As part of content marketing campaigns, businesses often include white paper marketing to provide a more in-depth look at a certain part of their business. White papers are long form content that include original or compiled research to offer trend insights and/or best practices.
White paper marketing has become a positive component of plans aimed at establishing a business as a niche authority within a selected industry, and it is also cited as effective for SEO and lead gen.
What is a white paper?
The content in white papers is typically between 1,000 and 10,000 words and analyzes a trend within an industry, or a product or service’s value to different kinds of companies. They are generally research heavy and require high-quality writing that balances industry data with brand solutions, as Writing White Papers reports that 76 percent of white paper readers are looking for education and 78 percent cite “minimal marketing” as a sign of a good white paper.
White papers for SEO content marketing
Creating white papers allows companies to demonstrate their expertise within a certain space. As people share links to white papers or mainstream media cover information included in a white paper, the content assists inbound link building and drives website traffic.
Brafton reported earlier this year that becoming a niche authority is a critical component of entry into Google News and enhances a business’ reputation among prospects. Creating premium industry content in the form of white papers can augment a company’s position in their sector, and 40 percent of marketers cite white papers as “very effective” for SEO, according to Marketing Sherpa.
White paper design
In addition to working with premium content writers, the design of white papers is shown to impact success rates. A study from IDG found that 27 percent of online shoppers are more likely to read white papers with visually rich covers and layouts. Additionally, 24 percent said the look of a white paper influenced their decision to buy from a sponsoring company, and 23 percent said it impacts whether they share the white paper.
As such, it is critical that businesses work with graphic designers to marry editorial content with visual execution.
White papers as a conversion tool
Many businesses that use white paper marketing require anyone hoping to access the content to fill out forms indicating his or her industry, occupation, income level and other biographical information to build a lead pipeline and gather targeting data for future content marketing. Moreover, white papers and other lengthy reports used for marketing are sometimes published behind a paywall for direct revenue generation.
White papers can be especially valuable as a final impetus for conversion. The in-depth industry analysis provided by a white paper can demonstrate that a company truly understands the products and services they’re selling. In terms of influencing purchase decisions, 67 percent of white paper readers say they hope to learn about the sponsoring vendors’ solutions, according to Writing White Papers.