White papers are a popular and effective tool for content marketers.
They are very useful both in positioning your company as an intellectual leader, providing useful and convincing research and information about your products and services, and generating leads.
This ultimate guide will teach you everything you need to know to make white paper marketing a great addition to your content marketing strategy.
What is a White Paper?
Before approaching the creation process, it is important to understand what we are talking about when we refer to a white paper.
The first thing we need to know is that this is an in-depth report or guide on a specific topic and the problems surrounding it.
It aims to educate readers in order to help them understand or solve a problem.
In the marketing world, a white paper is described as a piece of long-form written content, similar to an e-book. The fundamental difference between the two stands out to be that the former are, as a rule, more technical and profound; while the latter are by contrast, more general.
It should be noted that the facts and opinions expressed in these information documents are usually supported by original research or statistics that the editor has compiled from reliable sources. Therefore, they nurture its content by including tables, graphs, tables and other ways of visualizing data.
If we approach the origin of the term, the “white papers” originate in England as documents issued by the government. A famous example is Churchill’s white paper, commissioned by Winston Churchill in 1922. It is interesting to see how, today, the term is most commonly applied to publications of “deep dive” style or deep knowledge on a subject.
Companies, especially in the consulting, finance or B2B sectors, use them to communicate their organization’s philosophy on a topic, defend the superiority of your product or simply present the results of research related to your field.
It is important to note that while they are no less editorial than other forms of content, the depth of the research gives them a tone of authority. For this reason, they are good candidates to promote thought leadership.
Who wants to read them?
In the past, white papers were mainly produced by government agencies, NGOs, expert groups, consultants and financial institutions, which were asked to present the results of their ongoing research in a concise format.
However, with the widespread growth and adoption of content marketing, white papers have become more common in other industries as well. For the time being, any organization engaged in content marketing can benefit from the online publication of these documents.
Their versatility makes them a favorite content for all sectors. While it is true that all white papers share common elements, B2B companies have taken advantage of this resource by using them differently from a consultancy or government department, by projecting their brand values in them.
Is there more than one type of white paper?
The answer is a resounding “yes”. There are many types of informative documents that a company can publish. Here are the main ones:
Background: an excellent way to explain, in depth, the advantages of your product, service or methodology.
Problem – Solution: This type of white paper will allow you to educate the audience, not only about the problems of the sector you want to talk about, but also about the solutions that, as a company, you have managed to achieve or contribute.
Overview of statistics and useful information: Whenever the target market for this white paper is considered, the relevant information for your audience will be the content most valued by them. Now, remember that the data is there to tell a story, you must demonstrate why this information is interesting for them, in addition to making reading pleasant.
No matter what type you produce, remember that the content of your white paper should highlight your experience in a specific area. Your target audience is looking for information and will look for reliable sources, namely companies that believe they have in-depth knowledge of the subject.
What’s the point of a White Paper?
Taking into account the above, the next step is to understand what is the objective of writing this digital document.
First, we can say that they are created to build trust with your audience. They show readers that you are reliable, experienced and expert in a certain field.
Your Leads will come back to you in the future when they seek information that helps them understand the problem or opportunity they face, and when you provide them with high-quality technical documentation to help them.
This perception of authority can also serve to boost sales in an organization. More than half of those surveyed in Eccolo Media’s B2B technology content study said they read a white paper before making a purchase decision.
This is due to an obvious consequence: buyers prefer to buy from sellers they trust and see as experts in their field.
Finally, white papers are extremely useful for generating contacts. DemandGen’s content preferences survey revealed that more than three-quarters of respondents were willing to exchange personal information for a white paper, rather than for e-books, case studies, analyst reports, podcasts, brochures or infographics.
With all these potential benefits, using white papers in your content marketing strategy can produce great results.
More than three-quarters of respondents were willing to exchange personal information for a white paper.
Examples of white papers
When you think of white papers, you probably think of PDF articles with thousands of words. However, this need not be entirely true.
