Marketing with White Papers: 5 Tips for Success
Are white papers part of your marketing strategy? If not, they should be.
Michael Stelzner, author of Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged, notes that "Good white papers are prospect magnets. They are able to fly under the radar and penetrate most organizations anti-marketing defenses because they are sought after and brought into the organization by decision-makers. This means leads for the sponsoring company and ultimately sales.”
What can you do to get your white paper read and subsequently generate leads and business?
Consider these 5 tips:
Use the 60 second formula for your introduction.
Craft your opening sentences so that within 60 seconds your reader is turned on and wants to read more. Here’s an example of an introduction by Tom Casey, CMC and President of Business Consulting Services from his white paper An Executive’s Guide to the Cloud: A Primer on How It Can Help Improve Your Organization’s Performance:
"By now, you have almost certainly heard the term "The Cloud” being tossed
around by your Technology Officer, the media, vendors or even your friends on
the golf course. You listened intently to the conversation, but still could not figure
out what all the noise was about. You are an accomplished business executive,
and feel somewhat embarrassed that you aren’t aware of this latest buzz word."
Will the executive want to learn more? Yes.
Pitch your consulting practice in the final pages of your white paper.
Why? Selling your business in the beginning can come across as self-serving which will disengage the reader. In addition, your title page should reflect what’s keeping your prospective client up at night – not the services offered by your practice. For example:
Original Title Page – The Green Company Solutions for Improving Employee Engagement to Drive Business Performance
Revised Title Page - Improving Employee Engagement to Drive Business Performance
Determine your writing approach. Michael Blumberg, CMC and President of Blumberg Advisory Group has written several white papers with positive results. He recommends the walk away approach. "I block about 2 hours to write for each section of the white paper. At the end of the 2 hours, I walk away. I return at a designated time, usually the next day, with refreshed lenses to identify gaps and blind spots.”
Include a variety of visual tools to reinforce points:
- Sidebars and callouts. These are the summary sentences or key points next to major sections.
- Photos, charts, illustrations, and other visual images/aids are great additions that can add impact to your paper
Keep it short - 15 pages or less, even for extensive topics. Don’t let information overload get in the way of reading your white paper.
Where do you go from here? Try the 3R’s:
Read Writing White Papers by Michael Stelzner
Refocus your marketing strategy
Review white papers of colleagues and the competition