Marketing with White Papers: Secret #4: Six Essential Channels to Promote your White Paper

promote your white paper

Four secrets that guarantee white paper success

Introduction

Is your white paper being downloaded, read, shared? No? You need to promote your white paper to ensure its success. As content marketing tactics go, white papers are a sizable investment.  You want to make sure your white paper does its job.  That means you need to actively promote your white paper.

Promote your white paper

It is important that the marketing team understands that the more effort they invest in promoting a white paper, the more likely it is that it will succeed. Make sure the marketing team is in on the white paper planning process from the start. Make sure the team is thinking about promotion all the way through the white paper process.

There are many ways to promote your white paper but the six we discuss here are essential for a credible Return-on-Investment. In this fourth post in the series: Marketing with White Papers: Four secrets that guarantee white paper success, Secret #4 describes six essential channels to promote your white paper.

Secret #4: 6 Six Essential Channels to Promote your White Paper

Essential to marketing your white paper is a landing page. A landing page is a page on your website to send interested readers to when they want to download your white paper. The landing page advertises the white paper and has a contact form for the prospect to fill in. With a first name and email address you can start the conversation.

Once the landing page is in place it’s time to promote your white paper. There are many ways to get the paper out there but six stand out as essential channels. To ensure white paper success, use all six essential channels to promote your white paper.

1.    Promote it on your company website

The obvious place to start to promote your white paper is on your company website.  Feature the white paper prominently on the home page with a call-to-action button that links to the white paper landing page.

Your company blog is another powerful way to advertise the white paper.  Write a series of posts about your white paper, ready to send out, weekly, at a minimum. You might blog about:

  • the upcoming white paper launch, then
  • a brief summary of the problem the white paper addresses, then
  • a post about the innovative solution the white paper presents, then
  • a summary of the entire paper.

Always include a CTA that ends up on the white paper landing page. Write the posts in a way that will entice prospects to download the whole paper. Remember, though, that even if only the blogs are read, it will continue to build awareness of your brand, your solution.

2.    Promote it in your regular newsletter

Another excellent channel to promote your white paper on is your company newsletters.  Place an ‘ad’ in the sidebar of the first page of the newsletter.  Have a compelling button that again links to that all-important landing page.

Promote your white paper

You could write a small article that summarizes the white paper and place it in the newsletter. It is also a good idea to arrange for your white paper to be mentioned in your channel partners’ newsletters.

3.    Promote it via email

Email is a cost-effective way of promoting your white paper.  You can:

  • e-mail it to your sales force to educate them in the key benefits.
  • e-mail it to your channel partners – your distributors and dealers.  They too will benefit from understanding all the features and benefits of the new product or service.
  • e-mail it to your house list of prospects and clients. 

When emailing through your channel partners, send a link to the white paper landing page so you can collect new leads. When you email your inhouse list, send the pdf as an attachment to keep your solution top of mind.

4.    Promote it on social media

Speaking of sharing, social media is another essential promotion for your white paper.  Post a link to your landing page on LinkedIn and announce it to any appropriate LinkedIn groups. Tweet about it on Twitter! Place links on all your social media sites, always linking back to the landing page on your website. 

Every time you blog about your white paper (see # 1 above), post a link to the blog on all social media channels. Include an enticing tidbit to get readers to your blog and the CTA.

5.    Promote it externally

There is nothing wrong with the old favorites.  Press releases are still effective at spreading the word.  Go ahead, publish a press release about it. 

  • Send the press release, along with a copy of the white paper, to journalists who cover your space.
  • Send the press release, along with a copy of the white paper, to bloggers who cover your space.

Don’t forget, there are sites where you can post your white paper for free.  Use all available channels.

6.    Promote it through internal and personal networking

Promoted internally, white papers can educate your sales team.  That sales team is then better able to promote the white paper! Beautiful.

A slide deck and presentation based on white paper content is effective for educating and networking. The same presentation given to the sales team can be presented at networking events, like association meetings, conferences, workshops.  All great places to promote the white paper.

