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White papers are at the heart of effective content marketing. According to business surveys, 80% of respondents state they’d register online for a white paper. Everything else comes in second. Because of this, white papers are effective for:
- Generating leads
- Establishing your expertise
- Creating your brand image
- Building mailing lists
Here are some basic steps for achieving that.
Write professionally for your specific audience. A technical white paper will be more serious than a product explanation. In many cases you can use a “business friendly” tone, but don’t get cutesy.
Design your white paper professionally.
- Make it easy to read by using short paragraphs and using plenty of white space. Dense prose intimidates readers and makes reading look like hard work.
- Use call outs (usually appearing on the side) to highlight critical text or quotes that support important points you want to emphasize.
- Add bullet points.
- Include graphs, photos, illustrations, maps, charts that visually emphasize major points or visually explain complicated information.
B2B sales is a multi-step process. At this stage prospects aren’t ready to buy. They want information they can use in the decision-making process, not a sales pitch. Your white paper should provide that information to help them decide whether or not they need your product/service, and whether they should consider buying from you. If so, you want to guide them to the next stage via a CTA.
Include calls to action (CTAs)
CTAs tell readers exactly what they should do next:
- Register for a seminar or webinar
- Visit a web page for more information.
- Register to get exclusive information.
- Download additional material.
- Call a representative.
What other tips would you offer?
Alan Graner is Chief Creative Officer at Daly-Swartz Public Relations, an Orange County, CA business public relations and marketing content firm. For content that makes you stand out from the crowd, email Jeffrey Swartz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit www.dsprel.com.