How To Write an Exceptional White Paper for Your B2B Brand

Every step of a white paper wants to assist your reader to make an knowledgeable choice.

It should match your advertising challenges, be structured to generate leads, deal with your audience, outline the scope, current proof, supply a conclusion, and comprise an efficient name to motion. Then it wants a confirmed argument and a logical construction to carry collectively.

Too many entrepreneurs skip some – or all – of those steps. How are you able to be certain that your white paper is one which your prospects will flip to time and time once more?

Here are seven steps to making a white paper that draws consideration and influences readers.

1. Pick the suitable sort

Choosing the sort based mostly in your audience is one of the best ways to match your white paper along with your advertising objectives. Gordon Graham, writer of White Papers for Dummies, has written over 300 white papers for firms like Google and Verizon.

Choose the most suitable white paper type based on your target audience, says @WhitePaperGuy via @SarahLParkerUK @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

He says that, basically, there are three forms of white papers:

  • Problem-solution
  • Numbered listing or listicle
  • Product backgrounder

Let’s have a look at how every of those sorts works:

Problem-solution white papers generate leads

“(These white papers are) the most powerful for generating fresh leads at the start of the customer journey because prospects will Google their problem, not your product name,” Gordon says.

The problem-solution sort permits you to stroll via the drawbacks, limitations, unintended penalties, and tradeoffs of conventional options. For instance, contemplate this white paper from Kinaxis, How CIOs Can Improve Supply Chain Management. It particulars 4 limitations of legacy planning, equivalent to unsophisticated forecasts.

Kinaxis focuses on enterprise and technical limitations to point out it understands the trade. This helps consumers evaluate and distinction alternate options.

Numbered lists or listicles get consideration and nurture prospects

Numbered lists current a set of points, factors, questions, or ideas. “The listicle is best for engaging or re-engaging a prospect in the middle of their customer journey,” Gordon explains.

For instance, this white paper from officemorph, 13 Mistakes to Avoid When Building Out Your Next Office, runs via frequent errors to solid doubt on various options and specify the perfect choice standards. For instance, mistake one is bidding out the mission.

Product backgrounders help a product launch or analysis

“This type goes into the features and benefits of a specific offering, and that’s fine as long as you don’t put it in front of prospects too early in their journey before they want it. Then, it’s just a sales pitch,” Gordon says.

This instance from Explorance, Analyzing Student Comments in Online Course Evaluations with Blue Text Analytics, particulars the issue and technical benefits of a particular manufacturing resolution to assist the reader. In this excerpt, the corporate addresses the problem of inputting open-ended feedback by defining them, explaining the way it’s gathered, and detailing the advantages it gives.

In one of these white paper, you design it to match your objectives. “See how that works? And why you have to use the right type at the right point in the customer journey?” Gordon says.

“So when you find a product-focused white paper, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They’re easier to do. But they will flop at lead-gen or engagement if that’s the only type a company ever does.”

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2. Structure it to generate leads

white paper follows a construction. Brian Boys, writer of How to Write a White Paper in One Day, has greater than 25 years of expertise writing white papers.

“It’s not just having a detailed outline before you start writing – that’s important. But it’s knowing exactly how each part of the white paper functions in sequence,” he says. “The job of each section is to convince the reader on a particular point and then compel them to read the next section.”

The job of each section in a white paper is to convince the reader on a particular point and then compel them to read the next section, says @BrianBoys via @SarahLParkerUK @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Kinaxis follows a reasonably typical white paper construction for How CIOs Can Improve Supply Chain Management. Look carefully and see it:

  • Covers market drivers contributing to the reader’s drawback
  • Scopes an issue occurring when the answer is just not used
  • Provides a historic overview reviewing conventional options
  • Identifies a advisable resolution however by no means mentions an organization or product identify
  • Includes the advantages related to the reader’s drawback
  • Creates a guidelines of what to look for within the new resolution
  • Introduces a name to motion to maneuver the reader to the subsequent step

Though Kinaxis selected to not write about its resolution, Citrix does this properly in Think Beyond File Storage to Accelerate Business Efficiency. It explains how its ShareFile and Right Signature merchandise give entry to all recordsdata via a single, safe portal, give management over knowledge sprawl, automate workflows, increase productiveness, make the most of versatile storage, and collect correct doc suggestions and approvals.

