White papers provide B2B companies with crucial opportunities to guide interested prospects further along in their buying cycle.
In this short video Stephanie Tilton, principal of Ten Ton Marketing, offers advice on how companies can maximize those opportunities, and provides seven steps they can take to create the most effective white papers possible.
Step 1: Understand your audience. White papers need to resonate with readers. That means you need to show deep understanding of their issues, concerns, and goals, as well as their preferences.
Step 2: Gather info through research and interviews. Your white paper should demonstrate knowledgeable, visionary thinking on a topic by citing numerous sources, filling in holes, and breaking new ground with solutions and results.
Step 3: Create a comprehensive outline: It’s critical for you to ensure all stakeholders are on the same page by securing their approval and buy-in as early in the process as possible.
Step 4: Make sure the paper is easy to scan and digest. Readers should be able to understand as much as possible in a simple glance. That means highlighting key points, utilizing call-out boxes, bullet points, etc.
Step 5: Make sure it’s easy to share. Embed social sharing buttons/links within the paper.
Step 6: Maximize the value you put into your whitepaper. Find ways to re-purpose your paper into standalone assets such as checklists, etc.
Step 7: Promote before and after your paper goes live. Engage in pre-publication promotion by seeding the topic in blog posts, etc. Promote it afterwards by directing your social media audience to the landing page and making sure your outbound emails point to it, as well. Make it as highly visible as possible.
Stephanie also points to three examples of companies who publish white papers incredibly well:
- Marketing automation software company Eloqua, whose Grande Guides have contributed an estimated $2.5 million in annual contract value
- Scense, a user workplace management company that syndicates its white papers via social content network Papershare.
- Supply chain management company Kinaxis, which does an excellent job of aligning its white papers with its customers buying cycles.