Whitepapers—long-form content assets designed to educate and inform readers on a specific subject—are great tools for naturally generating better quality leads, increasing site traffic and improving awareness as a recognizable and credible brand.
In my experience, however, too many companies don’t emphasize whitepapers nearly as much as they should. Perhaps they lack the time it takes to produce these more in-depth reports. If they don’t have the time, they may not have enough funds in their marketing budget to allocate whitepaper creation to a third-party resource or skilled freelance writer.
Here are eight quick reasons why whitepaper creation should be a must within your organization:
- Your competition is creating whitepapers: I love how Chief Ideation Officer at CODA Concepts, Angela Stringfellow describes whitepapers as “the unsexy marketing tool customers can’t resist.” Whitepapers may seem boring, but when asked which content marketing tactics they currently use, 71 percent of B2B marketers reported producing whitepapers.
- Whitepapers are one of today’s most effective marketing tactics: When asked how effective each content marketing tactic is for their organization, 63 percent of B2B marketers ranked whitepapers as effective. Overall, it was ranked the fourth most effective tactic above eNewsletters, blogs and videos.
- You can build them up or break them down: Whitepapers are unique in that you can build off of them as well as deconstruct them. For example, a technology whitepaper on the topic of software-defined networking can be broken down into a multi-part blog series that all link back to that specific whitepaper. In doing so, you’ll increase the visibility of that whitepaper and continue to bolster your brand awareness. You can also take that whitepaper, add some fancy visuals and republish it online as an eBook. All in all, one whitepaper can go a long way for your marketing strategy and budget.
- Whitepapers make excellent selling tools: Whitepapers can be a great tool to utilize throughout the sales cycle. These information-rich assets can equip sales people with the right knowledge at the right time to help educate a new lead or close a deal. In fact, 72 percent of customers have read whitepapers as a way to help them during their purchasing decision, saying they were “extremely helpful,” according to a 2011 IDG survey. Whitepapers can also be useful as a training tool for new sales people.
- Whitepapers help positively promote one’s brand: Whitepapers are considered premium content and, as such, are highly valued by customers. Finding a good whitepaper isn’t easy, so when a customer stumbles across a well-written whitepaper offered by your company, your brand receives the benefits of increased loyalty as a trusted subject matter expert.
- Whitepapers are visual: Any piece of content that is visual will always have a greater impact on customers. As a more in-depth report, whitepapers often come with charts, graphs and other stimulating visuals that make them more well-received (and shared) by readers/customers.
- Whitepapers are fantastic for B2B lead generation: Research from CMO Council shows whitepapers to be one of today’s best types of content for B2B lead generation, used by 78 percent of B2B marketers.
So, are you ready to get started on your whitepaper strategy? Whether that means doubling your current number of whitepapers per year or creating your very first by the end of this year, do your company a favor and hop to it.