You may also use a generic instance or case research for example actual eventualities, as Shopkick does in its white paper, What Top CPG Brands Have To Teach Us About Successful Product Launches. For instance, a part of the white paper features a case research about rethinking conventional retailer positioning, detailing the subject, going behind the scenes, and describing associated roadblocks.

“You must have a clear foundation and canvas to paint on,” says Sarah Greesonbach, founding father of the B2B Writing Institute.

“With a standard structure doing 60% of the work for you – organizing your notes, outlining your thoughts, providing a persuasive argument – then you can roll back on your heels and study the topic, crafting content that is the product of deep thought.”

With a standard white paper structure doing 60% of the work, you can roll back on your heels and study the topic, says @B2BWritingInst via @SarahLParkerUK @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

3. Craft an attention-grabbing title

If selecting essentially the most related white paper sort is one of the best ways to influence readers, then crafting a strong title is the way you compel them to learn it.

This is some extent that Robert Bly, writer of The Copywriter’s Handbook, has been writing about for 4 a long time. “Strong titles can help you gain the reader’s attention, select the audience, communicate an important message, and draw the prospect into your white paper,” he says.

Strong titles can help you gain the reader’s attention, select the audience, communicate an important message, and draw the prospect into your white paper, says @Robertbly via @SarahLParkerUK @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For instance, Gartner crafted a extremely particular headline for its white paper (gated), What Midsize Enterprise CIOs Need to Know About Composable ERP:

It identifies the perfect reader (CIOs), the goal market (midsize enterprise), and the topic (composable ERP). Then the viewers is propelled into a way of urgency by a name to motion that sits within the current tense (have to know).

Although Gartner’s title doesn’t flag advantages or outcomes, it creates curiosity to tug the reader into the content material. CIOs will wish to discover out what it’s that they “need to know” to help their enterprise. They are drawn to the content material to fulfill their curiosity.

If your goal reader doesn’t discover any relevance in your title after a couple of seconds, they’ll transfer on, regardless of how beneficial your white paper.

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4. Write a persuasive govt abstract

Once you’ve your reader’s consideration, an govt abstract is the way you assist them to acknowledge their drawback in order that they’ll resolve it.

Rachel Foster, CEO of Fresh Perspective Copywriting, has spent years writing white papers to assist B2B know-how entrepreneurs generate high-quality leads. She says, “The two most common executive summaries used in white papers are the preview and the synopsis.”

Provide a teaser preview

“It often discusses the market drivers and challenges that make the topic relevant,” Rachel says. “Then, it hints at what the reader will learn without giving away the bulk of the content.”

For instance, contemplate this preview govt abstract in Simply NUC’s white paper (not accessible on-line), Will a Mini PC Give You the Power You Need to Run Your Organization?  It walks top-of-the-funnel readers via the market context (want to extend productiveness), the issue (inefficient computer systems), its implications for companies (energy-wasting), and guarantees an answer (mini PCs).

Publish a synopsis

“A synopsis provides an overview of the white paper’s content, including the recommended solution,” Rachel explains. This works higher for bottom-of-the-funnel audiences as a result of they’re prepared to purchase.

This instance from one other Simply NUC white paper (gated), How to Empower Your Employee Workforce and Boost Business Efficiencies with Intel® NUC, particulars the argument – from market context to the answer and outcomes.

Take the time to border your alternative of govt abstract inside your viewers’s context, particularly given the tempo of change in advertising.

“I used to prefer preview summaries, as I didn’t want to give everything away,” Rachel says. “I now feel that the summary should provide key information upfront. If you withhold the most important information for later in the white paper, a large percentage of your audience may not read it.”

It’s a mistake to withhold the most important information until later in the white paper, a large percentage of your audience may not read it, says @B2BTechCopy via @SarahLParkerUK @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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5. Present info and proof

A robust white paper convinces your viewers with info and proof drawn from credible sources. Susan LaPoint, founding father of Focal Point Content, has spent a long time as a author, editor, and content material marketer. “When collecting evidence for a white paper, I find it useful to think like a journalist,” she says. “This means doing the research first to get a big picture view of the facts. Then I see how it relates to the story I’m telling.”

