In the digitally native era a strong web presence is essential for your business to grow and flourish. Organizations all around the world are spending heavily on managing a strong web presence. They are learning, embracing and implementing effective web strategies. However despite so much of efforts the traffic conversion rates are still low for most of the organizations, with bounce rates mostly hovering north of 95%. Likewise the attention span is also dwindling. In one of the recent study, it was revealed that individuals on an average spend 37 seconds to read an article. In a time when attention spans are increasingly becoming low engaging users on the web is becoming tough.
The rise of content driven marketing
To bridge the existing void, what it requires is not just website presence and content, but also putting ample efforts with regards to making the content engaging, persuasive and value driven. Content or a published source can play a very instrumental role in influencing a consumer behavior without sounding like a pitch. Increasingly organizations are also realizing the impact, which quality content can generate. As per the research by IDC, CMOs in some of the largest technology companies (though the research was focused on technology companies, but the results are valid for other industries as well) consider building content as the second most important task after ROI calculation. A value driven content can go a long way in helping a visitor become potential lead and eventually converting it into client.
White paper as content
In this value driven content warfare, white papers could be instrumental in attracting more potential customers by showcasing your authority in the industry fraternity. Likewise it can build your credibility towards solving particular kinds of problem. In the given post, we will mention more about what is a White paper, how to prepare/compile one for your organization and the strategies to effectively market them to ensure the best possible ROI.
Even numbers further suggest that White paper play a very valuable role in creating what you are looking out for. As per research it has been suggested that 78% of the B2B buyers prefer to read White Papers before taking a buying decision.
What is a White Paper?
A white paper is an authoritative piece of writing that discusses and tries to solve a business problem in details. It will start with a particular problem, discuss that in details and then communicate about how as an organization you could solve the problem. Besides text, it could be organized with quality imageries and thoughtful designs to make it more engaging and consumable. Apparently, they are more widely used in the B2B industries, but B2C world is also adopting it increasingly these days.
White paper could also be seen as a blend of marketing and technical approach. While the intended business objectives is to communicate and market a certain product/service/ offering, the language and content used is mostly technical.
In terms of size it is somewhere between a blog post and a detailed report/e-book. While blog posts are often short and informal piece of writing, a white paper on the other hand is more descriptive, elaborate and tries to solve a problem at hand. Contrary to a blog or marketing content that is written for a company, a white paper mostly prefers a neutral and open minded tone. A blog or a marketing content could be a sales pitch, but a white paper is more focused on solving a pain point.
On the other hand, an e-book or a business reports are generally much lengthier and in-depth, when compared to a white paper. A typical white paper could be somewhere between 6-14 pages (Although there are much larger versions available).
The art of writing a great white paper
As mentioned above, broadly a white paper revolves around three fundamental parameters- pain points consumer face, how to solve the problem and lastly call to action.
A perfect white paper will do this by 1st writing a brief introduction followed by the challenge in hand. In the concluding part, the solution at hand will be discussed. This will be complemented with a call to action that could include a request for a product demo or visiting a website. Call to actions is essential but it should not be emphasized much. The prime focus of a white paper still remains to build credibility amongst potential customers and industry peers through dissemination of high quality knowledge.
For instance, take the case of a white paper that discusses about the rise of technology in the real estate transaction space (often called proptech in the industry circles). The introduction can talk about what exactly is proptech. The following part can discuss about the challenges that emanate from the unorganized nature of realty transactions. It can mention how a manual approach and relying too much on non-technology friendly individual brokers can lead to information distortion, user inconvenience and sub optimal decisions resulting into post purchase dissonance. The 3rd part can emphasize on how proptech is solving the problem. It can discuss how proptech is creating information democratization by building large databases of properties available on few clicks, facilitating online booking of properties through dedicated web platforms and streamlining the overall operational cycle with the use of multiple technologies. To further build the argument, such a white paper could be heavily backed up with graphs, data, charts, and designs.
Market a white paper
Once a white paper has been prepared, it is essential to market it aggressively and meticulously. Use regular media channels such as FB, LinkedIn and Twitter to help your white paper garner more eyeballs. Draft personalized mails and send it to your industry peers and friends telling them a bit about your latest white paper. Use it around your content marketing channels such as mailer and newsletter to let your audience learn more about the white paper. If there is a provision for a budget, one can also execute and run a search engine campaign around a white paper.
Besides, there are other numerous innovative ways through which a white paper could be marketed to a wider audience. Many industry events would be more than interested to showcase your white paper. Likewise use PR web to notify journalists and media people about the same. Other mechanism such as using it with your email signature or promoting it to industry related third party blogs can also offer valuable traffic.