Conclusion

Your white paper won’t achieve its goals if it is not actively promoted.  In this post in the series: Marketing with White Papers: Four secrets that guarantee white paper success, Secret #6 identifies six essential channels to promote your white paper:

1.    Promote it on your company website

2.    Promote it in your regular newsletter

3.    Promote it via email

4.    Promote it on social media

5.    Promote it externally

6.    Promote it through internal and personal networking

For a successful white paper, you need to maintain the push.  You must promote for months to get full value out of your white paper.  Promote strongly right up to when the next white paper is released.

This series, Marketing with White Papers: Four secrets that guarantee white paper success, will help you ensure your next white paper is a resounding success:

Secret #1: The right white paper at the right time

Secret #2: The white paper plan

Secret #3: How to write a white paper

Secret #4: Six Essential Channels to Promote your White Paper

Are you looking for a white paper writer for your next product launch? Why not hire an expert?

A persuasive white paper, special report, or e-book uses simple language to explain complex solutions.  I understand the science and technology behind your product, your services.  I can translate that complexity into easy-to-read content for a lay audience.

I know when to leave the jargon in and when to take it out.

Contact me to plan your next successful white paper!

CONTACT A WHITE PAPER WRITER

Please follow and like us:

Marketing with White Papers: Secret #3: How to Write a White Paper in 4 Steps

write a white paper

Four secrets that guarantee white paper success

Introduction

The 3rd secret to white paper success is how to actually write a white paper.  Seems obvious, right? You’re a white paper writer and this should be a breeze. But maybe you struggle to get the work done efficiently and effectively. It always seems to be far too much work.

So how do you write a successful white paper efficiently and effectively? Defining a process makes writing white paper a more manageable task.

What is the process to write a successful white paper? The third post in the series Marketing with White Papers: Four secrets that guarantee white paper success, focuses on Secret #3: How to write a white paper in 4 steps.

Secret #3: How to write a white paper in 4 steps

As we learned in last week’s post, a white paper plan is a key secret in ultimate white paper success. As a writer, the white paper plan provides valuable information and direction. Refer to the plan often to keep on track and on theme.

Read on to discover a step-by-step process for writing a white paper, based on a white paper plan.

Step 1: Research the problem and the solution before you write

The first step is to completely familiarize yourself with the solution to be showcased in the white paper. Although you will have produced the high-level outline as part of developing the white paper plan, go back and drill deeper into the information. Start adding details to the outline.

Talk to the SMEs

At this point you will have questions that the written material did not answer. It’s time to talk to the client’s Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). Depending on the product and the client, there may be more that one SME you need to interview. Organise a time to talk to each expert. Respect that they are busy and have your questions ready. It is a good idea to send through the questions beforehand.

Carry out further research

Discussions with the SMEs should lead to further research. Using the sources supplied by the client, look for competitors’ solutions on their website, industry-specific forums discussing the problems faced by your client’s customers, and referenced-journal articles documenting the problem and proving the solution.

Keep track of sources. You will you need to cite any information you use that is not public knowledge. Citations add to the credibility of the white paper as well.

Step 2: Draft a title to provide focus while you write

Now that you understand the problem and the solution, it’s time to nail down the title. The title is the headline when promoting the paper so its important to get it right. The headline must, first and foremost, establish a clear benefit to the reader.

Grab interest, be specific, be brief

Research shows certain headlines catch readers’ attention better than others. The ever-popular How to…, is popular for a reason. It works! Other phrases work too:

  • The truth about… (e.g. The truth about clarifiers)
  • Facts you should know… (e.g. Seven facts you should know about aerators)

The headline should be specific. The white paper is about a specific solution with a specific benefit to the reader. Keep the title specific too.

Keep the headline as short as possible. It’s best if it will fit in search results displays. Even before the internet, research proved a title of 8 words or less is most effective.

Establish a clear benefit

This is important enough to say again. The headline must establish a specific benefit to the reader. Inspire your prospects to download the white paper.

Step 3: Create content with the audience in mind

Marketing with white papers is NOT about the hard sell.  A successful white paper persuades using simple language and a logical flow. Logical flow starts with picking the right structure and then filling it in with quality content.