Nowadays, all marketing materials (including white papers) need both good structure and excellent writing, as well as resources designed of all kinds to generate more pleasant readings.
To understand it better, we have collected some useful examples. The first of these is the white paper produced by CodinGame developers.
What do developers want? CodinGame
This one poster that we share, which presents the results of the Developers at Work survey demonstrates how to make a white paper in an interesting way.
Animated and interactive data charts show what is possible with our embedding function. HERE.
Privacy and the GDPR – BDO
This special edition, beautifully produced by BDO and creative agency Monte Media, does an amazing job of turning a conventionally boring topic into engaging and life-giving content.
Click HERE to see a preview of this example.
How to write a white paper
Writing a white paper can seem like a daunting task if you don’t understand the fundamental steps to get started. This is because a lot of information and research is needed and it is easy to get lost in the process and let it become an obstacle to putting things in writing.
Even after start writing them, White Papers are hard to do well. Simply listing statistics without some kind of narrative arc is a sure way to prevent your white paper from being read.
Fortunately, following a few simple guidelines can help make this informative document attractive and make the process of completing it much easier. Here are our recommendations:
Choose the right topic
This may seem obvious, but if there is no theme that resonates with your audience, your white paper is unlikely to be read.
We recommend that when choosing the right topic, you should consider three important criteria:
- It must be a topic which you’re qualified to write about
- It must be something your audience is interested in.
- It should address a topic on which little content has already been written and therefore fill a “content gap”.
Naturally, finding a topic that meets points 1 and 2 is vital. White papers are meant to be authoritative pieces of content based on the author’s experience and knowledge, so it’s important to write about what you know.
But you have to adapt it to the interests of the readers if you want to produce something that interests them.
Don’t be afraid to turn to information from your organization or company. For example, if the topic of a white paper is related to engineering, why not interview an engineer or ask him to review what he has written? The same goes for other functions. Knowledge of crowdsourcing means having the power of a true expert in many fields.
Finally, filling a “content gap” will help your white paper get noticed and gain traction. By addressing a topic that no one has ever written about so accurately before, it will make your white paper more likely to feature prominently in search engines and even appear elsewhere on the web.
In fact, it’s an interesting exercise to ask your audience what they’d like to see in their next white paper. You’ll get ideas, make your topic more relevant, and generate buzz around your content even before it’s finished.
Define your target audience
Definining your audience goes hand in hand with choosing the right topic. But beyond the interests of your audience, it’s important to think about the kind of people who will read the White Paper-
Think about the following:
Are your colleagues well versed in the subject?
Are they likely to read something they’re not familiar with?
Knowing this helps establish the voice you should use and whether industry-specific jargon is appropriate.
At the same time, it also outlines the scope of the research it should include. That is, while it is always important to ensure that all arguments are logical and well supported, it is crucial that this content is truly relevant to the audience it is targeting.
When defining the audience, it is important not to forget to think about the platforms used by people researching these topics and the search terms they use.
This will not only help the white paper be found by the right people, but it is also useful when outlined later.
Optimizing keywords is important, but remember to write for people, not search engines. Google is getting better at understanding and matching search intent with relevant content.
Reinforce the topic with a good introduction and a good closure
It is very important to know that the introduction should serve to captivate the audience, arouse their curiosity and encourage them to continue reading.
It is good practice to give a brief summary of what you will find in the white paper and to highlight exactly the benefit you will get from reading it.
The conclusion is equally important, especially if you use white paper to market your products or services.
Note that you should avoid any self-promotion in the body of the text but you can mentionrelevant product offers and how to get them – perhaps using a compelling call to action- at the end.
Fill it with valuable information
White papers are not meant to be ads for your company, so it’s best to avoid any kind of open promotion.
Instead, it should provide a lot of useful information that is valuable to readers, even if they don’t become customers. Emphasizing value is the key to a great white paper that will be widely shared and read.
