Content marketing is one of the most powerful tools used by digital marketers to promote any business. There are several types of content used for the purpose. One such popular kind of content is the white paper. Here, we would understand what exactly is a white paper, 10 uses of white paper, and its importance to your business. Read on!
What is a White Paper?
The definition of white paper usually differs across industries and persons. On a general note, it can be defined as a long-form of content written in a persuasive manner. It generally provides in-depth knowledge and solution to a particular problem of a specific topic. It is one of the best ways to demonstrate authority over a specific niche.
It must be noted that it is not a sales pitch. The white paper aims to provide all knowledge and facts to the audience and not persuade them to buy the product then and there.
Elements of a White Paper
A white paper differs from other forms of content like blogs or e-books in terms of size, appearance, and time commitment. Unlike blogs and e-books that can be completed in a few hours to a few weeks, a white paper can take a few weeks to a few months to get completed. They are less flashy, ooze a serious tone, and is heavily research-oriented.
An A+ white paper would mostly have the following eight elements:
- Clear goals that extend beyond building brand awareness or generating leads. You should know precisely who you want to target, what they know, what information you wish to pass to them, and what you want them to do with the information.
- It must have a concise summary. It can be stated as a tantalizing teaser that piques the reader about its content and encourages them to read more.
- The next element is Data Transparency. The white paper is intended to establish your authority. It is more research-oriented. Hence, you must share as much data as possible, along with their source. For instance, it must have the sample size and how you achieved that particular data and the results. In case you used data from another source, you must list it and give its credit to the deserving.
- Next comes qualitative data. Data without context would turn into a spreadsheet and not a white paper. Interviews of thought leaders on the topic, opinions, and quotes would add weight. A solid white paper merges hard numbers with ideas and thoughts.
- Next, you must ensure a logical process. It should move logically and arrive at a conclusion.
- Data Visualization is an essential element of a white paper. The data design element in your white paper illustrates your points better and zings well with visual learners. Lack of design strategy can get your readers lost.
- The ‘Why’ element must be apparent in your white paper. The paper must explain why the statistics, quotes, photos, charts, etc., in the content are important. With meaning and an answer to a specific question, the paper becomes worthy of being shared.
- The launch plan for your white paper is no less critical. It must be equivalent to a product launch. Remember, it’s a launch of your expertise and knowledge.
The Structure of a White Paper
With the elements clear, let’s now know the general structure of a white paper. Its sections are:
- Executive summary
- Problem definition
- High-level solution
- Solution details
- Business benefits
- Call to action
Top 10 Uses of White Paper
White papers are an excellent medium for establishing your authority in your business niche and improving your credibility amongst your customers. They can be used in several ways. We list here top 10 uses of white paper.
1. Case study
Generally, a case study is a story about a business. It talks about the brand’s challenges and the way its product helped overcome the problem. These white papers are often lengthy, with detailed and plenty of technical information. It helps customers visualize themselves using the product. It helps your company showcase a real-life example of how your product can help your customer achieve success.
White papers provide detailed information on any topic. Often, it contains plenty of extra information that your customer might not find useful. But it emerges as a reference source for even other companies to find information and use it for their business improvement.
3. A tool to boost your SEO efforts
The white paper is used today extensively and cleverly to boost your SEO efforts and help improve your business website ranking. It is widely published online today, with SEO in mind.
4. Generate leads
A white paper proves an excellent tool to generate leads. Most companies publish it on their website. Interested visitors can download it in exchange for their email address, name, contact number, or other essential details. The information proves vital in nurturing the contacts and turning them into leads.
5. Hone your point of view
A white paper provides an excellent avenue to present your point of view and expertise on any topic. It not only establishes your sound knowledge but also helps you differentiate yourself from your competitors. It helps you trigger the right kind of conversations and clearly demonstrate your expertise to all those who engage with you.
6. Connect to your audience
The white paper provides you with an excellent medium through which you can connect to your audience. There is no scarcity of voices in the marketplace. Amidst them, it is a daunting task to make sure that your perspective remains relevant to your audience, and you are able to tackle and address those issues that your clients and customers care about. You pass on meaningful content to your audience as well as align it with your company’s strategy. You develop credibility in the eyes of your audience.
7. Helps you create a mailing list
Creating a mailing list is a challenging task. Not many are willing to sign up for your newsletter for updates. The white paper makes the job easy to a great extent. The white paper is offered by many companies as a free gift or subscription once a visitor signs up to your website. The only thing you need to be careful about is that the topic of the white paper is something that interests your customers and is relevant to your blog.
