Compelling content is vital in your marketing efforts. Content forms such as the white paper, eBook, blogs, data sheets are very popular. These pieces of content do much more than just inform; through engaging content. They help in increasing trust, strengthening perceived value and brand loyalty, gain a higher click-through rate for content placed on your website, and ultimately generate new leads and sales. Developing content like these is one challenge, but having generated one, what are some of the must-have items for a white paper promotion program.
White papers are a source of valuable content for your audience that can help position you as an expert or a thought leader in a specific field. These documents differ from general marketing content in their high level of technical detail. White papers may also include how-to guides, visual diagrams, specific industry data and even mathematical formulas about a relevant industry issue, product feature, or technical subject. Top secrets to get your white paper to generate demand for you
Designing your white paper
Here are some valuable steps to help you write and effectively use white papers:
1. Outline your content
To make sure you provide adequate detail for your white paper, outline your content first, including the following recommended sections:
- Introduction/Abstract – briefly define the topic of the white paper and what you plan to cover through it
- Challenge – describe the reader’s pain points
- Body – discuss the industry issue, technology, or product feature, including your solution or resolution to the challenge and related benefits; include quantifiable results that are expected, if applicable. Try not to be overly self promotional, as that way the white paper loses its charm.
- Call-to-action – what you want your reader to do next; examples include watching a video, visiting specific areas of your website, or requesting a product demo
2. Include images
Using graphics in your white paper helps a reader visualize what you are explaining. For a white paper on an industry topic, you may want to use graphs or charts; for a white paper on a product or technology, use models, diagrams, or screen shots to illustrate your points.
3. Wait for your pitch
If you are writing a white paper about an industry trend or a technical subject, it can be tempting to quickly dive in and explain how your company or product can address the topic. Resist this urge and wait until the end of your white paper to mention your products or services, and do it in general terms vs. a direct sales approach. This way, you will have successfully established your expertise on the subject of the white paper, and have developed the need for your product or service before you introduce it.
4. Review your work
Take a break from your draft and read it over when you return. Think about your audience and how they are approaching your content. If they aren’t familiar with the technology you’re referencing, make sure you address it thoroughly at the beginning of the paper. If your audience will likely know a lot about the subject, don’t labour over unnecessary details. To edit your content, read it backwards. First, read the last sentence, then the second-to-last sentence, and so on. This is a tedious process but it can help you catch missing or superfluous commas and spelling errors because you are able to read for grammar and punctuation without your mind jumping through the ideas and flow of the paper.
5. Use your content
Now that your content is written, use the white paper as a call-to-action for other marketing activities. For example, you can link a white paper that explains how to use a specific product feature on that product’s web page. This shows customers you can provide more expertise in specific technical areas such as a product feature, industry trend, or technical process.
Must-have items for a white paper promotion program
Publishing a new white paper is a lot like publishing a new book — you need to do a lot of marketing ahead of time. Marketing beforehand can help create a lot of buzz and get people to line up to read it as soon as it is published. Here we discuss some of the must-have items for a white paper promotion program
1. Have a distribution plan ready at the outset
Before you launch a white paper, you need to have a plan. You shouldn’t just publish on a random day when it’s ready. You need to make a plan and set a publish date ahead of time and stick to it.Have your white paper ready at least a week or two in advance. Make sure it is proofread, edited, reviewed, designed, etc. This will ensure that when the day comes you won’t encounter any problems. You won’t need to postpone the publishing date, clean up any errors or oversights, or go through the stress of publishing your paper in a last-minute rush.Now that you have developed Content, what next – all you need to know
2. Create a landing page
Don’t wait for the white paper to publish to go live with your landing page. Rather, it’s good to publish your landing page about two weeks ahead of time. The aim of the landing page is to get the reader to provide contact details. It should be short and persuasive. You will be surprised to know that 80 percent of the visitors to a blog are new visits, while only 20 percent are repeat visits. Which means that most of the people who visit your blog on a certain day will probably never visit it again, and they might never find or read your white paper. But if you publish your white paper landing page in advance and collect email addresses, you will make sure that your white paper gets read by more people.The call to action for the pre-landing page should let readers know that if they register with their names and email addresses, the white paper will be sent to them as soon as it’s published. Using this technique will help ensure that you have a list of readers waiting to read your paper.After the paper has been published, you can tweak the call-to-action to reflect the immediate gratification: “Register below to download the white paper now!”