Remember that white papers are meant to showcase your experience as a company or brand in a particular niche. Readers should end reading your White Paper and have the feeling that they read something useful and that they have consulted a reliable source of expert information.
As noted above, generating this type of reputation will lead to greater commercial success, as buyers are more likely to buy from companies they trust.
Devoting special attention to the value that a white paper can provide will inevitably result in it being widely read and shared.
Fill the trash with drafts
No first draft is a masterpiece.
Not a Pulitzer Prize like Elizabeth Bishop was saved from this situation. It is said that before publishing his definitive poem “One Art”, she wrote at least seventeen drafts. Even so, it is considered one of the most famous poems in poetry history.
While you don’t need as many drafts, it’s important not to leave out constant reviews to avoid spelling errors or logical inconsistencies.
Finishing a draft, walking away and coming back to it with a fresh mind is the best way to ensure quality. If there is another good editor in the company, it is even better for someone else to review it.
Keep them interested
As they are the most detailed and careful documents in your blog posts, they can be perceived as dry or too formal if you don’t consider the reader’s interest factor.
White papers shouldn’t have to be boring, a common mistake made is to use statics as the main topic and not maintain interest at all times.
As technical as it is, you want your white paper to be read. To achieve this, it is useful to implement the techniques of fiction and nonfiction creative writers.
There are many resources to learn about a plot, but overall, it has five parts, as illustrated in Freytag’s pyramid:
Don’t do it!: Mistakes to avoid when writing a white paper
There are some common traps and mistakes to avoid when writing technical documents. Each of them has the potential to turn great content into a wasted effort.
Here’s a short list of things to keep in mind.
I’m here to sell you…
One of the most common mistakes is to reveal the commercial purpose of your white paper ahead of time.
This happens especially when white papers are used as part of a marketing campaign in which companies display their product, a common mistake is to make them sound like a sales pitch.
Do not let this happen; your readers will get away from you immediately. In a white paper, your audience seeks impartial and educational information to help them, not trying to persuade them.
Leave the sales pitch for other content, such as product brochures.
Lack of proper investigation
We have already repeated this, but it must be stressed that white papers must be documents that collect well-researched information.
While it’s true that conducting long original research may be beyond the budget of a marketing team, keep in mind that just including some statistics from the first page of a Google search is simply not enough.
Collecting statistics and searching for academic papers may take time, but the result will be worth it.
In order for your white paper to achieve the desired effect, it is important to establish its content as an authoritative source to which the audience will want to return.
The written content of a white paper is the most important thing, but overlook the design is a big mistake.
The design makes the elements stand out and attract the reader. In addition to helping you keep reading, visual materials such as images, animations, videos, tables and graphics are an excellent resource to support your points.
White papers are informative and factual. We’ve already said that. But they don’t have to be monotonous.
The reports that support the text, the data, in addition to the problems and solutions that arise, have a story to tell. It is much less likely that the reader will get to read the entire article without some form of narration to keep him hooked.
Posing a problem, working out a solution and including some kind of success story is a proven formula for making any type of content more like a story.
Since most of these written papers involve sharing research results, it may be easy to leave them in the theoretical realm without explaining how to use those results on a practical level.
This is true for background articles, but it can also be the case for white paper problem solving. A good example is the vast amount of content on employee engagement.
Many B2B cases have covered the importance of employee engagement and the risks of doing it wrong. Very few of these content go further and give concrete examples of what companies in specific vertical sectors can do to alleviate the problem.
White Paper Format
Before we get into anything else, we need to talk about the format you’re going to use.
A picture is no more than a thousand words. Today, its value is based on the number of eyes you can keep glued to your content and the proportion of those viewers you convince to click on other sections of your website.
Carefully wrote texts and carefully compiled statistics will not earn those clicks alone. The average duration of human attention is now less than that of a goldfish. And with 3.3 million Facebook posts, 448,800 tweets and 149,513 emails sent every minute, the competition for its readers’ attention is, at a minimum, intense. Long media, like white paper, need a lot of spark to compete.