Find evidence for your white paper that reinforces the story you’re telling, says @SusanLaPoint via @SarahLParkerUK @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

To persuade your reader, be certain that the proof is compelling. “Citing credible sources is key. I start by looking for original research – meaning from well-known research firms and publications,” Susan says. “You establish trust by including reliable data, as well as case studies and quotes from industry experts.”

Consider this white paper, Unlock the Agile Workspace from Six Degrees, which highlights key statistics and leverages trade sources and analysts such because the TUC, Gartner, PWC, and Deloitte. This picture particulars the references used within the white paper with titles and hyperlinks.

You can discover reliable sources by:

  • Using trade journals, main analysts, and analysis stories
  • Searching authoritative trade websites for your matter key phrases
  • Creating an inventory of sources that present one of the best knowledge that you just refer to every time you write a white paper
  • Using analysis model names as key phrases equivalent to “Gartner” or “IDC” to Google search for your matter to shortly find gated knowledge in press releases

White papers are created to teach readers, so constructing belief by utilizing current analysis is greatest. Within the previous two years is an effective benchmark for fast-paced industries. “Trust is how you build your case and influence your reader to act,” Susan says.

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6. Offer a conclusion

Once you’ve made your argument, take into consideration what your key message is.

Sarah Mitchell, co-founder at Typeset, is an skilled white paper author and content material marketer. She says the objective of a white paper is to assist your readers make an knowledgeable choice.

“If you’ve written persuasively throughout your white paper, the logical conclusion for the reader will be the exact product or service you offer,” Sarah says.

For instance, Acquire’s white paper How Geoscience Data Can Shape the Future of Mining (gated) places ahead a conclusion that locations its resolution on the coronary heart of the reader’s success. It explains how early adopters are well-placed for the way forward for mining and concludes by inviting the reader to ship an e-mail for extra data and to schedule a gathering to debate their knowledge assortment surroundings and the way they’ll profit from this resolution.

This conclusion speaks to the reader’s ache level –  maintaining tempo with market change – and provides a basic enterprise case for the shift to built-in knowledge seize.

Writing a conclusion that speaks on to your goal reader’s wants and motivations will increase your possibilities of influencing them. “This is your opportunity to explicitly show your readers why your company is the smart choice by tying your offering back to the business case you’ve made,” Sarah says.

Use your white paper’s conclusion to explicitly show your readers why your company is the smart choice by tying your offering back to the business case you’ve made, says @SarahMitchellOz via @SarahLParkerUK @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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7. Include a name to motion

To give your white paper one of the best likelihood of transferring the reader to the subsequent step within the gross sales cycle, embody a CTA.

Barry Feldman, founding father of Feldman Creative, has 25 years of expertise writing highly effective lead magnets. “Put some thought into offering a clear and practical CTA at the conclusion of your white paper – or even within its pages,” he says.

“Often, a white paper is going to be a top-of-the-funnel piece,” Barry explains. “And, though it’s probably crafted to position your organization as an expert in its field, it’s also likely it was created to put readers on the path to resolving a specific challenge.”

Here are a couple of examples of CTAs that make it simple for the reader to take the subsequent step:

  • Connect with an knowledgeable
  • Complete an utility
  • Watch a video
  • Read a analysis report

You have to base your CTA on the readers’ wants and motivations. What motion do they should take to realize their objective? What is the profit to them? How do they get began?

Look at this CTA from Leadsquared (gated):

It identifies an motion (schedule a free demo), an answer (patient-first platform), and the product or firm (LeadSquared). Disclosing the demo is free and reduces friction.

The secret to a profitable white paper CTA is to place the client first. “As with all content, don’t be pushy. Be eager to address your reader’s pain point and be generous with your advice,” Barry says.

The secret to a successful white paper CTA is to not be pushy. Instead, address your reader’s pain point and be generous with your advice, says @FeldmanCreative via @SarahLParkerUK @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

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Will your white paper succeed?

Not solely can a white paper allow you to so as to add worth to your reader – and subtly determine options that gained’t – it is also a strong addition to your content material advertising technique. A white paper can develop into the one useful resource that has the most important affect on an group’s shopping for choice as it’s forwarded from stakeholder to stakeholder.

For entrepreneurs who wish to set up significant thought management that generates leads, a white paper is one of the best ways to draw and affect an viewers.

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Cover picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute