In a business context, white papers have numerous benefits and can serve various purposes. They can enhance a company’s credibility and draw in new potential customers. Writing a well-crafted white paper presents an opportunity for a company to evaluate its current position and formulate a future strategy. It is important to note that a white paper is not a sales pitch, but rather an informative document that provides valuable insights.
They are frequently written and used as part of a bigger content marketing strategy to entice or persuade potential customers to learn more about a specific product, service, technology, or methodology. The ultimate goal of writing a white paper is to encourage your consumers to buy the product you’re telling them about. In comparison to a typical blog post, brochure, or ebook, white papers are generally much more formal and academic in tone.
Unlike other types of content, a white paper presents the reader with a problem before offering a solution (in the form of your company’s product or service). In the past, white papers were used by government agencies to propose new policies. However, with everything going digital, writing a white paper is an entirely different ball game these days. White papers are now a powerful online marketing tool and have a versatile purpose across different industries.
Types of white paper
Due to their versatility, there are multiple types of white paper. Let us look at the different kinds that you can choose from when developing yours.
1) For-profit white papers
For-profit white papers are used by businesses to increase sales. The goal of this type of white paper is to provide solutions in a concise manner. This makes them an effective tool when customers want to gather information to purchase a product in the middle of the funnel.
2) Technical white paper
A technical white paper, as the name implies, deals with technological issues. With the help of diagrams, charts, screenshots, and infographics, these white papers are specifically designed to simplify technical processes. Bitcoin and Ethereum have used technical white papers effectively to demonstrate their technical capabilities to the rest of the world. When a technical organization needs to explain its fundamental processes in detail, a technical white paper comes in handy
3) How-To white papers
When faced with a complex problem, people frequently consult how-to blog posts. There is, however, a significant distinction between a how-to blog post and a how-to white paper. A how-to white paper will explain the problem, provide solutions, and direct readers to a problem-solving business. A blog post is now considered a universal post. It may or may not be about a specific company or service provider. How-to white papers are used by businesses to generate leads at all stages of the sales funnel. They’re merely designed to enhance the user experience.
4) Product comparison white papers
Product comparison white papers are used by companies when they need to compare their product and features to those of their competitors. Businesses frequently use innovations to prove a point. A product comparison white paper can be used to show off the product’s unique characteristics and the new technologies you’ve employed.
5) Thought leadership white papers
Thought leadership white papers are used when a company wants to share a new concept that adds to the market’s existing knowledge. In other words, thought leadership white papers are designed to present new ideas that address customer pain points. As a marketing asset, white papers have plenty of advantages. First of all, they aid in the development of a company brand. When you present your thoughts, findings, and opinions on an industry-specific issue, you can become a thought leader.
Secondly, when you put your company’s name out in the space after writing a white paper, different industries can quickly reach out to you. A well-developed white paper boosts your credibility by establishing you as a potential source of information for many people. Additionally, you can use white paper to generate new leads with whom you can form business relationships. Email is the most common method of disseminating white papers. Once you’ve sent your email, you can then establish relationships with those who responded to the email. As new leads contact you, your company’s reach will expand.
Furthermore, white papers can increase shareability. White papers are descriptive in nature. It is because of this that website visitors feel comfortable sharing your white paper on social media. When you give people reasonable solutions, your white paper is sure to get the attention it deserves. Last but not least, white papers have the potential to attract more backlinks. A good white paper will drive traffic to your business website. In turn, the more website traffic you get, the more people will be able to see your white paper. The more people who participate, the more likely the white paper is to attract more links.
How to create a professional white paper
Now that we know what white papers are, the different types of white papers, and their advantages for a business, let us go through the process of actually creating one.
1) Research: Pick a topic and type of white paper
Before diving into actually writing the white paper, you need to decide on your company goals. You need to specify whether you want to build brand awareness, boost conversion rates, or generate more sales. This will help you determine the type of white paper you’re writing and the topic for your white paper. A white paper is supposed to be a factual and objective document that provides an unbiased subject analysis.
As a result, your company’s ability to produce a white paper that will stand up to scrutiny will be severely hampered if you don’t do proper research, gather sufficient data points, and include references with authority in the field. A well-rounded and authoritative white paper should include both primary and secondary research. Make good use of data collected directly by your company, such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups, and include a review of existing primary research, such as articles, reports, and academic papers.
Exclusively using your company’s data provides a perspective that is too narrow, whereas failing to conduct primary research reduces your authority on the subject. Preliminary research also shows that you are willing to get your hands dirty to provide your audience with something reliable, unique, and up-to-date. Here are some approaches you can use to research your white paper:
Examine industry journals and academic research papers for information
When developing arguments and analysis in your white paper, you can refer to this literature for the factual and objective support you need.
Interview all relevant internal stakeholders
When developing the angle and arguments presented in your white paper, these people’s knowledge and experience within your industry will be extremely valuable.
Make contact with industry experts who are part of your professional network
This is a fantastic way to get unique perspectives from reputable sources. Offering quotes and backlinks to each person’s website as an incentive to contribute can be a powerful motivator.
