Second to our love for developing strategy, is our love for creating the assets to support it. This is also where businesses tend to really go astray, and it’s so nice to see how everything comes together when they get on the right track. Businesses often make the mistake of focusing on what they do and how they do it, rather than on the value that they bring to the customer. Any time you’re marketing you must put yourself in your customer’s shoes and ask “what’s in it for me?”. What you create must have real value for your client. That’s why we are really excited about sharing with you one of the most valuable assets you can use to support your business. In fact, 82% of B2B buyers used it to make a buying decision. 82%!!!
What is it?
White papers! And this is your ‘how to’ guide to develop them.
The point of a white paper is to show that one particular position, product, or service is the best way to solve a specific problem. It’s a tool used to influence the decision making process of your prospective client.
Before your start writing, clarify the purpose of the white paper, and clearly define your specific target audience.
The information in your white paper has to have enough value and interest to be worth taking the time to read it; and possibly have your prospective client give you their email address in exchange for it, if you’re using it as a lead magnet. That means you have to really zero in on the “what’s in it for me?” factor from your client’s perspective.
- What problems do your clients need solved?
- How is the problem holding them back?
- How does it limit their possibilities?
White papers are not meant to introduce your new products or services...that’s what press releases are for. Instead, they explain a particular issue, provide tips and resources to solve the issue, and they give the reader a new perspective. That last part is important! The same old, same old just isn’t interesting.
Just to give you an example, you could write white papers on:
3 Tried and Tested Conversion Tactics for Your Website
The ROI of a Great Home Page
Best Practices for Building a Conversion Strategy for Your Website
Do you see how they present a particular problem and solution that would be interesting to a prospective client?
White papers differ from articles, because they are usually longer in length (typically 5-12 pages) and have a specific structure, which is as follows:
Abstract or Summary: This is where you grab your reader’s attention and give the main point of the paper. It’s often best to write this AFTER you finish writing the white paper.
Introduction: You’ve gotten their attention with the summary, now it’s time to expand on it.
- Come up with a bold statement or something that’s controversial to keep them reading.
- Give the framework or a map for the paper, so they will understand how it’s organized and what they can expect.
- Outline the pain points that come with the problem (the details will come later).
- Specify the objective of the paper.
Background/Problem Statement: This is where you start to give more detail, define your problem statement, and explore the issue. Give them the facts and statistics, expand on the pain points they feel and how it’s holding them back, review the benefits of solving the problem - but you aren’t giving them the solution yet - and set yourself up as the expert they can go to for the solution.
Solution: Now that they understand the problem fully, and the pain it causes for them, it’s time to offer them the solution.
- Outline it clearly with all the steps involved.
- Detail what’s necessary to accomplish in each step.
- Include the benefits the person, or business, will get by using this particular solution.
- Give any examples your business has delivered with highly positive results.
- Add any charts, pictures, or visual data to illustrate the results the solution provides.
About Your Company/Advertisement: This is basically a short description of your company and why you are the best provider for the solution.
Conclusion: It’s time to wrap up the entire paper, and give them a summary of the objectives. Be sure to:
- Review the Background/Problem Statement.
- Highlight the solution and the value it brings.
- End with a strong statement and a Call to Action (you have to tell them what you want them to do next...which should be to contact you!).
Resources: List any resources you used in the paper, or resources that the reader can use personally or for their business. Hyperlink to the resources to make them easy to access for anyone reading online.
And that’s it!
White papers are an effective way to capture emails and generate leads. Remember 82% of B2B buyers used white papers to make their buying decisions. That’s a pretty insane number and a great reason to start creating white papers!
Not sure how to develop a topic that will work for your business? Let us help you in a FREE consultation. Just click on the link below to reserve a time.