Now that you’ve gone almost-pro with most of the tools of your content marketing program, it’s time to master the art of creating white papers. They’re one of the most effective methods for getting contact information from your prospects, who are happy to turn over their email address in exchange for the valuable material you’re providing for free.
Plus, writing white paper content is an excellent way to show your vast knowledge about a particular topic, which earns the trust of your potential customers. Now that you’re aware of the benefits, you can probably use a few hints on what makes a white paper great.
Choose a topic that’s unique and hasn’t been covered by someone else.
It’s useless to write about a topic that’s already been done before, as that’s old news to most of your prospects. You need a unique sales proposition that makes your content unlike anything else available, especially in fields where so many subjects have already been covered. Take a topic that’s trending and narrow it down to something that’s never been explored in much detail. And always make sure you show how you’re solving a problem with your content.
Lay out your process before you begin writing white paper content.
Great white papers start with excellent organization, so devote some of your time to developing your writing process. Prepare a comprehensive outline, and then draft your introduction and conclusion. When you get to the meat of the piece, make sure you have proper flow of material that’s aligned with your goals and unique sales proposition. Once you’ve finished, wait a day or two before going back for edits. It helps to approach the revisions stage with a fresh mind. Pay close attention to details like spelling and grammar.
Stay professional with style and tone.
While you might approach your blog posts and social media casually, writing white paper content requires you to be professional and serious. Some of your readers will be considering making a purchase from you, so you need to make sure you hold yourself out as an expert that deserves their trust and respect. The design should also maintain a high level of professionalism, so avoid use of cutesy images and graphics.
Make your white paper the go-to guide on a relevant industry topic.
The best way to make your white paper an influential piece in the industry is to find a topic that feeds a need. If you’ve done your homework, you know your target audience and the problems they want to solve. Explore the chatter on social media and conduct searches to see what’s trending. There’s likely a lot of information already out there, so ignore that and move on. Figure out the niche where there’s a need, but your audience hasn’t found it yet.
Point out the value you can offer when writing white paper content.
This type of content isn’t meant to tout your company’s products and success; a white paper is an opportunity to showcase your expertise and provide information your readers need to solve problems. Give them value with thoughtful insight and useful tips that earn their trust, and you’ll increase the chances of them buying from you later.
Collaborate where possible to combine perspectives.
Writing a white paper can be a daunting process if you handle it all yourself, so consider bringing on a colleague to help you out. Not only do you share in the task, but you also add a fresh take on the topic you’re covering. Creativity flows more smoothly when you combine your viewpoints and provide additional sides of the story.
Don’t forget the promotion potential.
If one of your goals with the white paper is using it for marketing, get as much out of it as possible. This means branding it with your company’s logo, giving it a powerful front cover, and including your contact information at the end. You might even consider a press release to spread the word with media.
Of course, these tips on writing white paper content are only effective if you give them a try. Does this help get your creative juices flowing? How would you choose a topic? Give us your thoughts.