We get it. Whitepaper writing is a huge project to undertake. However, whitepapers provide a variety of benefits to any business: lead generation, thought leadership, content marketing, etc. Despite these obvious gains, the process of creating a whitepaper can be daunting. The stress-free option is to hire an expert to do the writing for you, which provides him or her with a large check to remove most of the burdens from your staff. Alternatively, you can create the paper in-house, which is certainly friendly to the bottom-line but will take up the resources of key marketing and project personnel. After considering the financial or hourly investment needed for a project of this scale, managers and C staff often ask themselves: Are whitepapers worth it?
The answer is a resounding “Yes.” Going beyond the obvious lead generation opportunities that they create, whitepapers give you much more:
Whitepapers are an excellent tool to advertise your business directly to the end-users you care most about. No matter if it’s a piece on the science behind your offerings, the effects it has on the larger industry, or best practices, whitepapers are specific to a degree that other avenues of advertising aren’t. Whether part of a B2 C or B2B audience, seldom will a random user take the time to register and read a resource so industry-specific. It’s a type of audience segmentation that only generates interest from people in your field, which will reduce the time and cost from following-up on unqualified leads.
Cornering the market is rare and when it does happen, businesses don’t stay in that position for long. As you and your competitors try and differentiate from one another, becoming recognized as a leader in your field is extremely important. Whitepapers are a key method to accomplishing this. When written adeptly, whitepapers provide a showcase to your target audience on your expansive knowledge within your shared industry and an opportunity to learn more about the “how’s and why’s” in your business model. Traditional advertising is great at providing memorable sound bites as an initial step, but whitepapers lend additional credibility and validity to your work, and by extension its products and services.
Branding and Additional Sales
Not to be overlooked, traditionally graphic-intensive whitepapers provide a captive audience with a variety of corporate branding through logos, product pictures, and even lingo that your engineers have coined. Much like ad campaigns, all these additional touches have the potential to make an impact even after the paper has been read. As a related benefit, even if a sale wasn’t secured through the whitepaper, its content may generate interest with the consumer and spur them to look at your other offerings. This is why a well-written whitepaper is critical: a neutral document that offers understandable solutions to known problems in your industry (which also generates thought and questions from the reader) will create trust and loyalty that is extremely difficult to obtain through other means.
Once a whitepaper has exhausted its value as a lead generation tool, the fun work really begins. An experienced PR firm can utilize a whitepaper to provide additional value for your business. It can be:
- Blasted across social channels (multiple times)
- Used to start a discussion and generate activity with end-users (for example, positing its conclusions to industry-specific LinkedIn groups)
- Fodder for online and print marketing campaigns
- A vehicle to generate interest and secure briefings with reporters and analysts
- Presentation material for industry conferences and speaking opportunities
- The basis for byline articles (which we believe is a whitepaper’s greatest value after direct lead generation)
So when you’re creating your sales and marketing budget and wondering if there’s room for a whitepaper or two, remember that you’re going to get more than just qualified leads. Audience targeting, thought leadership, branding and a host of other benefits provide the extra justification you need to incorporate a whitepaper into your PR strategy for next year.
Get more information about how we can help your whitepaper writing process in 2017! Reach out and we’ll get right back to you.
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Brendon Stellman authors the column “Pure BS” and is Vice President, Director of Client Relations for Milldam Public Relations.