If you market to business decision-makers, there’s a powerful marketing tool that can help you stand out from competitors and demonstrate your expertise: A white paper.
In part 1 of a three-part blog post, I explain why white papers are so effective in business-to-business marketing and how to create a high-impact white paper for your smart marketing strategy.
What is a White Paper?
A white paper is an examination of a topic, business challenge, or issue by an authority on that subject.
Marketers who use white papers have two objectives:
- Establish the author’s credentials as an expert on the subject;
- Share content that helps illuminate or influence the dialogue around that subject.
A white paper’s content should be presented objectively with conclusions drawn from research and facts, but authors also can share their perspective on the subject.
How to Write a White Paper
Our marketing consulting firm in Cleveland, Ohio often helps clients develop white papers. Here’s the content outline we typically recommend:
- Introduce the subject. Summarize briefly what the white paper is about.
- Frame the discussion. Help the reader understand why this subject is important and why they should know about it and understand it.
- Educate the reader. Share your knowledge about this subject and make the key points you believe people should know.
- Cite facts. Use facts from trusted third parties or research from independent sources to support your statements and conclusions.
- Provide examples. Help readers see how the information you are sharing applies to their business.
- Share your insights. Offer your perceptions or conclusions based on your experience and expertise.
- Look ahead. Discuss potential trends or developments that could emerge in this subject area and what the future may hold.
Conclude with a brief profile of your company and credentials and include your contact information.
Where’s the Marketing Pitch?
Remember, your primary goal in using white papers in your marketing strategy is to establish your expertise and authority. It’s critical to produce an objective presentation that readers can trust. But it’s also permissible – and indeed, expected – for you to help the audience consider an issue or subject from your point of view.
So where’s the marketing pitch? In a separate section at the end of your content, describe your company’s ability to help readers successfully address the issues or challenges your white paper has brought to light.
If you present content readers see as a valuable contribution to the discussion around a topic or help them understand an issue they’re concerned about, you’ll be viewed with more respect and credibility. And in business-to-business marketing, that helps make the phones ring.
Next Post: 10 Tips for White Paper Success