Write the white paper in a professional tone, using a formal, almost academic-style of writing. Don’t take that too far by relying on industry-specific jargon and techno-speak. Keep the language simple. You can download an article about writing using plain language here: Five simple steps to start the conversation: How plain language benefits the water industry .

Structure the white paper

How you structure your white paper depends on which type of white paper you are writing.  Go back to the white paper plan and make sure you’re on track.

At the top of the sales funnel you most likely want a Problem/solution white paper. That structure would look like this:

  • Executive Summary
    • Introduction
    • Problem
    • Available solutions
    • Your new and innovative solution
    • Conclusion
    • Call-to-Action

At the bottom of the funnel your readers are looking for details.  In that case you want to use a Technical backgrounder-type white paper. The structure changes slightly:

  • Executive Summary
    • Introduction – Problem and available solutions summarized
    • Key features of your new and innovative solution
    • Technical specifications of your solution
    • Conclusion
    • Call-to-Action

In the middle of the funnel, create controversy and maintain interest with a Numbered list white paper. The structure is just about the list. After the Introduction, order the sections in a logical way.  Put the more important or controversial information up front in the first couple of numbered sections.

Content for a white paper

The content of a white paper needs to do four things:

  1. attract the right audience,
  2. engage the reader
  3. inform your prospects, and
  4. persuade readers to take action.

Start by maintaining a logical flow through the paper. Start with the high-level outline developed for the white paper plan. Copy that outline into a new document and start filling in each section. This keeps you on track with the approved outline for the paper.

As you research your topic, put relevant information and its source in the appropriate section of the outline. Keep fleshing out the outline until you have summarized all available information.

Once your research is complete, transform your notes into a compelling story.

Visuals improve understanding

It is important to demonstrate your solution through data visualization. Did you know people process visuals 60,0000 times faster than text? By visualizing your data, you showcase your results and prove your solution. By understanding your data and data relationships you can pick the chart that will let your data sell the story.  Find out more about data visualization in the post: Case Study to Success Story – Building Trust in the Water Industry: Thing 4: Let Your Data Sell the Story

Add credibility and trust

A critical task of the content of the white paper is to establish credibility and build trust. Not through the hard sell but through robust research and compelling case studies. People love a story so make sure the case study is written as a success story. Keep the story brief in the white paper. Showcase it in a sidebar or call-out.

Discussed above, visualised data help demonstrate the credibility of your solution.

Pictures are powerful too. Better than just shots of your product, incorporate images of the solution in use, with a happy customer, if possible.

Step 4: Format the white paper for easy reading

Now that the white paper is drafted, think about formatting. You may not want to know this but not all your readers will read your entire white paper.  Many readers (43%, according to Hubspot) admit to skimming content.  Rather than being offended by this, play to those readers.  Cater to all readers with the design of the paper.

White space

Dense blocks of text can intimidate readers. Clever use of white space – areas with no text or graphics – will lessen the stress. Put in a few pull quotes to add variety to the blog’s visual flow. 

Headings and subheadings

Headings and subheadings help maintain the logical flow of the paper as well as providing a break from blocks of text. Skimmers can get the gist of the topic without having to read the entire paper. Optimize headings for keywords where possible.

Bulleted or numbered lists

Break up blocks of text with bulleted or numbered lists.  They cater to skimmers and help organize information into short concise portions.

write a white paper

Images

Photos, graphs, charts, and tables add visual appeal while providing in-depth.  Keep graphs and charts relatively simple.

Conclusion

White papers are complex documents. Even with a white paper plan, a writer can get lost in the complexity of the problem and its solution. The way to avoid this is to make writing a white paper a step-by-step process.  This post laid out a 4-step process for how to write a white paper based on a white paper plan:

Step 1: Research the problem and the solution before you write

Step 2: Draft a title to provide focus while you write

Step 3: Create content with the audience in mind

Step 4: Format the white paper for easy reading

Next week the final of post in the series Marketing with White Papers: Four secrets that guarantee white paper success, looks at the importance of promotion to white paper success: Secret #4: Six Essential Channels to Promote your White Paper.

Are you looking for a white paper writer for your next product launch? Why not hire an expert?