You’ll need more than black text on a white background. His design choices regarding aspects such as color, typography and the use of visual elements will play a prominent role in the success of his white paper.
Here are some important principles to consider when creating a quality white paper design.
Adapt it to mobile devices
More than 62% is now mobile, and web designers have adapted to this trend by creating what is known as responsive design.
Previously, web pages were adjusted to the size of the user’s screen, maintaining their design. Naturally, this made most of the pages unreadable and unplayable on smaller devices.
Responsive design solved this problem by allowing elements of a page to be rearranged, resized or completely hidden based on screen size.
When a smaller screen is used, the font size increases, the buttons become larger for the touch screens and the entire layout is adjusted to make the webpage mobile friendly.
However, while this has become a standard for web designers in a world where mobile comes first, it is not the same with digital content creators like white papers.
Fortunately, most companies that offer white paper and e-books on their websites still use the PDF format.
The problem with PDFs is that they are unreadable on small screens. They are fixed design documents: they cannot be adjusted or adapted to different screen sizes.
To read them, on a mobile device, it is necessary to zoom and scroll, which is a terrible experience for users.
Mobile traffic is growing. If you decide to produce your white paper in PDF format, you risk excluding this broad segment of your audience. It’s a design error that will cost you visits and conversions.
Emphasis and readability
There is a danger that the final design will get messy. This can happen because white papers contain a lot of text and visual elements.
Disorder builds up before you know it. You may choose a clean design and color scheme at first, but as you continue to add content, things can get crowded.
Difficult decisions have to be made about what should not be included to strike the right balance between completeness and readability.
A good design makes bold choices and prioritizes important information. These choices and priorities affect design, location, color, font size, page order, and more.
Use these design elements to emphasize vital information elements. But be careful. If too many elements of information are emphasized, or too few, readers will have difficulty discerning what is important.
A good design makes bold choices and prioritizes important information.
Look what’s trending
Bold fonts and color combinations are trending. If you look at the top modern technology companies of the moment, you will see many pastel shades and color gradients.
Of course, all this could change tomorrow. But still, a good way to get inspired when you’re starting out is to take a look at the most popular design trends of the moment.
U2 leader Bono sings “every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief”. And he’s right. Good designers are always inspired by other designers.
The best way to create a stunning design is to spend a lot of time looking at what others are doing successfully. Use Evernote or a bookmarking service to save white papers and other exceptional designs you find for future reference.
Design for your audience
While trends can inspire you, it’s more important that your design fits your audience and topic.
To help you focus on what’s important, ask yourself:
Will it target financial executives in suits and ties or managers of construction companies?
Will you write about changes in privacy regulations in the technology sector or the effects of agriculture on biodiversity?
Use your design to support and reinforce your theme. Colors and typography should be consistent with the theme you are writing, the tone you have chosen and the audience you have defined.
Are you writing a white paper for a funeral home? Bright pink headlines can be a bad choice. Taking color psychology into account can help you get the look and feel you’re looking for.
Review the fundamentals
No design background? No problem.
It should be noted that we always recommend having a designer working with you in your company, but if you don’t have it, you can start learning the basics of design for yourself.
Much of the process involves knowing the search terms that will allow you to get the knowledge you need. Fortunately for you, good manuals on basic graphic design abound.
After reading a little, start creating. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you create a white paper and don’t like the design, try to determine what needs to be improved in the design. After the reading you have done, you will have the tools to criticize your own work. This is the best way to improve and create well-designed white papers.
How to wrap up your white papers
Creating this kind of useful and highly informative content can help you either generate leads or increase your contact list.
It should be noted that this is an excellent method to attract new visitors and fill the top of the sales funnel or funnel. Now, for this type of inbound marketing to work, you need two things:
- Exceptional content that visitors are eager to acquire.
- A method to make sure that your content is behind a form.
Many brands skip the first part and go directly to the second.
