Designed to educate the market about a product or service, the white paper is a document that complements the selling process with authorotative facts crafted to inform the user and heighten their knowledge about the brand or organization. Some may say that the white paper could be swapped for more  flashy platforms such as video but theres arguably no better way to gain the trust of an audience than the use of this tried and tested format. With quality content and great design – a white paper can succeed in lead generation, heightened brand awareness and expert status.

Traditionally, white papers are often populated with informational content including data, facts and graphs (usually infographics) and is commonly available as a download to select customers/stakeholders or email promotion to a prospective client base. White papers positioned as premium, fact-based content often succeed in generating some of the most conversion prone leads due to the level of trust being built with the user.

Companies that find success with white papers usually sell prospects on the contents of it as if it was a valuable product the prospect would normally pay for. The white paper in of itself is not a tool designed to sell prospects but rather inform and suggest, leading to conversion.

  • The subject should be specific and tailored to the audience being targeted. Ensure extensive research is done and that the organization perspective can be backed up by the facts needed to support the material.
  • To be successful, the content must be useful and even surprising to the reader, causing them to engage further.
  • The reader should ideally walk away thinking that they’ve learned something valuable and they can use the white paper to make a purchase decision.
  • The key to accomplishing this is the content combined with strong and clear communication.

Additionally, white papers tend to be highly shareable if they contain valuable, useful or groundbreaking content. Based on the trust aspect built through factual, backed-up content, users want to share the knowledge – giving them the feeling that they are sharing content that will offer tips, tools and resources to help them in their life, solve common problems or discover new products for their specific needs.

Distribution is key to the success of a white paper. Building a strategy as one would launch a product to the market is a good way to approach a white paper launch. Since most users will be directed to a download page, it important to focus on the design and content of the interface, making it as easy as possible for the user to engage. Think about the use of a microsite or separate campaign page to expand promotional opportunities. Designed, targeted and distributed properly – the white paper can be an invaluable tool to establish a brand or organization as a leader in their market opening up vast opportunities for market share expansion.