reputation as a powerful thought leader. This encourages other businesses to work with you.
Key Elements of Successful White Paper Content Marketing
Quality content is the key element in white paper content marketing. You need to provide something valuable that makes your paper worth reading. And, it’s essential that you focus on informing rather than selling. Additionally, you need to consider how you format the content, and how you distribute it.
A Catchy Title
Every industry is busy, and you need to find a way to make potential customers and clients take notice of your content among a sea of information. A catchy title is a great hook. Keep it short and clear, but with enough information to make it immediately obvious what your paper is about. A title that’s too convoluted to decipher or too mysterious to decode is more likely to infuriate than entice.
The Right Format
Your white paper must be clear and concise, with a format that makes it easy to find and retain the important information. Consider summarizing key points in the introduction to hook the reader’s interest, and to ensure that, even if a reader doesn’t get to the end, he or she has still received your key points. If your paper is particularly long, it helps to divide it into sections, and to include a contents page so it’s easier to navigate to relevant sections. Remember, the paper reflects your business acumen in appearance as well as in content.
Whether you’re approaching an old problem from a new angle, or generating new talking points for developing businesses, everything you include in your paper must be accurate, with the support of facts and statistics. Do your research, and substantiate any claims. It’s a good idea to express statistics using graphics and charts, as they make the data easier to digest, and pack a visual punch that’s more memorable for readers.
Content From Freelancers
For small businesses, organizing and maintaining a dedicated marketing team can take a heavy toll on resources. In fact, 67 percent of businesses that aren’t planning on developing content marketing strategies over the next 12 months cite a small team as the main hurdle to overcome. Unfortunately, white paper content marketing is one of the most labor-intensive forms of content. They must be incredibly in-depth, accurate, and informative. Thus, they really benefit from the work of a professional writer. Paying a freelancer to tackle the workload often pays for itself, freeing up time and staff to focus on other objectives, and ensuring the final product is of a high quality.
Multiple Distribution Methods
Your white paper is a calling card that showcases your knowledge and builds your company’s reputation, so it’s important to make sure it’s in all the right places. Your website is an obvious place to start, and asking customers to provide a few simple details (such as name and email address) builds a database of sales leads. But there are also other distribution methods to ensure you get the biggest “bang for your buck.” For example:
- Turn the findings of your white paper into a speech to deliver at events, and hand out copies as part of the presentation.
- Use the white paper as part of a mailing campaign. Online content marketing is efficient and cost-effective, but a more traditional approach may open up new avenues for engagement.
- Use it as a mission statement. If you’re steering your company in a new direction, a white paper is a good way to initiate change, educating staff on new ideas and ways to achieve your goals.
Final Thoughts on White Paper Content Marketing
White papers have the potential to revolutionize your business-to-business content marketing. Value-added articles attract customers more effectively than traditional advertising, and keep you on the cutting edge as a thought leader in your field. You become more visible in online searches, you expand your reach, you build your reputation, you engage with other businesses, and you find valuable sales leads. The sky’s the limit, but only if you build your white paper marketing campaign on a firm foundation of quality content.