Why should you create a white paper? According to Axonn Media, 70% of consumers prefer to discover a brand through original and creative content.
The white paper is an ideal medium for providing interesting and educational content to your prospects. It is part of the so-called “premium” content of your content marketing since it is not free, it is offered to prospects in exchange for their personal data. The white paper is a powerful inbound marketing medium because it helps generate qualified contacts who are ready to fill out a form to download the content that interests them.
The goal is to attract the attention of readers to your website and convert them by responding to a specific problem. It is also an opportunity for a company to highlight its expertise and skills in a field.
This article will give you all our secrets to making a quality white paper that converts your prospects into qualified leads!
Table of Contents
- Finding the theme of the white paper: in-depth upstream work
- What is the structure of a white paper?
- How to promote your white paper?
Finding the theme of the white paper: in-depth upstream work
Clearly define your personas and their issues
Before you start writing your white paper, it is essential to have in mind who your personas are and what their issues are. We invite you to consult our article which will help you define your personas ! Indeed, your book must deal with a very specific subject and target a suitable audience. For that, the work of reflection of the subject upstream is an essential phase to the realization of the white paper.
On the other hand, we must ask ourselves where the white paper will be in the conversion funnel. Depending on which phase of the buying journey the persona is in, your whitepaper will cover different topics.
In the awareness phase , the persona does not have a precise idea of their needs, so it may be interesting to offer them a market study that interests them with content that is easy to understand and that quickly informs them. .
Then, in the consideration phase, the prospect has clearly defined his problem and wishes to learn about the different solutions available to him. The theme of the white paper must then be turned in such a way as to present the solutions that you propose to resolve its problem.
Finally, in the decision phase , the white paper must act as a purchasing trigger, that is to say its goal is to convince the prospect to choose your solution. For example, it can include customer references to prove your expertise.
Position yourself on keywords that have an audience
The second important step in the upstream thinking process is the choice of the keyword. It is essential to devote time to this step in order to choose specific themes that meet the needs of prospects. After choosing your persona, ask yourself what topics might interest them. We have a dedicated article that shows you the steps to follow to find the right keywords.
Over 90% of internet users search the internet before buying a product – HubSpot
Here are some tools that might help you come up with topic ideas from a keyword:
- Hubspot topic generator: an online platform that offers you 5 free topic ideas depending on the keyword that interests you
- Keywords everywhere: this is an installable extension that brings up a window with keyword suggestions related to your Google search.
- Buzzsumo: by entering your keyword, the platform offers you the most recent content related to your subject that has generated the most engagement on social networks.
Capitalize on your already existing content
Content Marketing Costs 62% Less Than Traditional Marketing And Generates About 3X More Leads – DemandMetric
An ultra effective way to save time is to take your already existing content into a white paper. For example, you can take 3 articles from your blog that deal with the same topic and make 3 main parts of the white paper.
You can also reuse your business proposals or case studies to build your white paper. All the content you create on a daily basis can serve as a basis and save you precious time.
Thus, you will only have to concentrate on the structure and the formatting of your white paper which already requires a lot of time for a qualitative rendering!
What is the structure of a white paper?
1 / The cover
This is the first element that the reader will notice. It is therefore essential to take care of its presentation by respecting some basic rules:
- a title that clearly indicates the subject of the white paper
- a background image related to the subject
- the logo of your company footer
2 / The table of contents
It contains the major parts and sub parts of your white paper. Make your titles catchy and meaningful . This summary should make the reader want to continue reading the white paper and should be able to find the information he is looking for.
3 / Introduction and foreword
this is an important part since the stake is to grab the reader’s attention by exposing the problematic being dealt with and by demonstrating that the white paper will answer it step by step and in a precise manner.
4 / The development of the subject
This part should be about ten pages long. This is the development of every major part of the white paper.
Here are some tips to energize this long part of writing:
- Format your title in an original way. You can for example insert a background image under your title to highlight it.
- Also remember to insert images in the middle of the sub parts to boost reading.
- Put your subtitles in color, obviously respecting your graphic charter to be consistent with your brand image.
- Add quotes or statistics inserts.
- At the end of each part, summarize its content in a small specially dedicated box.
- Don’t forget to put your logo at the end of the page.
5 / The conclusion
It should summarize the outline of your white paper and lead to thought on the subject. Consider introducing a new theme linked to the one you have just discussed as an opening.
6 / The back cover
This last page can be used to present your business in a few lines. A good practice is to include a CTA referring to a page on your website. You cannot leave the reader at the end of the white paper without redirecting it to other content. Suggest, for example, to discover your solutions related to the theme of the white paper.
Also indicate your social networks to encourage sharing of your content.
How to promote your white paper?
Remember, the white paper is an essential part of the lead conversion process. It is therefore essential to offer it at the end of a landing page with a form to obtain the benefits. It’s give-and-take. You offer quality content and high added value to a prospect in exchange for his personal information that will feed your CRM.
It is therefore a question of identifying the best marketing actions to promote the link on the landing page of the white paper.
To promote your white paper, you can integrate it into your next newsletter. You can also promote the white paper in a nurturing email sequence by addressing it to a contact segment potentially interested in the topic.
If you have articles related to the topic of the white paper, feel free to create a banner with a nice mockup of it and place it in your blog posts with a link to the relevant landing page.
27 million pieces of content are shared worldwide every day – HubSpot
Another option is to promote on your social networks via a well-written post with the image of the mockup from the white paper. This can allow you to generate qualified traffic.
The pop up
This is a window that appears when the prospect is about to leave a page on your website. You can promote your whitepaper on this window as a last resort to convince them to download any of your content. The visual and formatting of the pop-up is therefore essential to retain the visitor’s attention.
The white paper is a key lever of your content strategy. It allows you to convince prospects of your expertise. A white paper must absolutely respond to a specific problem and correspond to a defined audience.
Producing a white paper requires a lot of upstream thinking in order to reach the right target and cover topics that interest your audience. It is a significant tool in your digital marketing strategy because it can allow you to generate qualified leads and collect valuable information on your targets. Following this, you can lead a nurturing strategy and move prospects through the conversion funnel.