To get more information, use focus groups
Organize a guided group discussion about the merits of your company’s product or current industry issues. The group dynamic can bring up aspects of the topic that you hadn’t considered before.
Organize an email survey
You should send a questionnaire to the company’s existing mailing list. This can be a cost-effective and efficient way to collect original data.
Consider the following scenario: If you want to solve a problem, you could write a white paper about how your new methodology can transform lives. In this case, how-to white papers may be a good choice. If you want to achieve your business objectives, you could talk about the new amendments required to achieve marketing objectives. In this case, for-profit white papers may be the best option.
2) Define the audience for your white paper
Always keep in mind that you’re writing your white paper for the people. The only goal is to make these people’s lives better. In order to determine a company’s target audience, you must answer the following questions:
- Do you know the people you will be writing for?
- Are these people familiar with the topic?
- What industry do you belong to?
- Do you need to produce a detailed report or just a summary?
- What platforms does your target audience use?
- What kind of keywords are common in your niche?
The answers to these questions will help to shape your company’s voice. Defining the audience allows you to streamline the research process and effectively present relevant information. You can go even further by creating a perfect buyer persona – a hypothetical avatar of an ideal customer from within your company’s target market, along with their demographic and psychographic information.
Buyer personas help marketers empathise with prospects and can be extremely useful in the creation of a white paper. This is because they can aid in the creation of a compelling narrative arc. When creating personas, you should be as specific as possible. Consider their history, current situation, motivations, and the typical buyer’s journey. All this information can help the reader connect with the character.
3) Gather information
How will the general public recognize your company as a thought leader? Through your ideas, expertise, and how you present your findings. White papers are a unique tool because no one can duplicate them. You must ensure that the information you present supports logic and practical analysis when writing. The following are examples of things you can do to help with this:
- Research customer success stories.
- Conduct audience polls to help you make your subject more relevant.
- Look at what larger companies are doing – choose a company related to your niche and analyze their strategies.
- Google your topic – gather data, references, and links, and logically organize this information.
- Keep track of all of the statistics you’ll use.
4) Add credibility
When you include testimonials from authoritative sources and experts, your credibility skyrockets. You can connect with relevant experts in your niche on Twitter and LinkedIn. You should prepare questions ahead of time and narrow them down to a specific issue while keeping them open-ended. In this way, you can learn new things about your subject. We have listed the main things that you should consider when writing a white paper. Additionally, we have established that the purpose of having one is to solve the pain points for your company’s target audience. Let us briefly look at a few more tips that can help when coming up with a white paper topic idea.
- Make use of something that has already proven to be effective. Making a white paper out of your company’s most popular blog post is a surefire way to find a topic that your readers be interested in.
- Pay attention to the most common themes and objections that come up during sales calls. Having close ties with the sales team can help you to determine exactly what your audience wants to read about and where they require additional persuasion. This is especially true when writing white papers for B2B clients.
- Remain current with changing industry trends. You can write an influential thought leadership white paper by keeping an eye on industry trends and picking up relevant topics within your field of expertise.
- Aim for high-value transactional keywords. People who search for keywords with commercial intent are looking to buy something. This is why these keywords make excellent white paper topics (as long as they are relevant to your company’s product and target audience).
5) Include infographics in your white paper
Infographics can add value to your white paper in several ways. Firstly, they add colorful visuals to your content, making it that much more appealing for your readers. By balancing your text-based content with visual content, you’ll create a white paper that is both engaging and memorable. If you’re looking to stand out with your white paper, this is an easy way to do it. Using infographics also helps you to present any statistics in an easy-to-understand format. If you can break down complex information into a form that your readers will understand, then you will make a good impression on them and stay top of mind. Keep in mind that once a reader knows that they can trust you to educate them, they’re more likely to buy what you’re selling.
It’s easy to overlook creating a white paper due to the time and effort it takes. Nevertheless, white papers have become a major marketing tool that can help you gain media coverage and reach your target audience. In order for your white paper to be effective, you need to ensure that it is factual and includes unbiased information that will resonate with readers. A good white paper will make people take notice of your brand and drive sales indirectly.
Do you need help creating the perfect white paper for your brand? You should consider hiring the services of experts who are skilled at creating quality content for brands. Pressfarm is a PR agency that helps startups and established companies create memorable content to capture attention in the media as well as among their target audience. Their PR experts and writers work with companies to help them understand what it takes to stand out in their niche and create quality content that makes heads turn. With a professional white paper from Pressfarm, your brand can make a splash in your industry.
In addition to this, the PR specialists, expert writers, and certified designers at Pressfarm can help you create a newsworthy press release, engaging guest posts, and an eye-catching media kit for your brand.
By submitting your brand to the right media outlets and startup directories, Pressfarm can boost your online presence, ensuring you rank in relevant search results. With a custom media list as well as a database of 1 million+ bloggers, journalists, and influencers, you can connect with the best storytellers and thought leaders in your niche. One of Pressfarm’s affordable PR packages could be exactly what you need to take your brand to the next level.