8. Build your brand image
A white paper is one of the most potent arsenals that most companies use to enhance their brand image. Typically, a white paper has very little to no promotional material. It is highly informational and establishes you as an expert and leader in the field. This display of expertise earns you respect and credibility in the eyes of the customer.
9. Improve your social media presence
The power and importance of social media can neither be ignored nor brushed under the carpet. Many use white paper to make their social media presence more robust. It can help you gain organic Facebook likes. You now have the option to place the white paper content in the tiny tabs below your cover image. To entice visitors, you can put a powerful message and let people know that they can get the white paper on the condition of liking your page.
10. Used to Showcase your original research
Original research has plenty of value, particularly amongst B2B buyers and your industry as a whole. A white paper is the best medium to present your unique research. Combined with visual elements, supportive discussions, opinions, and helpful strategies, you are able to address the customer’s pain points.
Today, customers come across plenty of mediocre and duplicate content regularly. Your original research content would be like a breath of fresh air and help cut through the noise. A well-drafted and strong white paper is used to gain a competitive edge. It also enables you to gain useful backlinks, build relationships, and spread expertise.
All the above 10 uses of white paper illustrate how powerful a tool, a white paper can be for your business.
Benefits of White Paper to Your Business
The 10 uses of white paper we discussed pave the way for the enormous benefits it yields to your business. Few of its leading benefits are:
- It can help your brand to establish itself as an authority in your business niche. It results in gaining credibility and reliability in the eyes of your customers and clients.
- It helps build a rapport with your client leading to increased business and ROI.
- Apart from building a sizable mailing list, the white paper also helps you gain valuable insights about that area of your business, which your potential clients and customers would be interested in.
- Publishing a white paper establishes your authority on the subject. Once it is established, there is a good chance that clients and customers would be prepared to pay more for your services in comparison to your competitors.
- The white paper helps generate leads. Because it has both educational and direct marketing material in the company brochure form, it leads to a high conversion rate. The combination of learning and persuasion becomes unbeatable.
- It helps build your brand’s image, trust, and reputation.
- It improves your brand’s social media standing.
Few FAQs on White Papers
By now, we are confident that you understand the importance and benefits of a white paper. But you would be confused and have some queries in your mind. We try to clear the confusion by answering a few of the questions that might be arising in your mind.
- Who writes white papers?
A white paper has all the expert knowledge about a specific problem. Hence, writing it is not an easy task. Most often, it is written by subject experts who have both academic and practical knowledge on the topic of the white paper. Most companies might not have such experts. If you wish to have a white paper written, you can always approach a professional company like us who have an extensive network of subject experts. They can write a super quality white paper for you that aligns with your business goals. The good thing is that most of them are white paper ghostwriters, which gives you the flexibility to take the credit for the research and writing.
- How much do white paper writers charge?
As a B2B marketeer, you can expect to pay anything between $5,000 to $7,000 to an experienced white paper writer. Writing a white paper required specialized knowledge. It also takes a considerable amount of time to write that. Given that, writing it is on the expensive side, but the benefit it offers your business gives you a good return on investment.
- How long does it take to write a white paper?
Generally, the first draft of the white paper takes a minimum of six to eight weeks to write. It can take longer if people are traveling for reviews. Adding illustrations and designs takes another week or two. Hence, your white paper gets ready within three to four months.
- How to publish a white paper?
Publishing a white paper is just like launching a product. Hence, you need to do plenty of marketing beforehand and create plenty of interest and buzz for it. Generally, a week or two of marketing before publishing is ideal. The following pointers are kept in mind for publishing a white paper.
- It would be best if you have a distribution plan ready beforehand. The publish date of the white paper must be decided previously and it must not be changed.
- Create the landing page at least two weeks ahead of publishing the white paper. The landing page should be short and persuasive such that the readers will readily provide their contact details. Publishing the landing page in advance gets you more readers.
- Attract traffic by writing a series of relevant blog posts that are promoting your white paper.
- Promote your white paper further by writing guest posts.
- Obtain traction for your white paper by inviting experts and thought leaders to review it. Adding these reviews to your landing page will be highly advantageous.
- Invite experts to guest post on the white paper topic on your website blog.
- Finally, email the white paper to your subscribers.
We hope that you have enough insight into white papers by now. If you are looking to get it written or get the maximum benefit from your white paper, we at Towards 90 are your one-stop solution. Give us a buzz today and allow us to help soar your business to new heights!