Want to generate more leads? Need an e-reputation lever? Your prospect file is getting out of hand? The white paper is here for you!
«Your website should be 100% focused on signing upYour website should be 100% focused on registering foreigners giving you permission to offer them your marketing) – Seth Godin.
Yet how many of the first-time visitors to your website contact you? How much do you leave their contact details? Very few, I guess. However, they are likely to have an interest in your business.
What good is having a website, if it does not retain visitors? What are your SEO efforts for, if you can not make prospects?
A white paper is a lever to get visitors to your website into your sales funnel. At the heart of content marketing BtoB, it values your expertise through premium content targeted perfectly.
After a quick review of the benefits of writing a white paper, discover the best tips to boost the ROI.
Why waste time writing a white paper?
Writing a white paper takes time and effort. Nevertheless, this B-to-B content has many advantages besides being able to have an excellent ROI:
- Increase the conversion rate by operating a sales lever,
- Feed your leads (lead nurturing),
- Maintain the link with visitors to your site,
- Bring back some of the traffic to your website,
- Get the details of visitors to your website,
- Develop a file of new prospects,
- Position yourself as an expert in your field,
- Promote your knowledge and skills,
- Provide premium content to share on social media,
- Stimulate organic traffic to your website by getting more links,
- Connect to your audience,
- Retain your customers thanks to a content of excellence,
- Reinforce your brand image,
- Reinforce your credibility, your notoriety and your e-reputation,
But first and foremost, you have to write a white paper because it's simply "the most effective content," as Ludovic Salenne, founder of the SLN Web agency, says.
But, without further ado, here are 8 tips for writing the best white paper ever written.
1 # Determine a strategic ambition for your white paper
A white paper does not think of itself in isolation. It's part of a B2B marketing strategy, and more specifically a content marketing and / or inbound marketing plan. Also it represents an action among all that includes your strategy, beside your articles of blog of company, emailing, social marketing … Do not forget to work the complementarity with the other types of contents which you offer.
The white paper aims to get a visitor to your website into your sales funnel and move it forward. Because almost no visitor to your site will buy during its first visit, you must "proceed to nurturing marketing", as specified by Guilhem Bertholet, co-founder of the agency of content marketing Invox in "The art of White Book ". It's about providing content to prospects throughout the business process. This corresponds to a lead nurturing process and lead scoring.
A white paper must meet several goals that will influence its design. Do not you want this premium content to generate new qualified leads, boost your expert rating or boost customer loyalty? Up to you !
2 # Identify the breads of your targets
In view of the objectives you want to give to your white paper, you will visualize your B2B target audience. Logically, you already know him well. These are your customers and prospects. Maybe even have you already drawn your buyer personas?
Who are your buyer personas? These are 4 or 5 customer profiles that correspond to your product lines, according to Gabriel Dabi-Schwebel, associate director and founder of the agency 1min30. Each must be named and described according to a set of criteria: function, schooling, responsibilities, working conditions … The personality, the interests and the breads of each buyer persona are then to be specified.
Defining your buyer personas correctly is crucial. Why ? To fly with your B-to-B content by meeting the needs and expectations of your targets. Your target audience is having difficulty, asking questions or needs your help. In which domain ? Your expertise will be of great help in a white paper.
Depending on what they expect, determine which topic interests them. What premium content will your target readers download? What theme will answer their loaves? What content of excellence will generate an ROI? In this way, you will determine the problem of your white paper.
As a reminder, the problem is the synthesis, usually in the form of a sentence, of the presentation of a problem under different aspects. It is therefore more of a set of interrelated problems than a particular problem. Its resolution calls for several partial answers.
When you produce a content of excellence, its real quality is really revealed with regard to the target concerned. That's why you have to aim right! If you are targeting prospects who have no knowledge of the subject, your white paper must remain affordable to everyone, adopt a very didactic tone and include many explanatory parentheses.
Conversely, if you talk to experts, have no restraint! Spread advantageously your knowledge without complex. But try to make your premium content accessible to those who want to know more. Incorporate a lexicon or small insets to make regular points and lose no one.
If you are looking to attract leaders directly, introduce the most interesting arguments directly. You can punctuate your content with references to profitability or the benefit of companies, for example, in connection with the subject of your white paper. In any case, speak the language of your buyer, as James Anderson explains on Top Rank Blog.
3 # Hang with an explicit, intriguing and compelling title
As with any type of marketing content, the title of a white paper must capture the attention. In a few words, he must say a lot! It must be clear enough on the content of the white paper to interest the right targets.
The title also has to be honest about what the white paper will contain. So, not outrageously outrageous! But still copywriter to pique the attention. It must convince the distracted and eager visitors of your website to download your B-to-B content, against their personal data. It must arouse interest, arouse curiosity or challenge.
The title must present very convincingly the promise of premium content. The most effective titles are those which suggest that no other content will be needed in addition. These are the ones who present themselves as complete guides.
Here are some ideas to explore:
- "The ultimate guide to …",
- "Everything you always wanted to know about …",
- "The secrets of …",
- "X good reasons to …",
- "How to succeed …",
- "The success kit of …",
- "X steps for",
- "Improve your performance with …",
The originality of a title is also a track to explore. Do not hesitate to use a figure of speech to arouse emotion. This is all the more interesting for technical and austere content. Take the opposite direction, use irony or incorporate a metaphor.
4 # Establish a simple, detailed and attractive plan
The success of a white paper depends very directly on what your targets will perceive from your B-to-B content as soon as it is downloaded. They must immediately want to read it. Also the plan is essential to generate an ROI.
What is an effective summary? It must simply offer a logical progression towards your answer to the problem. It must be very easily understandable by your targets. Its length must be related to that of the white paper, while being read quickly at a glance.
How to write a white paper plan? Take again the problematic and unroll your reasoning. Each part of your development must advance your thinking, as explained by Frédéric Canevet on his blog Marketing Tips. Titles must be copywritten, like white paper. The plan should be explicit enough about what you are about to address and at the same time engage readers.
The typical structure of a white paper is this:
- introduction and / or problematic,
- presentation of the company.
It is rather very general as format. It's up to you to adapt to your strategy and your subject.
5 # Offer unique, consistent and premium content
To collect all the necessary content, a literature search is required. It is often very interesting to interview an expert on the subject in question. It will provide hyper-interesting, but too technical, information that will then need to be translated for the general public.
It is also very informative to read reviews of feature articles, ebooks and other relevant publications that exist on the subject. They highlight the expectations of readers and the defects of the existing. You will also see the vocabulary used by people interested in the theme of your white paper.
The content on the web and the white papers are so numerous that you may wonder what to propose. Difficult when everything has been written to stand out. However, there is always room for the contents of excellence, those that you will build with your own expertise. To stand out, you must always produce premium content.
The blog Contently writes about it: "Your white paper is […] an opportunity to create an image of expertise and insight that will help your readers. […] You need to give them something of value, and you can only (Your white paper […] is an opportunity to create an image of expertise and insight that will help your readers. […] You have to give them something that is valuable, and you can only do that by filling in your white paper with helpful tips and information. "
How to build premium content? You must aspire to be authoritative in the field by supporting your speech. "Make sure you mention previous authoritative work on the subject. Your mission is not only the expert in the field – it's the latest expert on freshest insights. (Be sure to mention the work that has previously been authoritative on the subject. Your mission is not to be the only expert in the field – it's to be the latest expert with the freshest ideas.), As John McTigue of Kuno Creative aptly states in his excellent article on Hubspot.
And the ideal length of a white paper? That which makes it possible to answer the problematic posed by correctly highlighting your expertise of the subject. Some say between 10 and 20 pages, others between 30 and 50 pages. It all depends on your subject (and your budget)!
