What is a White Paper Document?

White Paper

Well, you might have heard about a plethora of tools when it comes to content marketing. But do not frown when we say “White Papers”.

In modern days, marketing has changed its form from a conventional one. Earlier, the point of marketing did not include educating customers. It was merely confined to selling the products. The business objectives were restricted to numbers, aiming to sell as much as you can!

But with the advent of different marketing concepts like customer satisfaction, brand awareness, customer feedback, consumer behavior, etc., marketers understood that to retain customers and attract new ones, you should provide something that increases their knowledge and know-how about things.

Something that customers find worth their time invested along with purchasing the product/service. Providing any value along with selling will make you stand out from the crowd. It gave rise to many content marketing tools, and a white paper document is one of them. 

Let’s explore this state-of-the-art content marketing tool together!

What are White Paper Documents?

A white paper is an informative piece that describes any topic related to the business niche and enacts the authority in a specific sector or subject matter. A white paper is a document that aims to make the reader well-versed with a particular topic. It comprises extensive knowledge and research skills of a writer that provides the solution to any problem. It helps the readers to –

  • Understand the issue,
  • Fix a problem, or
  • Decision making 

So, we can say that white papers are a data-centric business document that involves a lot of research and deep reads about the topic. Therefore, it is not easy to generate a white paper document and requires a professional as it deals with a lot of data, facts, stats, charts that should be derived to establish a solution to a problem. 

Many marketers are using white paper documents, but it has not been fully evolved. These are used to generate leads and clients. The information disclosed on white papers is represented in images, print text, illustrations, and even videos! 

Talking about the sales funnel, where the process starts with making the customer aware of the product until making a purchase decision, white papers are considered the mid-funnel content. These are typically between long article form and e-books, i.e. six pages to a hundred or more, used by sales & marketing professionals to persuade or coax potential customers to pick up more about product/service, methodology, etc., before sales. 

Know different types of White Papers 

The white papers can be broadly categorized into three types –

The Backgrounder  

These papers are unambiguous, reliable and plain. Its purpose is to describe the advantages, key features, functions of a specific product/service or methodology. It is more detailed than typical brochures, web copy, and others.

The Numbered list 

It’s a popular category of white papers formulated around a list of bullet points referring to a specific issue. Through this accessible and informative read, the needs of the potential client can be fulfilled.

The Problem/Solution 

This type is called the king of content. It comprises a persuasive piece of information having facts and logic that depicts the best available solution to a problem. It is generally rich and complex.

If you want to generate leads, redefine a market space, carving the opinions of journalists, analysts, etc., of your niche, use this type of white paper to get desired results.  

How Do White Papers Benefit the user? 

  • Increasing engagement

Getting user engagement is the most significant proof that people are interested in your business. Being a content marketing tool, white papers aim to appeal to people and bring attention that turns into leads. 

If a user does this voluntarily, that shows that they are showing their interest in your business. And when something valuable is provided to the readers, and they can relate to it, it increases engagement automatically. 

  • Brand awareness

For any brand, the most crucial step is brand awareness. It means how much the audience is aware of your product’s availability in the market. Even though the primary goal of white papers is to generate sales leads, they can also be advantageous to build your brand’s image. 

You know you can use these white papers to provide know-how about your company, its expertise, and relevant information to create a positive impression in readers’ minds. It might showcase you as an industry leader in your niche. 

  • Generate sales leads

White papers are highly used as a part of a content marketing tool. It provides the users with educational as well as marketing-oriented information. So they might prove to be a boon to your business by increasing the reliable leads. 

When a prospect reads your white paper and finds it useful, it enhances the chances of browsing your website, taking more interest in your products/services, clicking on an ad, etc., thus contributing to more sales.

  • Enhances mailing list

Generally, building a mailing list is quite a task for marketers. Urging people to sign up to your newsletter sounds desperate, and people might not do it until they find something meaningful in exchange. 

You must be wondering what that would be.

Let us tell you.

You can offer white papers to the readers in exchange for more sign-ups or subscribers. Make sure your white paper should provide what the prospect was looking for! Do not let it prove to be a wild-goose chase, as it might piss the readers off! 

  • Allows you to provide original research 

When we see out there, the internet is filled with mundane and imitating content. Publishing your content by analyzing, researching your thoughts, ideas can prove to be a helping hand in establishing the originality of your white paper. 

Not only does it elevate your brand identity, but it also allows you to conduct research on a specific topic and publish your findings instead of relying on others for the data and facts. 

It also helps you generate backlinks from other people who use your findings as a base of their discussions. 

How can you make your White Paper Impressive?

  • Do not make your white paper a sales pitch. 

The readers are already vexed with tones of sales pitches from endless marketers. Do not let them go insane with yet another sales pitch. Your paper should be 80% educational, and the rest 20% be talking about your products/services.

If you want to stand out from competitors and want a decent lead, let the reader figure out whether he wants to make a purchasing decision. Proper follow-ups and giving the prospect space is something that would never annoy them. 

  • Know your marketing goals clearly 

Ask yourself these questions before working on a white paper – 

  • Do you know your target audience?
  • How is this white paper going to convert into a lead?
  • What objectives are served by a specific white paper?
  • Will the white paper support the new product/service launch?

Every activity in business serves a purpose. Without any purpose, the efforts are in vain. Also, it might incur the wastage of resources. So, be sure what you want to pull off!

  • Make sure the paper is briefed creatively. 

Many times the paper looks like it has lost its goal. These documents often lack the answers to questions such as – 

  • Who is the target audience?
  • What challenges will be solved by the white papers? Etc.

So, the writers should be given proper creative briefs to have a clear perspective to write plausible white papers.  

  • Use the services of professional writers.

A white paper is one of the most persuasive tools in the marketer’s arsenal. However, it takes a plethora of analytical and research skills to constitute an eloquent white paper that serves your marketing purpose. 

It’s not always easy to write a white paper as it consumes a lot of time. So, many B2B marketing firms that lack time and resources hire professional content writers to write such lengthy content.

A professional writer will save you a lot of time and effort. Also, he knows the web of words, so he can better use it to enhance the richness of content, keeping the formal tone intact. 

  • Promote white papers aggressively.

 If you think the mere creation of white papers and uploading them to the website is your entire task, you are wrong!

If you’ve put a lot of effort and skills into creating such complex documents, you should also promote them aggressively to serve its purpose. 

You can utilize a chunk of ways to promote them through –

  •  Influencer marketing, 
  • Hosting a webinar for a white paper topic, 
  • Targeting on LinkedIn, 
  • Email campaign, etc. 

It will create a buzz in the market about our white paper document and drive more traffic and leads. 

Final Takeaway 

Now that you have gone through various things about white papers, you might have known how vital it is to keep in your marketing kit. Though it has been in use for many years, a handful of marketers know its relevance and leverage it for increasing leads in business. 

Issuing a well-researched and informative white paper will help you nail down your industry expertise and establish you as a business ninja!