A white paper is a term that scares most people, but the truth of the matter is that they are actually straightforward to create. Why do so many businesses struggle with creating these marketing materials? For one reason, they take too much time and effort to create without any return for the business or company.
Many businesses try to turn this marketing tool into a book or a lengthy document that they hope their prospects will read. They think that if the white paper is a long, drawn-out piece of information, it will encourage people to download it and begin reading. This puts businesses in a terrible position as this isn’t an effective way to bring in leads and ultimately sales for the company.
A white paper should be a simple, straightforward piece of information that is easy to read and informative. It can also include some light content that educates the reader while keeping them engaged in the topic at hand. This is one of the reasons why infographics have become such a popular marketing tool because it does just this: educate and engage the audience all in one fell swoop.
If your business or company has decided to create a white paper, here are seven steps that can help you make the perfect one.
The first thing that your business needs to do is determine who your target market is and what they would like to know about your product or services. For example, if your business manufactures plumbing equipment, you should include tips about maintaining a healthy home bathroom in your white paper. This will spark the interest of those customers who are interested in this information.
This step cannot be overstated because if you fail here, nothing else will matter. While it may seem simple enough to target current clients with pertinent content that gets them engaged, don’t forget about new prospects. They too need this information because they are trying to validate their decision to choose your company from the others that provide similar services or products.
The next step is to determine what topics will be included in your white paper and how detailed you want each case to be. This isn’t a step to skip as it’s necessary for organizational purposes. Still, many businesses make the mistake of writing a very long white paper because they think this will help them generate leads and increase their revenue stream.
It doesn’t need to be very lengthy, just enough information and visuals to spark interest with the reader. Once this happens, they’ll contact your company directly if they have any concerns or questions about buying your product or service. A good rule of thumb is between five and seven topics per white paper. You can use a poster maker tool to add images every few pages.
Once you’ve written down your ideas and organized them, the next step is to collect the information into a visually focused infographic with critical points of interest. It can be skimmed (and by this, we mean within 15 seconds). This way, people will understand what it is about when they see it shared on social media or in their email inboxes.
In addition to using various images and icons when creating an infographic, don’t forget to include short content snippets that relate to each section. These add credibility to what you are sharing in the white paper while being easy for readers to digest quickly. A good infographic maker resource to check out is Venngage.
Once you’ve created your infographic, save it as a .jpeg file and upload it to the website of one of your white paper distribution sites (you can find some listed on the above site).
There are several different sites that you can use to distribute your white papers, but don’t use more than one white paper because this clutters everything up and makes the reader think twice about downloading it. This means picking one site and sticking with it throughout each marketing campaign.
Perhaps one of the most critical steps to take when creating white papers is to revise them over time. You can’t just create them once and forget about them because it can quickly make your content outdated. This means you should update each white paper every few months, making the required changes based on new information or services your business offers.
The next step is to create a marketing plan that will allow you to share your white papers with as many people as possible. This means using things like your social media platforms and email lists, along with sending the information to current and past clients (if they haven’t already received it).
You’ll want to make sure all of this is done in a very timely manner so that if any news related to your company happens, such as an increase in product line offerings or changes in service packages, you can communicate these updates promptly.
When creating your marketing plan for your white papers, don’t forget about paid advertising campaigns on Facebook or LinkedIn. Depending on how you set them up, these may not be costly, and they can help you get the word out about your white papers very quickly.
Last but not least, take the time to monitor the results of your marketing campaigns and analyze what worked and what didn’t. This way, you’ll be able to figure out which topics were most popular with readers so that you will know how much detail should go into future white papers. You may also want to gather data on how many people downloaded each version of your paper (color vs black and white; full length vs short).
With all of this information at hand, it should be much easier for you to create a new white paper and determine how to revamp existing ones (which you should be doing at least every few months). The more detailed your white papers are, the more likely people will visit your website or business, follow you on social media, or even subscribe to your email list.
That’s it! Now you know precisely how to create the perfect white paper for your business. You don’t have to do all of this every single time. Still, it does help to establish some sort of framework so that each new white paper you put out is better than the last one – ultimately building your credibility as an authority on its topic. After all, who doesn’t want their business associated with an authoritative brand?