3. Write a series of relevant promotion posts to support and promote the paper
Attract traffic to your blog in preparation for your white paper launch by writing a series of relevant blog posts. Generate curiosity about your white paper and attract attention to your landing page. At the end of each post, have a call-to-action that informs the reader about your upcoming white paper and links to the landing page. This will increase landing page traffic and encourage more people to sign up to read the white paper.For example, if you’re publishing a white paper on inbound marketing, write a series of four to six posts over two weeks covering related topics. For example, you could include an article on tips for writing blog posts, or one on using social media to generate buzz and interest. Some of the content you use in your blog posts can even be excerpted from the white paper itself. At the end of every post, be sure to include a link to your landing page and a call-to-action that asks the reader to register.
4. Write guest posts on other popular blogs
Writing guest posts on popular blogs can be another fantastic way to help launch a new white paper. If you want this strategy to work, make sure you target blogs that focus on the same niche or topic as the one your white paper covers.For example, if your white paper is on a technology-related topic, you can write a post for submission to popular tech blogs. Just as with posts on your own blog, don’t forget to include a call-to-action and a link to your white paper to increase your landing page traffic and drive registration.You will want to try to get some of these posts to publish before your white paper goes live and some on the same day on which your white paper is published. This can help boost your readership both before and on your launch day. This may require you to work with blog editors well in advance of launch, to make sure they can accommodate your launch schedule, but doing so can be highly beneficial, especially if you have specific days in mind for your guest posts to be published.Writing all these posts will also have some long-term benefits — it will help establish you and your company as an expert on the subject and convince readers that they will find your white paper to be helpful.
5. Get reviews
One amazing way to gain traction for your white paper is to get people to review it. If you know an expert on the subject or someone who has a popular blog in the same niche, make a preview copy available and ask them if they would write a review and post it on their blog. The association with an established expert or thought leader can significantly increase your white paper’s credibility.If your connections are too busy to write a full review, ask them if they would be willing to read it and provide a short, four- or five-line blurb. You can add these short reviews to your landing page, which can help make it more persuasive and add additional legitimacy for your work.
6. Invite experts to guest post
Publishing guest posts on your blog, written by experts on the same subject as your white paper, can help drive a lot of relevant traffic to your website. Posts from experts can help attract users to your blog who might be interested in reading your white paper.Experts usually have a following on the internet who read their newsletters, tweets, social bookmarks, etc. When they write posts on topics they specialize in for your blog and share them, their followers will visit your website, read the post and notice your white paper. If it interests them, they will download it or sign up to receive it when it’s available.
7. Email it to your subscribers
Having a long list of newsletter subscribers can make it really easy to launch a new white paper. You can inform your newsletter readers about your paper a week or two before you launch it. You can let them know about the pre-publishing landing page and ask them to sign up if they are interested.You can also send them an email on the day your white paper gets published and ask them to download the paper by visiting the landing page. If you already have their contact details, you can send them a direct link to the PDF.
These are a few ways to optimize the launch of your new white paper. If you want to launch with a bang, getting hundreds of people to read your paper as soon as it’s published, make sure you follow these tips.Developing quality content does take significant effort. Make sure that you get the maximum ROI for your efforts by extending and running your promotion program over an extended period of time. Hope you liked the list of the must-have items for a white paper promotion program.
Atul is Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting. He has over 22 years of experience in marketing, across corporates as well as SME,start-ups. Over the last 5 years, he has gained significant expertise and has helped several companies drive growth leveraging digital marketing