Creating a white paper is easy. Most industry expert copywriters have experience with this resource, as they have gained popularity in most B2B marketing circles. There is no shortage of posts and articles on formatting, guides, and templates. Your marketing team can also review a video white paper sample from the American Marketing Association.
What about white paper marketing ideas?
We’ve compiled a handy list of three and three: Three YES ideas, and three NO’s.
1 Combine it with your company’s “only” factor(Hat Tip: MarketingSherpa)
For example, at Get A Copywriter, our “only” factors center around these ideas:
- Prequalified copywriters with industry knowledge.
- Simplified ordering platform without confusing ratings or writer Bio’s to sort through.
- Copywriter Match services: Our team will match a copywriter to your project, based on their experience within your industry and successfully completed projects.
How would we turn that into a white paper? Simple:
- Step 1 Topic: Writing for Hummingbird – How the right copywriter impacts the success of your white paper campaign.
- Step 2 Compile a report that provides an in-depth analysis of Google’s Hummingbird algorithm and the correlation between high quality, relevant content with statistics and examples. Identify companies who have shared their experience of gaining traction in the SERP and referral traffic from creating Hummingbird friendly content. The majority of the paper would focus on the topic of quality content, diversification of digital assets, and provide resources that readers can use to succeed in a post-Hummingbird environment.
- Step 3 Lead readers back to the topic of copywriting and Hummingbird. Give new, fresh insights on the topic of semantic keywords and provide data, graphs, and charts where possible. Move onto providing a list of tools to assist with semantic keyword research and creating assets with these targets.
- Step 4 In the conclusion, identify the task of finding the perfect copywriting team as an imperative, necessary step for achieving success in a post-Hummingbird world. Provide a helpful checklist to for readers to use when interviewing copywriter teams.
There is no need to use sales language as the reader can see that “Get A Copywriter” is the author and provider of the white paper. The only place to download it is our website, so they know about it, no need to give a cheesy plug at the end “visit our website”. Don’t insult the intelligence of your readers with lame sales pitches within the paper. Give them the information they came for, and if you’ve selected the right topic and marketed to the right target audience, conversions will follow.
2 Roll it out with the launch of a new product or service
White papers are especially popular within the technical and software industries, and many companies miss the opportunity when launching a new product or service.
Example: SalesForce began hosting Dreamforce, a five star cloud computing event, with a price tag to match. While Dreamforce is a broad mix of sessions and information gathering opportunities, many of the sessions focus on showcasing Salesforce.com’s products.
Every time Salesforce released a new blog post about apps or cloud technology, guess what is listed at the bottom of each post? A link to an eBook “The 9 Key AppExchange Takeaways from Dreamforce 2014”. Any company could easily use this idea to showcase upcoming events or seminars. Granted, an eBook is more involved than a white paper, but the concept is the same: Offer information in exchange for an email address, and add more people to your breadcrumb campaign. (Hat Tip: Marketo)
3 Recycled Topic Marketing
Does your company have a blog post, an article, or an organic landing page that ROCKS the traffic according to Analytics? Does this same page fail miserably when it comes to conversions? This is the perfect opportunity for your marketing team to add a download option to that blog post, article, or landing page. Create an asset related to that keyword, keep your target audience and buyer persona in mind, and provide a report that answers questions within your industry. Sound too difficult? If you have a large marketing team, gather them in a group, give them a white board, and watch the answers unfold. This process is referred to as “Recycled Topic Marketing”. Take a proven topic, and recycle it into a different format.
If your marketing team doesn’t know which website pages have the most traffic but lowest conversions, it’s time to contact a Google Analytics expert. Beacon Technologies can provide assistance if you don’t already have a team in place.
While the suggestions above can help a marketing team create an effective white paper marketing campaign, why isn’t everyone successful? There are several common factors when a campaign fails, and these are highlighted below:
- Wrong topics. Many companies who have tried to increase website visits or conversions with white papers have chosen the wrong topic. The information provided should be ultra-specific to your niche, and the information offered should not be available anywhere else online. The best way to make your content unique? Offer case study references and data reporting to answer popular questions within your industry. Note: While it’s acceptable to mention case studies, it’s not acceptable to create a case study document and pass it off as a white paper.
- Too salesmanlike. There is a difference between a sales letter and a white paper, and it should be obvious from the very first page of the document. Depending on the industry, it may be OK to have a call to action within the paper, but this CTA should be placed at the very end, it should be subtle, and it should be necessary. For example, if the only place the document can be accessed and downloaded is from your company website, why do you need to ask readers to visit the website? They already did, and they downloaded your white paper.
You didn’t ask for an email address prior to the download? Mistake. The white paper is a valuable piece of breadcrumb marketing, and you can’t send additional crumbs to your reader if you don’t know who they are.
If your company has created the paper, you have every right to showcase your company at the end with source information, but tone it down, and don’t use standard logos or company colors. Stick to a professional black and white format. Consider your industry when considering the CTA; will readers still view it as a professional document, or will a CTA leave the audience with a bad impression?
It’s better to give a professional impression with this document, as the wrong CTA could turn them away from your company, the exact opposite of the campaign’s purpose.
- Your paper didn’t answer the reader’s question with objective data. A white paper should offer a solution to a problem, and provide data and statistics to back up the answers. A paper full of opinions or unsubstantiated data will leave readers with the impression that your team is not an expert one. Making claims within the paper? Back it up.
There you have it! The YES list for white paper marketing and the NO list. In conclusion, remember this: This asset is often printed, and it will be passed around several corporate or decision maker tables. It should represent your company in a professional way. Don’t hesitate to begin the process with a professional copywriter, and then finish it off with a professional touch from your creative internal team.
The best way to find success with your white paper strategy?
Get started, don’t procrastinate!