Think white papers have faded into the grey? Think Again!
Called the “cornerstone report” in business industries, often highlighting benchmark moments in our industrial and financial evolution over the years, white papers have been around for the better part of the twentieth century and despite a few misconceptions they are in fact still in demand.
Why? Simple! There is just no better way to present well researched, in-depth information.
Intriguingly enough, there are many forms in which a white paper can be presented, ranging from a business report released in the Sunday newspaper right through to the ever-familiar online version.
There is no doubt that everyone has read a white paper in some form or another at least once, whether they realized it or not.
They can sneak up on you, you know. This is the very reason why white papers are still so valuable and effective.
They continue to serve several important sales and marketing functions within our business sectors, including generating new leads, increasing company profiles as an informed professional, and setting brands apart from competitors by enhancing what is provided in quality and knowledge alike.
In recent years, statistics were released showing that up to 51% of companies still rely on content through white papers to research their buying decisions. 96% of consumers want content with input from industry thought leaders, instead of the run of the mill information or jargon one sometimes finds.
So, before you join the crowd in chanting that white papers are on the outs, consider a few points that go quite a way in explaining why and how white papers are still being used today.
Well-researched and authoritative in a specific topic, these nifty reports make great incentives for users to convert to potential customers or clients on a specific website.
By requiring that interested customers provide their contact information in exchange for free and highly valuable content, you can build what is referred to as a “gate” around any content you are providing. Entry to this information is usually just requires a few seconds of the customer’s time.
Studies have shown that 76% of buyers are willing to register for and share personal information in exchange for white papers and the information they supply – 13% more than those who would do so in exchange for an ebook.
Simple right? This step could turn into a huge business opportunity for those companies who are quick with the follow-up and implementation.
One of the key attributes of white papers is that they are an effective means of generating leads within any business initiative. They are a tried and tested method of collecting information from customers and buyers.
White Papers Establish You as a Thought Leader
Marketing Insider Group defines thought leadership as “a type of content marketing where you tap into
the talent, experience, and passion inside your business, or from your community, to consistently answer the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience, on a particular topic.
It is through this that white papers show their true strength and value. Each topic is so thoroughly researched and professionally presented that one cannot help but feel deeply informed and motivated after reading one, because let’s face it knowledge is power after all.
White Papers Give You a Competitive Edge
If you want to put your company on the map, you need to find a way to set it apart from the competition. White papers allow you to achieve this.
While it is safe to assume that your competitors create content mainly for social media and engage in some sort of blogging and other means, studies show that it’s significantly less likely that they are creating white papers. This creates a perfect gap for you to step into. People love different.
Statistics from a survey AlterraGroup conducted show that white papers and ebooks ranked only fifth in B2B marketer’s most used content marketing vehicles. While most create social media content (83%) and blogs (80%), white papers and ebooks (65%) are only created by around two-thirds of B2B marketers.
As more businesses and curious consumers seek content and find value in it, the demand for white papers lives and thrives.
Creating a set standard of professionalism and knowledge has and always will be a winning formula. So the next time you find yourself in a debate about what type of content you should create next, perhaps you’ll spare a thought for the humble, but formidable white paper.