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White papers have been around for quite some time, persuading consumers and experts through the presentation of objective information. Yet many small businesses fail to recognize the incredible power that white papers have to offer. By offering a free white paper for its products or services, a business can greatly increase its overall credibility and its perceived professionalism.

Why Do White Papers Have Such an Impact?

White papers tend to be most popular in businesses that are focused in the scientific, technical, and medical industries. These industries lend themselves to objective stats, research, and other detailed information, but a white paper can be used in any business. The focus is to persuade people to buy or sign up for a service while providing valuable information, but the information itself is presented objectively. It is not used as a hard sell tactic. Instead, it gently encourages the readers to make the decision while showing them what a good choice it will be.

All well developed white papers provide references, statistics, data, and research. This information may be presented in a variety of formats, including graphs, charts, infographs, footnotes, and citations. This reliance on objective data increases the paper’s perceived value. According to research by Tech Target, more than 73 percent of people use white papers to look into possible solutions for their personal needs or businesses. Almost one third of consumers rate white papers as one of the most invaluable components in their final decision. In a separate study, eMedia discovered that 93 percent of people who read well-developed white papers then pass them on to friends, family members, and business associates.

What Benefits Do White Papers Provide?

White papers are considered a strong component in content marketing. Though they are significantly longer than the average blog post, white papers provide more benefits in the long run. They increase the public perception that a business is professional and credible. Consumers tend to have a bias toward businesses that provide valuable custom content on their sites, with more than 78 percent of consumers feeling that this is a sign that a business wants to develop a positive relationship with customers, according to TMG Custom Media. Additionally, the presentation of objective material makes it easier for potential customers to believe what the sales pitch later says because the relationship has been established.

The perceived value of white papers also makes it more likely that the white papers will be shared rather than blog posts or online articles. Marketing Sherpa found that in about 30 percent of all sharing cases, individuals forwarded white papers on to their superiors or supervisors to help make decisions for the business. All of this leads to increased prominence, authority, and business opportunities.

Can a Business Have Too Many White Papers?

Businesses can offer white papers for all of their products. White papers typically do not receive much advertisement. Because they are more likely to be passed on from consumers and site visitors, they easily gain ground. Additionally, Google ranks white papers as higher quality content, and they receive a higher search results position. Since each white paper must be well developed and well researched, it is not possible to churn them out for every single product. While it’s possible for a business to offer a number of white papers, it’s important that the business focuses on developing white papers for the most important products or services available.

White papers provide a great deal of value for businesses. Because they are objective in nature, they provide value and increase the perception of credibility and professionalism. They are a free form of advertising, but they do not use hard sell tactics. Fortunately, their heightened value makes them more likely to be shared, and people tend to rely on them more than on other forms of content marketing. Developing white papers for primary products or services is a good step for businesses that want to differentiate themselves and develop their authority.