Get your reader’s attention…with a White Paper

Known as the King of Content, a white paper introduces a problem, offers an answer and positions your product as the logical solution in a B2B setting. These documents are essentially used to market a product or service, process or idea by educating a potential buyer with meaningful information.

Here’s how it works.

Typically between 5 to 12 pages in length, a white paper offers high level of expertise on a subject of interest to the reader, backed with solid research and includes illustrations, graphs and references.

These documents have been used effectively as business marketing tools since the 1990s. They’re a long form of copy used in what is known as ‘content marketing’ or ‘inbound marketing’. They bring attention to your technology, product, or the business advice you offer to solve a particular problem the reader is looking to fix.

What are they used for?

White papers are typically used for highly-priced or complex business solutions that generally involve the consideration of multiple decision makers. Business owners or company buyers will almost always need to create a formal business case for the decision to purchase a particular highly-priced solution and must show due diligence to other elected decision makers in the company such as the CEO or CFO. A white paper will help build this business case.

When are they used?

White papers are a valuable tool which can be used in the three very distinct phases of the buying decision.

  1. Lead generation
  2. Formal evaluation
  3. Final buying decision

Who reads ‘em?

Many people are involved in buying decisions today and often, as mentioned, there is a buying committee involved to ensure the business needs are met in return for the high price paid for a particular solution. The committee can consist of everyday workers, heads of departments, purchasing managers, and top management executives including the CEO, CFO, president or the owner. Each reader will have different questions that must be answered. So the white paper must provide meaning to each reader. Most often, white papers will be shared as pieces of valuable information. They bring value to their readers and brand exposure to their originator. A win-win.

Here’s a great infographic written by Gordon Graham, That White Paper Guy, and author of White Papers for Dummies.

It colorfully explains the different types of white papers and when to use each type. Click the image to open the pdf.


Top tip

Remember, when it comes to B2B marketing, you need to produce credible and useful information. You must stand out in the eyes of your potential buyer, and really provide the most amount of value. You’re not in this to simply make another sale. You’re in this to solve a problem for your audience. And a white paper might very well be the perfect way to start.

Still curious?

Contact me today and we’ll talk about your business, and discuss how a white paper could help you achieve your marketing goals, faster.

I’ll also send you a FREE copy of my white paper, Simplifying Sustainable B2B Marketing: Helping the B2B buyer meet company objectives.