White papers are some of the most effective measures in B2B content marketing for generating leads and achieving reach. They create trust and set your company apart from the competition. At the same time, you need to consider some things in order to provide your customers with real added value.
What is a white paper?
White papers always answer concrete questions. They can be based on a case study or data analysis, or simply be a guide. Usually, white papers are available as a digital download in the form of a PDF and focus on a particular issue from the viewpoint of an expert.
Instead of own advertising, companies specifically leverage white paper marketing to focus on explanations, recommendations and solution strategies. This creates trust amongst customers: companies position themselves as experts in their field, generate valuable contacts and have continually new, interesting insights for their customers.
White papers are usually between 10 and 30 pages long, and the text is broken up with informative graphics, statistics and other visual elements. They have a professional tone of voice and go in either the direction of journalism or scientific publication; however, they also require a certain amount of time and research.
Achieve these marketing goals using white papers
B2B customers often gather information weeks or even months in advance to closing a deal about the product or service on offer. During this research phase, companies can promote themselves at an early stage using white paper marketing. With a white paper, you can appear as a serious partner for your specialist subject. Not only existing customers will be thankful for your expertise.
If your white papers offer your customers added value that is convincing, they will also share your white papers with others.
When you offer your white papers via downloads or newsletters, for instance, you can collect the contact data of interested persons and thus have the chance to generate leads. If your white papers offer your customers added value that is convincing, they will also share your white papers with others. This ensures wider reach and higher brand awareness. Compared to traditional advertising, this personal recommendation is invaluable.
White paper and e-book: this is the difference
In B2B marketing, white papers or e-books are very popular. The difference:
- White papers focus on a very specific problem and are based mainly on data and research. Here is where potential customers can get relatively quick help. They are more or less used solely for digital marketing.
- E-books focus on general questions and ideas which readers take lots of time for. This is why they are structured in topics and are rarely read at one go. However, e-books offer the chance to be printed in premium quality for trade shows or conferences.
Writing white papers: 6 tips
- The white paper’s topic should always be closely oriented towards your target group. However, it should also touch on similar topics areas which are relevant within the scope of the customer journey.
- Capture the reader at his current level of information. If your target group is very heterogeneous, you can offer additional information for topic newcomers such as in the form of a glossary.
- Rely on real-life and concrete examples. An especially great example is delivered by Bosch with its “Industry 4.0” white paper. It takes the reader on a “learning journey”. The many details make the 60-page white paper quite long, but also very effective.
- Cooperate with external experts. This divides the research labour across several shoulders. It also allows you to show that other experts can trust you.
- Market your white paper on all channels. Create a landing page, launch a social media campaign and take advantage of newsletters.
- At the end of the white paper, include a call to action. Remember to link the source of the white paper in the PDF and design the white paper to feature your corporate design.