To stand out and engage audiences in today’s super-crowded marketing landscape, strong content marketing is imperative. A viable source for content marketing is the often-overlooked white paper.
A well thought-out and well-written white paper that addresses a current issue of great importance to your clients and prospects will position you as a trusted expert source, contribute to build trust, credibility and thought leader status. It will also raise brand awareness and, if properly marketed, act as potential catalyst for journalists in search of expert opinions. Ultimately, it will contribute to drive traffic to your website, encourage phone and email inquiries, as well as enable you to collect valuable demographics from would-be readers.
Readers will be genuinely engaged only if the perspective you provide in a white paper is relevant to them and clearly defines what it can do for them, how it will help them effectively address their problems, lessen their pains and the key goals it will help them attain.
Here are a few tips on how to make your next white paper successful:
Have a Unique Topic
You are the expert in your field and no one knows your market niche as well as you do. Consequently, do your homework and identify a relevant topic that has not been the topic of a recent white paper. Just as it is for your business, a unique selling proposition (topic) will help attract attention. In your research, stay clear of white label products, poorly researched topics and statistics, as well as data from questionable or unknown sources.
Map It Out
Before you begin writing, draw out a structure for your white paper, outlining the different paragraphs and ensuring that content will follow a logical progression. Find the most appropriate third-party statistics, studies, articles and exhibits, and verify whether or not you need permission to reference them in your document. If you need to address issues that command the use of specific technical terms, resort to footnotes and/or a glossary to provide appropriate explanations. A glossary will also give your white paper a more professional look.
Use an Appropriate Tone
Do not assume that your audience possesses an in-depth knowledge of the topic and is familiar with the industry jargon. Craft concise sentences and short paragraphs in a crisp, clear language to make your white paper easy to read. Implement a writing style that reflects your personality. Do not get too casual, but seek to write with the same tone you’d use when explaining the topic to a prospect during a face-to-face conversation.
Begin by making sure that your white paper displays the logo and full name of your firm, as well as the office contacts on the front cover and possibly last page. Leverage social media platforms and email to announce its publication and availability for download. Your email and social media announcements should feature links to a customized page that provides no distractions and makes interested parties feel comfortable to relinquish their email and contact information in exchange for your valuable document. The content of your white paper can also help you create your own editorial calendar. You can expand on concepts, data, statistics and research findings and use them as topics for a series of videos, blogs, advisories and short articles you can periodically disseminate via social media. This will help spark conversations, gain followers and increase the odds of getting some media attention.
When publishing anything, be it an article, op-ed or white paper, be prepared to accept the possibility that someone out there will not share your same point of view and openly disagree with you. If you have done good research and backed up your claims with sound facts and figures, this is the time when you will resort to them to stand your ground. Do not engage in hand-to-hand combat, rather use the opportunity of the verbal challenge as a viable PR opportunity to further articulate, refine and reiterate your views and opinions.
As always, questions and comments are welcome.
i-Impact Group Inc.