What is a white paper?

The term “white paper” gets thrown around quite a bit in content marketing circles, but what is it exactly? And how does it work to market your business or organization? A white paper is usually a PDF document about 10-15 pages long, although it can easily be longer, depending on the depth of research undertaken. It’s a deep-dive, in-depth report on a specific topic, written in an authoritative, almost academic tone of voice (compared to the more casual, conversational tone of voice of a blog article). White papers rely on data and quantifiable research of a topic.

The benefits of a single white paper are many…

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Generate leads for your business

The white paper is a powerful lead generation tool because it has a reputation for driving a high trust factor through info-rich content. These premium content formats are highly desired by B2B audiences, and knowing the educational value they bring, prospects are happy to handover their email address or other information, such as their major industry challenges, in exchange for valuable information.
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Educate first, sell second

The new selling is soft selling. With an entire internet of knowledge freely available, information–rich and engaging content is mandatory in helping to educate buyers and nurture them through the sales funnel. A white paper is a great way to (soft) sell your features and benefits via a powerful narrative and clever and effective visual design.
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Foster trust and authority through thought leadership

Trust has always been a powerful sales tool. A white paper increases the trust and authority that your brand has on a given topic. By providing original and in-depth information backed up by relevant data, you are able to build trust based on truth. And data-driven truth is proven motivation to buy…
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Shareable content that gets shared around

89% of white papers get shared around to friends and colleagues. Really great white papers are the golden nuggets of B2B marketing. People email them to colleagues, share them on social media, and include them in business cases to present to the people making the buying decisions. If the information is important to your audience, after they learn from it, they’ll share it.
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Affordable yet powerful marketing

The cost of a white paper is quite low in comparison to other forms of content marketing, and generally has a lifespan of 1 – 2 years before a refresh is required. Used early in the sales cycle as a key driver of leads, you’ll find that your ROI on a single white paper will pay for itself multiple times over.
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One white paper, multiple content assets.

White papers are a treasure trove of factoids, compelling statistics and stand alone power statements that can form the basis for supporting content such as blog articles, a larger ebook, optimised landing pages for your website, infographics, micro content for social media, and motion graphics or explainer videos. A white paper is a rich content asset that can easily be translated into other assets and formats for specific content distribution channels.

How does a white paper drive lead generation?

White papers have a specific goal of educating the reader. They are considered to be a premium product in the content marketing mix, because they not only showcase your expertise, involve in-depth research to support a key point or outline a real-world solution you’ve created for your clients (for example a case study), but they’re also great for search engine optimization (SEO) because Google will actually crawl and rank your white paper PDF in search results.

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An attention-grabbing white paper will make the most out of your sales funnel opportunity.

No one wants to read long slabs of text with no paragraph breaks or images. Our researchers, writers and designers know that the key to creating a great white paper is visual! The masterstroke needed in creating really engaging white papers is in beautiful data-design and inclusion of high quality illustration. We create white papers that not only educate, they inspire people to share them with their colleagues.

Our data designers will ensure that along with well-written text, your white paper will integrate engaging elements of visual design such as branding, infographics and text design that increase the all-important ‘readability’ factor.

Need a white paper that uses visual communication and a data-driven narrative to educate and convert your target audience? We’re here to help, today!