They quickly produce something mediocre and gate it behind a form. This may work in the short term to generate lists, but keep in mind that users expect more of the content they “pay for”.
The quality of your gated content serves as an indicator of the quality of your brand and will affect your ability to convert prospects into customers in the future.
So how do white papers fit into lead generation efforts?
They can act as lead generation tools themselves or they can be used to direct readers to other parts of a website that capture lead information.
What is gated content?
One of the most common techniques for generating leads is to hide expert content behind a form designed to capture personal data.
Gated content is any content that a reader cannot access until they have entered some personal information, such as their name and email address. White paper and eBooks are two of the most common types of content used for this purpose.
Normally, a company will create a landing page that includes a description-and perhaps a preview-of the information that readers can expect to find inside.
This landing page will include a form for visitors to enter their personal information and access it.
After entering the required information, users receive a download button or receive the gated content in their inbox.
There are many variations to this formula, but the basic technique of providing “free” content and asking readers to “pay” by providing their personal information has been a very important part of content marketing for a long time.
While it’s true that excluding the best content is a good way to generate leads, there are also some drawbacks. By blocking the white paper, fewer people will read it, as not everyone is willing to give their contact details.
A free white paper will be read by a wider audience. If you’re deep and authoritative, you can also perform well organically and improve your search rankings. However, if you hide behind a form, search engines won’t tell you.
A simple way to determine your choice is to focus on the goals you hope to achieve. You may ask yourself what you want:
Spread information to make your brand known in the market?
To generate leads?
If you are thinking about the second, gating your content will be the best option.
In case you expect to get both, you can put a combined strategy in your marketing mix. There is also a different option: semi-gated content, which we will talk about below.
Another variant of gated content, which is gaining in popularity, is the “semigated”. This can offer you the best of both worlds, as it allows your white paper to reach a wider audience, while retaining the ability to generate leads.
The semigate option offers readers a sample of your white paper without having to give any information. For example, you can make the first pages of your white paper freely accessible and then have visitors fill out a form to read more.
This works well because digital content is plentiful and brands must offer more for free or risk visitors going elsewhere.
At the same time, it allows your white paper to reach a wider audience without losing the ability to generate leads.
Offering more content for free also builds trust and brand loyalty among your readers. Let them know that your informational documents are valuable and useful, this will make them more interested in giving you your personal information.
In addition, you are more likely to get qualified leads if readers have the opportunity to test your white paper before performing the customer conversion.
Of course, the semigated content does not mean giving away all the white paper. Usually, there is at least one section of such documents that is exclusive to those who go through the process of gating.
The semigated content can help you reach a wider audience, build trust and loyalty, increase the quality of leads and continue to help you capture the contact information you need.
Identify the friction points
It’s one thing to create obstacles that your customers can overcome and be able to access your white paper by just by filling out forms with their information, and another very different situation is that your content is impossible to unblock.
In marketing this drawbacks are referred as friction points. As already mentioned, friction points are those situations that slows down the sales process.
In other words, it’s like an obstacle that makes potential customers less likely to convert, register, download or buy. This difficulty in getting content can be caused by a multitude of things, such as:
- Including a bad design,
- A confused navigation,
- A poor copy,
- Too many form fields,
- and more.
Your ability to generate leads with a gated white paper will largely depend on how much friction there is. Asking for more information than is actually needed is a common and unnecessary source of friction that can lead to losing potential readers.
That’s why the whole field of conversion rate optimization is geared towards eliminating friction, or facilitating user interactions.
CRO specialists simplify forms, make navigation more intuitive, and design CTAs that are more likely to be clicked. Optimizing your landing page for conversions is a vital part of any contact generation campaign.
But the reality is that asking for personal information will always be an obstacle for a large number of people. So the key here is to make the process as easy and as non-invasive as possible.
An excellent way to do this is to reduce the number of form fields to a minimum and use mid-gating to ensure your request is timely and produces immediate value for the reader: “Fill in this form to access the rest of the white paper, we have saved the best for the end!”.