A persuasive white paper, special report, or e-book uses simple language to explain complex solutions.  I understand the science and technology behind your product, your services.  I can translate that complexity into easy-to-read content for a lay audience.

I know when to leave the jargon in and when to take it out.

Contact me to plan your next successful white paper!


CONTACT A WHITE PAPER WRITER

Please follow and like us:

Marketing with White Papers: Secret #2: The White Paper Plan

white paper plan


Four secrets that guarantee white paper success

Introduction

Content marketers understand that successful white papers build thought leadership, offer solutions, provide smart analysis, and illustrate product benefits. A white paper plan can guarantee your next white paper achieves its objectives.

white paper plan

Because white papers are complex documents, producing a quality paper requires careful planning. By going through the process of producing a white paper plan, you avoid many of the pitfalls that can highjack the process. Once the plan is approved, it ensures resources are available and helps you keep the project on track.

In this week’s post in the series Marketing with White Papers: Four secrets that guarantee white paper success, we explore the value of a plan, a white paper plan, in Secret #2: The White Paper Plan.

Secret #2: The White Paper Plan

It all starts with a plan. So, you’ve established you need a white paper and have found a professional white paper writer. Now it’s time to develop your white paper plan.

The planning process begins in-house. Before you bring the writer on board you need to sort out a few things internally:

  • the goal for the white paper;
  • your target audience;
  • internal human resources;
    • review team members
    • subject matter experts (SMEs)
  • information sources and research direction; and
  • style guidelines, software etc.

You then get together with your writer and ensure that the writer takes care of the following:

  • helping you decide which type of white paper that will achieve the goal;
  • coming up with a couple working titles and bylines;
  • developing high-level outline of recommended content;
  • the desired call-to-action; and
  • a schedule for completion of white paper.

Let’s look at each of these in more detail, starting with the internal resources.

Required internal resources for the white paper plan

Internally, having a white paper plan in place ensures that all members of the team understand the scope of the project and their role in it. Get the team together to start the process.

Goal for the white paper

Goals

Setting a goal for your white paper is crucial for its success.  This is something you want to agree on internally, although your writer should be able to help establish which goal you want to achieve.

white paper plan

Goals for a white paper can be to:

  • Generate interest and leads
  • Build thought leadership
  • Nurture leads through a long sales funnel
  • Support product launches
  • Cast doubt on competitors, or respond to their assertions

Keywords/phrases for SEO

Although white papers are not about the hard sell, you still need to get it out there and search engines still rely on keywords and phrases to rank search results. When the white paper plan lists keywords and keyword phrase, your writer can then sprinkle them into the content to optimize SEO.

Audience

Content marketers are well aware of the importance of knowing their audience. You most likely have information about your audience’s demographics, psychographics, and technographics. Or perhaps you have a set of personas that you and the team have developed.  That’s fantastic!

white paper plan

For the white paper, it is important to understand where audience sits in sales funnel. If you are generating interest and pulling in leads at the top of the funnel you will be addressing strategic stakeholders.  At the bottom of the funnel, it will be technical stakeholders downloading and reading your paper.

Internal human resources

By stating the required internal resources in the white paper plan, you allow time to be allocated to the project to ensure success. An important relationship to establish and maintain is that between you, the project manager, and the white paper writer. Keep this channel open and success is far more likely.

Review team

Establish who will be on the review team. Include people to review the technical aspects of the paper as well as people from the sales and marketing teams.  Ensure all members are involved in the planning process so they understand the goals and objectives of the paper. 

Bringing new members of the review team in late in the process will only complicate the process.  Keep to the plan!

SMEs

SMEs, Subject Matter Experts, are another key resource to put into the plan.  SMEs will assist the writer in understanding the science behind your solution. By understanding the science and technology behind your product, your writer can better describe the benefits of your solution.

Information sources and research direction

Your writer will need both information from your company but also other likely sources of information for further research.

In-house style guidelines and software

The white paper plan should reference any in-house style guidelines for design, formatting, and language. Include details of the preferred software for writing, page design, etc.

The writer’s commitments to the white paper plan

Of course, the writer is responsible for drawing up the actual plan. As with your internal tasks, there are tasks for the writer as well. After initial internal discussions, organize a time to talk with your writer about what your goals are for the white paper.

