What are the marketing benefits of writing a white paper?
A white paper can help to establish your company as an authority in its field and build a rapport with potential clients
Rather than trying to push a particular product or service, a white paper gives a balanced, academic view on a problem or topic while subtly suggesting that your business has expertise in this area.
White papers could be an invaluable part of your content marketing strategy, since they are a good way to showcase skills, generate press coverage and attract new customers.
What exactly is a white paper?
Essentially, a white paper is an in-depth report that addresses a particular issue or problem and then presents a solution. It will often be heavily research-based and either demystify a complex subject, identify a solution to a historic problem, or examine a new trend and the opportunities associated with it.
White papers are perfect for financial services businesses since they are typically used in industries that provide complicated products or services.
According to the US-based Content Marketing Institute, almost two thirds (61%) of B2B firms use white papers in their marketing tool kit. Marketing Sherpa, another US organisation, argues that white papers are one of the most important tools for companies that are marketing to other businesses.
How will producing a white paper benefit my business?
People typically read white papers because they are trying to solve a particular problem. For example, if an SME is looking to expand overseas, it may start researching how to mitigate currency risk.
So if you are an accountancy firm that has produced a white paper on this subject, there’s a strong chance that the SME will find it and view your firm as an authority in this area.
A white paper can also help to build the reputation of your firm. Journalists often use white papers for background information if they are writing an article on a topic that they are not overly familiar with, since these reports are heavily research-based and data-driven.
This can lead to your firm being seen as a thought leader in the field, meaning journalists will approach you for quotes to include in future articles they write.
Will a white paper actually generate any leads?
Regardless of whether you produce a white paper in-house or hire a knowledgeable copywriter, it is a significant investment in time and money. You therefore want to get a decent return on your investment. While companies do not generally charge for white papers, they do not give them away for ‘free’ either.
Typically you will host the white paper on your website so that clients, potential clients and other interested parties can download it in exchange for providing their contact details. Not only does this enable you to build up a sizeable mailing list, it also gives you a valuable insight into which area of your business the client, potential client or other party is interested in.
The fact that you have produced an in-depth white paper also suggests that you have a greater degree of knowledge on that subject than your competitors. This means that clients may be prepared to pay more for your services than those of a rival company.
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