Create white papers and eBooks that integrate with your favorite CRM or marketing automation platform.
White Paper distribution
With the information we have shared, you can already consider yourself an expert in the white paper technique, but there are still fundamental aspects to know.
You may already have some white paper published. It is full of useful information and has created forms or landing pages that collect personal information from interested parties, but there is a problem:
Traffic never comes… where did you go wrong?
You didn’t think about your distribution strategy in the market.
The importance of distribution
The Internet is a vast field. Simply writing something and publishing it on the Internet does not guarantee someone will read it. There is too much content published on the internet, so no, having good writing and good design is not enough.
To get your eyes to notice your white paper, you have to be smart and also think about distribution. Some content marketing opinion leaders say they should spend 20% of their time creating content and 80% on promotion.
Now, what do we mean when we talk about distribution?
Distribution is about identifying the traction channels in which your ideal customers consume content and making your white paper highly visible on those channels.
Depending on the audience you’ve defined at first, some will be more relevant to you than others.
Don’t underestimate the power of social media, these are not just a superficial source, they represent a great tool to demonstrate brand visibility. People of all kinds, from all over the world and surely your ideal customer, are on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
So, don’t hesitate to take advantage of it and share your content regularly on these platforms, it will provide you with a solid promotional foundation on which to build.
But you be careful. It is not enough to write a post and tweet about it, these are some techniques that can serve to increase its visibility thanks to social promotion:
- Try to find communities like Facebook and LinkedIn groups where your target audience is likely to be.
- Search for relevant hashtags on Twitter and Instagram.
- Find relevant subcategories related to your industry
Once you’ve found your audience, it will be much easier to connect with them. If you contribute to these spaces regularly, it will be easier for you to keep their attention and distribute your white paper.
Influencers and media won
Another of the most underrated strategies is the use of influencers. Despite what people think of them, public relations is no longer what it used to be; influencer marketing has taken its place as a way of getting noticed by the masses.
Today, influencers-people with a large number of followers engaged in social media – are better equipped to amplify their content than traditional journalists.
In fact, they play an increasingly important role in shaping public opinion and even in setting business trends. An influencer’s interactions can even help you get spaces in major publications like press releases did.
We recommend that when you research the best communities to promote your white paper, look for the content that people are already referencing and sharing.
Over time, you’ll start to get a sense of who’s posting content that’s having a big impact. These are the people whose voices can amplify your brand.
Make this check list:
- Start by interacting with them.
- Engage in conversation, comment on articles regularly, and give feedback on their work.
- There are great tools, such as Voila Norbert and ContactOut, that help you quickly locate email addresses.
- Try, always after establishing a relationship, to offer collaboration in future white papers or other types of content. Keep in mind that this process can take some time because your goal is to build a relationship.
- Over time, you can ask an influencer to share your white paper. You may even consider quoting it on your own; anything that gives them an incentive to share your work is helpful.
- But don’t stop there, look for experts on the subject that you will talk about in your white paper and interview them
This action will not only increase the value of your information document, but will also increase the chances of the expert sharing their content with their extensive network of contacts.
The online content jungle may thicken every day, but there are some places where you can still catch readers’ attention.
Email distribution has stood the test of time. It provides a higher ROI than social media, and shows no signs of weakening.
If the target of your white paper is lead generation, email marketing won’t apply. But to boost sales, build trust and establish your brand as a reliable source of information, it’s important not to neglect your existing contact base.
Although email does not have the attractive viral possibilities associated with social networks, it has other advantages. Specifically, anyone who subscribed to your email list has chosen to be on it.
This means you can expect a higher level of engagement from this audience than those coming through other channels. Take advantage of their loyalty and commitment by encouraging your contacts to share your white paper with their contacts and networks, this will multiply your distribution efforts.
Go beyond the basics
The techniques mentioned above are essential elements in your white book distribution toolbox.
But they’re not the only ones. The best way to distribute your white paper depends to a large extent on your target audience and the industry to which your content is directed.
