White papers are one of the most talked about marketing materials.
Many people are still trying to find out what they are. Below you will find out everything about what white papers are, what makes them so special (Advantages of using them), and what they can be used for.
There are mainly two kinds of marketing, one of them, is direct marketing using copywriting materials like brochures, direct mail, emails, website copy etc. The other type of marketing is content marketing using blogs articles and other forms of content.
Direct marketing was very popular in the past. You could get leads by letting your customers know about all the benefits of using your service or your product in a persuasive manner. But nowadays it’s not as effective as it used to be. That’s the reason why many people have started writing articles and started developing their blogs. Blogs let businesses demonstrate their expertise and using this expertise they attract clients. The problem with blogs is that it is a very long process. It could take up to 6 months for you to generate leads using your blog. This is where white papers come in.
White papers are a cross between a magazine article and a corporate brochure.
They contain both, the content marketing quality of a magazine article and the direct marketing quality of a brochure. These two qualities of the white paper make it a really powerful tool that educates and persuades the reader.
The contents of a white paper:
The white paper is generally a 6 to 14 page document. It starts off with a headline and a sub-headline which let the reader know about the contents of the white paper. Following the headline is the introduction which lets the reader know about the contents of the white paper. Right after the introduction comes, the problems section where the problems which are affecting the reader, are discussed. This is followed by the solutions section where the problems to the solution are discussed. Finally after the solutions section is the company and product information section which are written in a persuasive manner.
All the problems and solutions should be written in relation to the solutions provided by the product or the service.
The aim of the headlines is to attract attention. The introduction’s job is to let the reader know about the contents of the white paper. The problems need to educate the reader about the problems and make them think, “Oh! What am I going to do now”? The solutions need to assure the reader that there is a solution which can help them. It needs to relieve them. As soon as they’re relieved by the solution your product information informs them in a persuasive manner, that a solution is available right away. The reader will be inclined to use your solution right away, as they don’t have to invest time and money into a solution that might or might not work. They will be ready to hire you as your white paper demonstrates that you are the expert.
The first part of the white paper which deals with the problems and the solution is the educative magazine part of the white paper while the company and product information at the end is the persuasive brochure part of the white paper. The combination of these two qualities, make it one of the most powerful marketing tools out there. Though the last part is persuasive you need to make sure your writing sends a subtle message of marketing and doesn’t sound like direct marketing material.
Advantages of writing a white paper:-
1. Your readers will be more inclined towards reading a white paper than reading any other marketing material. They will want to read it because they are keen about the education they’re going to receive, but the persuasive part of the white paper does its job along with the educative part.
2. They are social media friendly. Social media is a place where you share content with others. You can share your articles, other’s articles, but you can never share direct marketing materials like sales page, website copy, etc. as it’s a place where people share content and build relationships. If they see somebody selling a service or a product in the middle of all this free content it will just look out of place and nobody’s going to be interested.
A white paper on the other hand is social media friendly. Your reader will be inclined on reading the white paper, as it’s going to educate them, but as it educates them, the persuasive part of the white paper does it’s job too.
3. They can be used in various ways. They can be used to launch new products and services, make products and services stand out from the competition, promote latest offers, and build brands and company image, as your whole company story can be told using the problem and solution style of the white paper.
4. They can be used to encourage customers to subscribe to your mailing list. A white paper will do its job by generating leads, but you can also use it to encourage people to sign up to your mailing list. You could tell your readers that they can get a free white paper by signing up for your newsletter with their names and email addresses. You can now use these email addresses to divert traffic to your websites and blogs and get more readers and customers.
Mitt Ray is a copywriter. He specializes in writing and marketing white papers. He runs imittcopy which provides copywriting and white paper writing & marketing services. Mitt regularly posts tips on writing and marketing white papers on his White Paper Blog
He is also the author of “Understand and Write White Papers“, a white
paper on how to write white papers.