Why you should be writing whitepapers
A whitepaper is a report that informs readers about a complex issue or specific topic and then presents a solution or an original analysis. Whitepapers are probably the best content marketing tool that you're not using. And here's why.
Writing a whitepaper demonstrates your industry expertise and highlights how your products or services offer real-world value or solutions.
Good whitepapers outline practical measures that help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. And that decision could include buying a product, subscribing to a service, or forming a mutually beneficial relationship with an industry partner, i.e. you and your company.
Who reads whitepapers?
A HubSpot report found that IT managers don't just read whitepapers; they love whitepapers. On average, IT managers at small companies and large professional services firms read around 50 whitepapers a year; that's almost one per week.
And they're not reading whitepapers just for fun or to learn about the latest technology trends. IT managers share whitepapers that impress them. They regularly pass the best whitepapers onto their colleagues, sending them up and down the decision-making chain.
A separate study by Forbes asked IT managers and other senior executives to explain their rationale behind getting nose-deep in all the latest industry whitepapers. The study showed that:
● 76% read whitepapers to stay on top of the latest trends.
● 69% use whitepapers to source new information about products and vendors.
● 50% think whitepapers are a great way to compare products and services.
● 42% say whitepapers justify their purchasing decisions.
● 33% use whitepapers to develop a shortlist of vendors, clients, or potential partners.
Writing whitepapers works.
And by work, we mean they increase lead generation, boost sales, and raise your company profile. In other words, writing whitepapers does everything that every type of business wants to do more of.
How to write whitepapers
So you've decided to start writing whitepapers. Smart move. You're about to super-boost your content strategy, and it's only a matter of time until you're an established name in industry thought leadership. And wouldn't that feel nice? The only thing you have to do now is write those whitepapers.
Here are a few tips on how to get started:
Focus on your reader:
Identify your ideal customer and target audience, then write for them, i.e. what topics interest them? What pain points can you massage? What is the one thing you can do that they need?
Write for humans:
Whitepapers are formal documents, but that doesn't mean you have to talk in a dead robot voice. Make them easy to read. Use simple, everyday language and avoid jargon unless absolutely necessary. Inject a little bit of personality and address your readers directly when appropriate. Readability is just as important as content.
Make it look good:
Most humans don't get excited by long paragraphs of dense text. Use short, sharp paragraphs instead. They keep readers engaged. And add images and infographics, they make whitepapers more visually appealing and provide additional content and authority to the text.
Speak with authority:
Don't tell your readers things; show them. Back up your analysis with data, facts, real-world examples, and exclusive quotes from industry experts.
What's your point?:
Pick your subject matter, then stick to it. A good whitepaper is laser-focused on a specific problem or industry trend. It outlines a problem, provides context, and then offers a solution or original conclusion.
Don't write a book:
There's no set word limit for a whitepaper. But, generally speaking, aim for somewhere around 5,000 words. If you can say everything in less than a few thousand words, go for it. Focus on impact, not word count.
Promote your whitepaper:
If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one there to hear it, does it still make a sound? Who knows? Who cares? But a whitepaper without readers isn't worth the paper it's written on. Blogs, email nurture campaigns, webinars, Google Ads, and press releases in industry publications and sites are just a few ways to get your whitepaper out into the world, where it can make some real noise.
Who should write your whitepaper?
Whitepapers are lengthy, detailed, and authoritative documents that require weeks (and sometimes months) of research. Then there's writing, editing, and proofreading. It's a serious piece of work.
Right now, you probably haven't got enough time for a mid-morning coffee break. So how will you squeeze the time to write a whitepaper into your busy (i.e. borderline manic) schedule? Give up sleep? Mainline caffeine? Clone yourself and lock your (hopefully not evil) double in a secret basement office until the paper is finished?
They all seem like reasonable ideas to today's time-starved business leaders. Thankfully, you don't have to do anything quite so drastic.
The answer is easy: get someone else to do it for you.
We specialise in technical writing for complex niches, supporting clients short of the time or resources to do it in-house.
Our content writing is fast, affordable, scalable, and comes with unlimited revisions and a satisfaction guarantee. We'll work with you to develop topics relevant to your audience and then write up your content in five days.
Click here to find out more about our content writing services.