Whitepapers can have various content and purposes depending on the area, from legislation to business, from technology to marketing. The latter mostly employs whitepapers for additional lead generation. But what is a whitepaper and how can it be used to advance marketing activities?
What are Whitepapers?
Unlike the majority of marketing materials that focus on the sales pitch and tend to be bright and eye-catching, whitepapers are simple and technical. The main goal is to tell about a certain product or service and provide factual information about features, functions, advantages, and drawbacks. On average, whitepapers are about 2,500 words long and are written in a formal academic style.
Usually, marketers use the three types of whitepapers:
- Backgrounders that provide an in-depth investigation of the technical features of a particular product.
- Numbered lists with the top highlights of a certain product or service such as tips, benefits, features, etc.
- Problem/solution whitepapers describe a common problem and offer an enhanced solution that eliminates the issue faster, cheaper, more efficiently, etc.
Key Benefits and Uses of Whitepapers
First of all, let’s address the main confusion when it comes to whitepapers: they are not ebooks. Whitepapers are mostly written for B2B marketing and provide an in-depth analysis of a certain issue in an academic style. Ebooks are popular in B2C marketing and explain concepts in a more approachable way. Mostly used in B2B marketing, whitepapers generate leads, establish a company’s expertise, as well as provide a competitive edge.
According to the MarTech survey, over 60% of B2B companies that have implemented whitepapers into their marketing strategies found them valuable to the business. The major benefit of whitepapers is the customer data you collect from the downloads. You can require your users to input any information you need for marketing and business activities in exchange for the whitepaper. Besides name and age, you can ask for occupation, country of residence, university, email, etc.
A good tip for whitepaper promotion is to offer a few reasons to download the document. Give a few hints about the content and try to incentivize your user base to read the paper.
Whitepapers are complex pieces that require in-depth knowledge, original thought, and extensive research. They are not the most popular or commonly used type of marketing material due to their complexity and time consumption. But if you choose to go this path, you have a good chance of becoming a thought leader in the industry. Your competitors will use your papers in their articles and analyses and quote your findings.
Even in the realm of B2B marketing, whitepapers are only in the fifth place of popular activities after social media, blogs, newsletters, and in-person events. Although no one should launch a whitepaper campaign just for the sake of doing so, it will definitely give you a vast competitive advantage. A whitepaper is not a social media post as it requires genuine insights, thorough research, and a unique idea or approach.
If you would like to begin using whitepapers in your marketing strategy but lack the expertise and know-how, hire a freelancer or contractor to create a professional whitepaper for your company.