Writing white papers
Promote using authority with white papers
White papers are used extensively within the business and public services community to promote products, services or new innovations. They are used mainly for B2B content as decision makers often need much more information to share with stakeholders before a buy.
What exactly is a white paper?
There are several interpretations of what a white paper is and we have our own. To us, a white paper is an essay that builds a persuasive case to promote your service or product. Using facts, figures and a little bit of storytelling, a good white paper is a useful aspect of any content marketing campaign.
White papers are especially useful for B2B communications, but can be used for B2C too in some circumstances when pitched right. They are used before the sale to build the case for decision making. To be truly effective they have to promote but not sell. That’s a difficult balance to strike, but essential if your white paper is to be successful.
White papers are also useful for showcasing innovation, building brand authority and providing good quality, fresh content for your existing and future customers.
There is no real definition of what a white paper is or should be, which can be a good thing. As a business, you can mould a white paper to suit your aspirations and offering. Between us we can build compelling white papers that communicates your message while also providing valuable information for decision makers.
There are three general types of white paper, the problem and solution type, the backgrounder type and the list type. Each has its own strengths and suitability.
Problem and solution – Used early in the sales process to provide research material to help compare you favourably with the competition and to provide real life examples of how your offering helps. It’s important to avoid straying into case study territory here, but that’s easy when you know how.
Backgrounder – Backgrounders are for those further into the decision making process. They provide supporting information, statistics, specifications and other details about the product, the company and your values. They can also be used for press packs, partners, resellers and others with an interest in what you do.
List – List-style white papers are supporting papers that add useful facts and figures to support the sale. Often used in conjunction with problem and solution and backgrounders to help offer figures to prove your point. These lists have to be light, easy to read and offer enough interest to balance the data in order to keep the reader interested.
How can white papers aid content marketing?
We use the same principle with white papers as we do with any content we produce. We find out what people are talking about, find a real-life, valuable connection to what you offer and build a proposition around it.
By emphasising quality, we make sure any content we provide resonates with the industry, your contemporaries and your audience. They can help build authority, get publicity and show your business in a very positive light.
How can they help your business?
White papers are typically used for three things, setting out your stall, gathering leads and for building authority. A well-written white paper can achieve all three.
In an information-hungry marketplace, vendors are expected to do much more than just sell things. You’re expected to provide all the information necessary for decision making, examples of how your proposition solves problems, provide after-sales service and much more.
White papers help with pre-sales by clearly illustrating your market position, your offering, your values and your commitment to the entire sales process.