A key element in converting your visitors into leads and then into prospects, the white paper is an essential premium content for your Inbound Marketing strategy. To generate more leads, focus on this essential tool for your content strategy.
What is a white paper?
A white paper, also called White Paper or ebook, makes your company known by promoting its expertise, while generating leads. An informative guide, this premium support is useful throughout the inbound marketing strategy and helps convert the contact, regardless of their stage of maturity.
- The site visitor’s attention is captured by the white paper, premium content with high added value. To access the download, the visitor must leave his contact details via a form: the company generates contact.
- As part of their lead nurturing, the lead has access to the white paper. The information contained convinces him to buy the product or service: the lead is converted into a prospect.
- The loyal customer shares the white paper with his contacts: the customer becomes an ambassador.
Writing a white paper is for the company to offer its contacts quality information, useful, clear and complete, on a subject that it masters perfectly. Be careful, it is not a question of directly promoting a product or service, but of informing – to promote in fine! This very high value-added content is particularly appropriate – and necessary – as part of the inbound marketing strategy for B2B companies.
Why make a white paper?
In the past, the white paper was above all an institutional support, used by politicians and NGOs. But since its appearance in France in the 1920s, it has become a very popular communication medium for the communication and marketing departments of companies. Today, the white paper is a pillar of inbound marketing and content marketing strategy. It is an ideal support for companies to occupy the space offered by the web. A company wishing to develop its commercial relations therefore has every interest in writing a white paper.
1.What content for his white paper?
In a B2B context, the white paper often takes the form of a practical guide of about fifteen pages. Its purpose is to demonstrate the interest of a product or a service … While positioning your company as an expert on the subject. The exercise is delicate, since it is a question of convincing the readers, without falling into outrageous publicity. Exit therefore any traditional commercial discourse. It is rather necessary to put oneself in the shoes of a journalist whose first mission would be to inform. 5 best practices in this regard:
- Be clear and concise from the outset , with an introduction summarizing the content of the document
- State and explain the problem encountered by the reader, i.e. the buyer persona
- Accurately detail the proposed solution based on facts
- Back up your point with figures and the words of experts in the field
- Cite authoritative sources through external links to reliable and serious sites
To avoid any error that would be detrimental, it is advisable to have recourse to communication professionals to write your white paper. An inbound marketing agency has seasoned writers who will be able to collect the information needed to write a white paper, while maintaining a neutral and objective tone. This editorial rather than commercial approach can really make a difference.
Also read: Inbound marketing: how to launch a winning strategy
2.How to find your subject?
Before launching headlong into writing a catch-all document on your company’s core business, take the time to clearly define the subject of your white paper. Rely on your knowledge of the market, its needs and its expectations. The chosen subject must arouse the interest of your target, without being too general or too specialized. If you have well defined the characteristics of your persona, you must know his interests and the problems he must solve. The white paper must be designed entirely for your target audience. If you’re really out of inspiration, nothing prevents you from taking a look at what the competition is doing. Ideally, the subject of your white paper should be new to really stand out. However, if your industry is very competitive and you feel that everything has already been said, your choice may be on a topic that has already been covered. On the other hand, it is essential that the content be original. So try to bring something new in the writing of your white paper, in the choice of angle, for example. This way, you can better demonstrate the uniqueness of your business.
3.What are the objectives of a white paper?
The objective of a white paper is to make the reader aware of a problem while demonstrating your company’s expertise, in a fun way, and from the reader’s point of view. This is why it is important to have clearly defined beforehand what the target was. The white paper must convince the reader of the interest of the subject and the relevance of the offer proposed by your company. It therefore fulfills two complementary objectives:
- make it clear that the issue raised by the white paper is essential and strategic
- persuade that your company has the right solution to meet them
Although it is presented as an educational tool, the white paper therefore fits well into a lead generation strategy. This is why its reading must encourage action by encouraging subscription, membership or purchase. This type of communication is much more effective in convincing your prospects.
4.What are the benefits of a white paper?
Once his interest has been aroused, the reader must obtain useful information. If the white paper has been well designed, it will encourage him to decide favorably. Indeed, according to the B2B Technology Collateral Survey Report, 83% of IT decision makers consider that white papers influence their final decision. In this sense, 89% of them distribute internally the white papers that they considered interesting. Furthermore, to evaluate a technology purchase, 76% of decision makers claim to have read at least one white paper during the 6 months preceding the purchase. A white paper thus has three main advantages:
- Generate more traffic to your website and more leads
- Guide the thinking of your target by providing them with interesting information
- Highlight the expertise of your company, your know-how
5.What mistakes should you not make when writing a white paper?