Take time to critically evaluate and research how knowledge is shared in your industry.
Remember that each sector is different. So adapting your strategy to reach people in these places is the best way to guarantee effective distribution.
Managing white paper leads
As already mentioned, white papers can serve a variety of purposes. They are often used for thought leadership and for disseminating important, industry-relevant research.
However, when it comes to content marketing, the most common use of white papers in recent years has been lead generation. In point 6, we talked about how to attract readers to your white paper and capture their information.
Once you have properly gated your white paper and established a solid distribution strategy, it is time to think about how you will handle potential customers arriving.
If they are not followed up and taken care of properly, potential customers will quickly cool down and will not result in increased sales for your company.
So how can you track leads and maximize the opportunity you’ve created with your white paper?
Tracking white paper leads
The customer journey describes the steps a customer goes through, from identifying a problem they have, to learning about different solutions to that problem, and finally buying a product or service (hopefully yours) that solves their problem.
To maximize the chances of your new leads becoming paid customers, you must take the abstract concept of the customer journey or consumer journey and map it into your specific content ecosystem.
The actions your prospects take on your website may be indicative of the stage of the journey they are on.
For example, someone might read a blog post on your site, come back a day later to get your white paper and eventually sign up for a free trial or email list.
Then they may decide to make a purchase. As patterns emerge around your customers’ journey, you’ll learn what actions from your part can help them move forward.
There are many tools available to help you analyze this journey for yourself. Google Analytics is probably the most used. Thanks to this, it is possible to track and collect data on user behavior on your website. You can define goals and generate reports that will show you the steps users tend to take before completing those goals.
Focus on customer journey stages
As it becomes clear what actions visitors take before buying, you’ll better understand where in the customer journey you should use your white paper.
You may ask yourself the following to create more assertive strategies:
At which stage do you bring more value to your prospects?
Do you think success is greatest when access to your white paper is your potential customer’s first interaction with your company?
Or might it be more effective to use it as an offer once visitors have returned a second (or third) time to your site?
White papers do not exist in isolation, but act as members of a large ecosystem. Blog posts, landing pages, emails, social messages and follow-up sequences should be carefully orchestrated and scheduled.
This process requires practice. It requires trial and error, and you have to be a good observer of trends. But it is an effort with great payoff.
Track your potential customers
Depending on the stage in the buyer’s journey where you use your white paper, the way you track leads will be different.
If, for example, your white paper addresses the awareness stage and the leads you gather are not very familiar with your company, it might be smart to enroll them in an email sequence that highlights other pieces of content on your site, like blog posts that are relevant to the topic they showed interest in.
On the other hand, if your white paper is for people at the consideration stage, and potential customers are already familiar with what you offer, you might consider following up by sending them special or exclusive offers, again, closely related to the topic of interest.
If you take a very specific distribution approach and use your white paper to generate leads that you think are already close to making a purchase decision, the best way to follow up could be for a sales representative to contact you directly by phone.
This is what it means to nurture potential customers: stay proactive with them by offering them more relevant content so that they become new customers.
Conclusion: The content never ends
At this point, you should have all the ingredients you need to make your white paper an absolute success.
Despite this, by now you will have realized that your white paper is not an isolated document, but is a fundamental part of a broader ecosystem of marketing and content actions.
In today’s business world, producing quality content is one of the best ways to capture the attention of your target market. But not everyone will be prepared for the same piece of content at the same time.
From white papers to blog posts and podcasts, the type of content that will drive conversions for your business is something you’ll discover over time.
What is certain is that a single type will not meet all the needs of your audience. But that’s no reason to get discouraged, you just need to be prepared to fill the rest of the customer journey with other suitable content.
This means you have to write a lot.
There’s no way around it.
It means thinking about content ideas, creating them, distributing them and measuring their success, and then rinsing and repeating.
After this manual, you should be fully equipped to succeed by writing not only white papers, but any content you choose along your journey.