Type and structure

By understanding the goals of the white paper and your audience, your writer will help you choose the right white paper at the right time.  The plan must clearly state the type of white paper to be produced.

Working titles

Picking the right title for a white paper is very important.  The title needs to attract prospects, get them interested. The best title may not become obvious until the white paper is done but having working titles in the white paper plan gives the process direction.

What you want from your writer at the planning stage are some working titles and accompanying bylines. Look for titles that attract interest, are specific, and are brief.

High-level outline of recommended content

After discussions with you and perusal of the information you supply, your writer will develop a high-level outline of recommended content. The outline should be circulated to the review team, with review timelines strictly adhered to. After the writer incorporates review panel changes, the outline goes into the plan.  The outline forms to basic structure of the paper as well as being a reference during the review process.

Call-to-action

white paper plan

Make sure you know what you want your readers to do next. Do you want them to call you? To fill out a contact form? Watch a demo? Whatever it is, spell it out and make taking action easy. Add a button and a link.

Schedule for completion of white paper

The white paper plan must specify important milestones. Critical dates to chronicle are:

  • The white paper plan
  • The high-level outline of recommended content
  • The first draft submitted for review and approval
  • Timing of revisions requested following 1st and 2nd review
  • Final layout and illustration

The success of a white paper can hinge on keeping to the schedule. Allowing extended review times will impact the project negatively.

Marketing and promotion

Promoting your white paper is critical to its success.  As content marketing tactics go, white papers are a sizable investment.  You want to make sure it does its job.  That means promotion. Again, by stating your promotion strategy in the white paper plan, you guarantee buy-in with your sales and marketing teams.

You need to establish what additional content you need for the launch. You will need:

  • a landing page,
  • press releases,
  • blog posts
  • tweets and
  • email autoresponders.

Your writer may offer a package price for the white paper and associated marketing materials.

How you use these assets to promote the white paper is the subject of the final post in this series, in two weeks’ time.

Conclusion

A white paper plan improves the chances that your white paper will be a success. By establishing the goals, intended audience, and keyword phrases, you can pick the best type of white paper to achieve your goal. A good plan establishes required internal resources, including the review team, SMEs, and information sources. Working titles, a high-level outline, and the call-to-action all help provide direction throughout the project. The schedule in the plan will ensure timelines are specified and met.

With a white paper plan success is ensured.

In next week’s post we’ll find out in Secret #3: How to write a white paper, you’ll get some insight into what your writer is up to when she goes off to write your white paper. 

Are you looking for a white paper writer for your next product launch? Why not hire an expert?

A persuasive white paper, special report, or e-book uses simple language to explain complex solutions.  I understand the science and technology behind your product, your services.  I can translate that complexity into easy-to-read content for a lay audience.

I know when to leave the jargon in and when to take it out.

Contact me to plan your next successful white paper

CONTACT A WHITE PAPER WRITER

Please follow and like us:

Marketing with White Papers: Secret #1: The Right White Paper at the Right Time

marketing white papers

Four secrets that guarantee white paper success

Introduction

How successful was your last white paper? Did it accomplish its goal? Not all white papers do.  There are a host of pitfalls in the process of producing a white paper.

This series of posts, Marketing with White Papers: Four secrets that guarantee white paper success, presents four secrets that guarantee white paper success. Secrets that can help ensure your next white paper is a resounding success. Secret #1 is about picking the right kind of white paper at the right time.

Secret #1: The Right White Paper at the Right Time

There is a misconception in B2B marketing that white papers are only appropriate at a certain point in the water industry sales funnel.  Usually it is assigned to the middle of the funnel to generate leads. That way of thinking is really missing the true power of white papers. White papers, when the right kind is chosen, draw your prospects through your sales funnel and beyond.

So, what kind of white paper?  When?

By understanding the sales funnel and how decisions are made when the problem is complex and the solution expensive, the right type of white paper can be chosen for each point in the buyer’s journey.

At the top of the funnel you want to generate leads

B2B customers need time and information to make decisions.  And decisions in the water industry are about complex problems that require expensive solutions.

