When looking into ways to boost your business and marketing, you may have heard of the term “whitepaper.” In old school terms, this is a legislative document and commonly used in politics. When it comes to web content and sales writing, it is very different. Getting to grips with this type of writing is essential if you want to use it.
What Is Whitepaper In New Writing Terms?
The basic point of a whitepaper is that it is something that explains a new idea or piece of technology. It is a persuasive report that is often in full depth and an authoritative piece on the project or topic at hand. It’s very much like a report, where there is a problem and a solution offered to the readers.
It does become a popular marketing tool, because of the ability to offer a solution. Marketers are able to focus on the reasons why someone needs their product or service, by focusing on the problem they currently face. They then explain their offering and will then be able to sell without it seeming forced upon the reader.
The reader feels like the company understands their needs a lot more. Their problems are spelled out, with solutions offered. While they may be focused on that particular company, the individuals get to learn more about the products and how they help specifically for their problems; rather than a general sell.
It’s really important to watch out being too sales-like with your whitepaper writing. This isn’t a product pitch or a chance to really give that hard sell. The people reading it aren’t going to be interested in that. They want a solution to their problems, especially a research-based solution. If you can offer evidence on why your product or service is so helpful to them, include it in this.
Collecting Email Addresses for Future Contact
Another benefit of a whitepaper is that it is possible for companies to collect email addresses for their lists. This allows businesses to stay in touch with those who have read the whitepaper in the future, allowing them a more direct and personalized sales approach.
Individuals are going to be more open to sales content when they have built up a relationship with the marketer. One of the most effective ways of building this relationship is through email marketing. People have even willingly given their email addresses, so they will likely even expect the contact.
What Should a Whitepaper Look Like?
There are no industry standards to consider, but there are certain expectations with those who are used to this type of web content. When considering the political whitepapers, people expect these to be more like reports rather than traditional blog posts, articles or small eBooks.
Having at least six pages of content, with charts, references and illustrations will really help to set the tone. This offers an easier look at the figures and makes it clear that there has been some research into this. Up to 50 pages seems to be the norm for most in-depth publications.
A table of contents is normal, along with a summary and introduction. You want to make it clear to your readers what they will learn from this and what they can expect to walk away with in the end. Short summaries are extremely useful, but you won’t see them all in whitepapers. The main focus should be on the educating of the reader, letting them know about the problem and hypothesizing some of the situations that arise and a solution that could be available. You can then go into the details about your company and product, exactly why you will help solve the problems.
These are publications for skimming, very much in the way blog writing and eBooks are. This type of marketing will have people reading in depth. They want to look at your research and will expect you to answer all their questions. The readers want to soak the information up, and if anything is left out, they will be left disappointed.
It’s worth remembering that this is a professional document by nature. Being for the web has not changed that. If you can’t offer well-researched information to your readers, you’ll want to look at other forms of marketing.
Trying to Take the Boredom Out
After reading that, you may view these as a boring piece of content for readers. The truth is that they can be educating and informative. In most cases, people aren’t reading them to be entertained in the same way that they are with other web writing. They’re reading them to learn more and find out what you as a business can offer them.
They allow you to go in depth with the research, and you can make them less boring by adding in graphs and illustrations. People also like to see the images, as it gives them the visual ability to take in the statistics, making it easier for some people to absorb all the information.
A whitepaper is certainly a useful tool for marketing. You can go into depth about the benefits of your product or service for a particular problem or issue. It’s also a useful tool for collecting email addresses of those who will be interested in your industry to help build a relationship with them in the future.