White paper marketing has seen frequent increases in recent years, and more businesses are expected to create this type of content in 2012 to further position themselves as industry thought leaders.

A report from the Custom Content Council and ContentWise relayed by eMarketer found that digital content marketing grew in 2011 with website articles and email newsletters, among other content types, becoming more popular. Among the primary motivations for increased content investment was the desire to build brand thought leadership, and white paper marketing became more frequently used as a result, the study found

Thirty-eight percent of organizations relying on the web for content marketing created white papers to demonstrate their authority in their industries. Moreover, these in-depth lengthier pieces are commonly used to help prospects learn more about a company’s products and their ability to add value.

In the last three years, white paper marketing has maintained steady growth. Twenty-three percent of organizations included in the study used white paper marketing in 2009. The figure blossomed to 30 percent in 2010 before swelling to 38 percent in 2011.

While the survey shows that companies using white papers already are unlikely to invest more in the format, it’s likely that more organizations will begin creating white papers in 2012.

Brafton recently reported that many using content marketing are actively looking to outsource a portion of their content creation. With white papers often requiring in-depth research and extensive time investment, 17 percent said they will use third-party agencies to generate their white papers.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.