At the top of the sales funnel, the object is to get the attention of potential customers.  Build awareness. Generate leads. 

At this point in the funnel, a problem/solution white paper can help generate leads.  In this type of paper, you first define the problem your prospects are trying to solve.  You provide quality information about the solutions already in the marketplace.  You then introduce the new type of solution your company provides.

The idea is to provide information upon which a buyer can base a business case – never use the hard sales pitch at the top of the funnel.  Never mention specific products in a problem/solution white paper.

A problem solution white paper is used:

  • To generate leads at the top of the funnel.
  • To educate salespeople and channel partners.
  • To educate analysts, bloggers, and journalists.
  • To redefine a market space.
  • To build thought leadership.

In the middle of the funnel you must maintain interest

The middle of the sales funnel can be excruciatingly long.  You need to be able to maintain interest without exerting pressure.  Do it by providing controversial, educational, and possibly even entertaining information in a numbered list format. 

marketing water papers

A numbered list white paper might be a set of tips, points, questions, or answers about an issue.  They tend to provide quick summaries in an easy to read format.

People love numbered lists because:

  • They are easy to scan.
  • You always know where you are.
  • They are an easy read.
  • The structure is clear.
  • You’ve been reading them for years.

Numbered list white papers are relatively quick to produce since they tend to present highlights rather than deep analysis.  The points presented can almost be random with the numbering system holding them together.

A numbered list is especially powerful:

  • To get attention with provocative views
  • To help prospects along that are already in the funnel
  • To cast doubt on your competitors.

A numbered list keeps the information flowing into the middle of the sales funnel.  At its best, a numbered list white paper encourages discussion by introducing sometimes controversial ideas about the problem or about solutions currently available.

At the bottom of the funnel you pull in the sale

At the bottom of the funnel you want to pull in the sale.  A technical backgrounder white paper provides detailed technical information about the features and benefits of yourproduct, process, or service.

A backgrounder has a tight focus on one offering from one vendor.  This type of white paper is also referred to as an evaluator’s guide or a product briefing.  It tends to do one of the following:

  • Explains key features, functions and benefits in more detail than a brochure or data sheet.
  • Explains new, unfamiliar or misunderstood technology to a technical audience.
  • Supports a product launch by explaining the product in technically detailed terms.

A backgrounder-style white paper is powerful in the late stages of a buying decision. It can help the buyer or buying committee make a final decision.  The white paper needs to provide specific details of how the features of your product, process, or service will benefit the buyer.  And how those features will solve their problem.

At this point features are as important as benefits, sometimes even more important.  The buyer needs to know that your product/process/service will solve their problem.

Post-sale, maintain interest and relationships by re-purposing white paper content

After the sale, your content can help build stronger customer relationships. Relationships that can lead to future sales.  After publishing an effective white paper, the content can and should be used to feed other channels. 

marketing white papers

To establish thought leadership, you must provide new and engaging content continually.  Search engines like Google assess content as well as keywords.  Because white papers are expensive, re-purposing their content makes good business sense.

Each section of a numbered list could become a post on your blog.  They could each be re-reworked into an article in your newsletter. Both the blog post and the article should contain a link to the full white paper on your website. 

A problem/solution white paper could be presented at a conference with a PowerPoint slide show.  Several white papers could be tied together and published as an e-book.

Conclusion

White papers can engage and educate your prospects all the way through the sales funnel. They make an excellent call to action in a strategic content marketing campaign.  Prospects who download the white paper are expressing an interest in the solutions offered.  Be sure to collect information when they do.  Then follow up. Follow up. Follow up.

In next week’s post we’ll find out in Secret #2: the white paper plan, how important it is to plan your white paper.  A white paper plan dramatically increases the chances of your white paper being a success.

Are you looking for a white paper writer for your next product launch? Why not hire an expert?

A persuasive white paper, special report, or e-book uses simple language to explain complex solutions.  I understand the science and technology behind your product, your services.  I can translate that complexity into easy-to-read content for a lay audience.

I know when to leave the jargon in and when to take it out.

Contact me to plan your next successful white paper

CONTACT A WHITE PAPER WRITER

Please follow and like us:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)