The Power of the White Paper for Brand Influence
Content is king, as they say – and nowhere does this resonate than with the discerning users of todays digital landscape. Now an integral part of any brand strategy, content marketing is an essential part of what an organization needs to survive.
Customers are inundated with clever headlines, 140-character limits that tend to be leading (many times to nowhere), and graphics that may not be relevant to the message. No longer is lackluster search material going to bring conversions – and with that, a brand must deliver high-quality, useful and valuable content.
This is where the often overlooked tool of the white paper comes into the picture.
Designed to educate the market about a product or service, the white paper is a short document that complements the selling process with facts crafted to inform the user and heighten their knowledge about the organization. To be successful, the content must be useful and even surprising to the reader, causing them to engage further. The document is often populated with informational content including data, facts and graphs (usually infographics) and is commonly available as a free download via web.
White papers positioned as premium, fact-based content often succeed in generating some of the most conversion prone leads due to the level of trust being built with the user. While they tend to be free of charge, companies that do well with white papers usually sell prospects on the contents of it as if it was a valuable product the prospect would normally pay for.
The white paper in of itself is not a tool designed to sell prospects but rather inform. The subject should be specific and tailored to the audience being targeted. Ensure extensive research is done and that the organization perspective can be backed up by the facts needed to support the material. The reader should ideally walk away thinking that they’ve learned something valuable and they can use the white paper to make a purchase decision. The key to accomplishing this is the content combined with strong and clear communication.
Additionally, white papers tend to be highly shareable if they contain valuable, useful or groundbreaking content. Based on the trust aspect built through factual, backed-up content, users want to share the knowledge – giving them the feeling that they are sharing content that will offer tips, tools and resources to help them in their life, solve common problems or discover new products for their specific needs.
Distribution is key to the success of a white paper. Building a strategy as one would launch a product to the market is a good way to approach a white paper launch. Since most users will be directed to a download page, it important to focus on the design and content of the interface, making it as easy as possible for the user to engage. Think about the use of a microsite or separate campaign page to expand promotional opportunities.
Designed, targeted and distributed properly – the white paper can be an invaluable tool to establish a brand or organization as a leader in their market opening up vast opportunities for market share expansion.0