If you decide to do without the support of an agency specializing in inbound marketing, be careful not to make any mistakes. Here is a list of mistakes to avoid in writing your white paper:
- Believing that we can ignore the definition of the target , his buyer persona
- Dealing with a subject that is not in line with the target or the proposed offer
- Adopting too technical a vocabulary
- Do not ventilate your text with punchy titles
- Mention its products and services
- Neglecting the layout or choice of cover photo
- Not inserting enough visuals that will hold the reader’s attention
- Not planning a call-to-action
- Forgetting to provide your company details
7 tips for an effective white paper
The white paper to generate more leads, yes, but on condition of being effective. Discover SEO BRISK 7 tips for writing a useful and attractive white paper, in order to optimize the results of your inbound marketing strategy.
1.Precisely target one of your marketing personas
Writing an effective white paper requires a phase of reflection beforehand. The major challenge is to answer the following question: which buyer persona to target with this content? Your buyer personas are not all interested in the same subjects, they do not all have the same issues, and they are not looking for the same information. Your white paper must therefore respond to the problem of one of your buyer personas.
2.A white paper is written according to a phase of the buyer journey
In order to take into account the maturity of your prospects and to respond to their current questions and information needs, it is important to precisely target which purchasing phase your white paper will respond to… Discovery, evaluation or decision: the buyer persona should not receive the same information. In the discovery phase, your buyer has just identified a problem or an opportunity, he seeks to formalize his need. It needs informative and explanatory content. In the evaluation phase, he has identified his need and seeks to evaluate the various possible solutions. It is useful to provide feedback, feedback from studies. In the decision phase, he decided which solution he was looking for and evaluated suppliers. This is to convince him. The writing of the white paper can be oriented, for example, on success stories or on a specific problem encountered by your persona. So take the time to define the maturity of the target you want to address.
3.How is a white paper structured?
The reader takes pleasure in discovering this content provided that its structure is ergonomic and its layout playful. 4 elements to properly structure your white paper:
- Catchy titles to encourage reading – and downloading in the first place!
- A paginated summary for optimized navigation within the ebook.
- Different chapters which should provide information and solutions on the problem(s) dealt with.
- Attractive and fun visuals: infographics, photos, diagrams, lists, etc.
4.Take care of the writing
The level of editorial quality of the white paper reflects the level of expertise of the company. The tone must also correspond to the editorial line of the company. Finally, it is important to adopt a fluid style to facilitate – and encourage – reading. A few tips:
- One sentence = one idea.
- Write short paragraphs to better “ventilate” the white paper.
- Cite external references and supporting figures.
- Beware of jargon! Unless addressed to a very specialized target in the subject treated, a technical jargon is likely to lose the reader.
- Ban the obvious promotion of the company’s products and services: the more objective the editorial tone, the more the information is perceived as qualitative.
- Use bold, italics and color so as not to tire the eye!
- Bet on content of around 3,000 words spread out over fifteen pages.
5.Take care of the formatting
The formatting is as important as the writing of the white paper, insofar as it largely participates in capturing the reader’s attention. Unless you have mastered design and layout software, it may be useful to enlist the services of a graphic designer for a white paper that is as attractive as it is useful.
6.No white paper without a call-to-action
While writing the white paper involves using an objective tone, you shouldn’t neglect your sales and lead generation goals. Indeed, this inbound marketing content not only generates contact, but also converts the lead into a prospect. To do this, don’t forget to include a call-to-action at the end of your white paper to encourage the reader to contact you – for a quote or a demo of your services.
7.Make a great promotion
The good distribution of your white paper determines your potential for generating contacts and influences your conversion rate. How to properly promote your premium content:
- Create a landing page with form.
- Promote the landing page: via banner(s) on your website, in a dedicated paragraph of your newsletter, through your email signature, on your blog and your social networks.
Inbound marketing specialist, copywriter, graphic designer, web developer… Writing a high-performance white paper requires a variety of skills. It’s a process that also takes time, but can quickly pay off in terms of business. To assist you in writing your white papers, or if you wish to outsource this task, SEO BRISK offers the services of its team of experts. Do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your white paper writing project!