Nevertheless, we must make sure that the white paper is more consistent than a blog article. I think 10 pages is very little. To give you an idea of the length that this represents: this article is over 14 pages long! Remains that on a specific point, a specific angle or a pointed subject, it remains possible. As for the maximum length, you have to wonder about the opportunity to split the content into several white papers to perhaps capture more prospects and the ability of your targets to read a long document.
6 # Quietly talking and dressing your business
A B2B white paper is not promotional content. Do not be self-centered to promote your products and services if you want to make them premium content. But he must keep your fingerprint and mark the spirits of the seal of your business.
The custom is that you can present your company in an insert for example. But do not make pages! Write down your coordinates as well. Leave your name and / or logo at the bottom of the page or in the header, in addition to the cover. Do not overdo it!
A good white paper is a content of excellence that knows how to expertly sprinkle your expertise. "The white paper is not a flashing billboard. Do not say what you can do, show! As Caroline Groutars points out on the Writing for the Web blog. It is at this level that you must indirectly speak about yourself.
The concrete cases that you treat every day are interesting examples to put forward. Illustrating your remarks, they testify to your competence discreetly, but surely. They value you without falling into the promotion.
The other great virtue of the examples is to further enable your readers to feel concerned by the subject treated in the white paper. Your examples highlight customer issues that will necessarily speak to readers. Thus they gently lead them to project in relation with your company.
You also have to make sure that your B-to-B content reaches its goal. Your ROI is linked to it. What do you want your reader to do once he reads your white paper? Finish it with a call-to-action in the conclusion. It will make clear to the reader what you expect from him. "If prospects come out convinced of reading, they must be able to immediately contact the company or register for your service", as specified in the blog Pellerin Training.
7 # Present a pro and nice design
For the credibility of your white paper, the presentation of the document is essential. It must return a good image of your company. Quality B-to-B content is not austere. It must be pleasant to read, ventilated and perfectly illustrated.
Even if your subject is complex and technical (or rather, especially if it is), the visuals and examples make it accessible. A simple case or a pretty pie chart can sometimes be heard so much faster than a whole paragraph of intricate and convoluted explanations.
The important thing is to maintain the reader's attention. Varying the type of content makes it easier to remember. Illustrations catch the eye, like insets of different colors. Know how to play the layout.
How to decorate a B2B white paper? Include visuals, images, graphics, graphics, diagrams … If your images, graphics and photos are poorly formatted, you will ruin your work. Layout software like InDesign is the top in the field, but advanced use of good word processing software can provide excellent rendering.
The cover page must be particularly well thought out. It is usually this one that serves as a preview. If you invest in a beautiful, high-quality, unique photo or in a custom graphic, you show your audience the value you give to your white paper. You enhance your brand image and give much more authority to your premium content.
Also offer different levels of reading in your white paper. How? By integrating abstracts, highlighting certain words or phrases, presenting a very detailed plan. Always keep in mind that the majority of your readers will not read everything from A to Z when you download your white paper. Also encourage them by proposing to facilitate their reading.
As for the question that burns the lips of the number of columns, I would say that it is a matter of taste. Personally, I find that two columns give a better image, something really accomplished. A column can also be appreciated. On the other hand, beyond two columns, there is a significant loss of readability. We must think that the white paper will be read on tablet, or even on smartphone.
Do not overdo it either! Keeping a simple design allows you to leave all your content to your B2B content, which is the most important, right? Just make a good choice of colors and fonts.
8 # Encourage the download of the white paper
To boost his ROI, it is necessary to wet the jersey! You have a content of excellence, as much as trying to make the most of people. Once you have written your white paper, your work does not stop there. We must find the right levers to encourage download and promote it, as for any marketing content.
Often forgotten, the call-to-action to download the white paper is fundamental. Have not you noticed that almost all B2B sites have exactly the same wording? And what emotion does CTA cause you to "download the white paper"? No doubt, no doubt! You will tell me that it's better than nothing, that it's clear at least or that since it's free … But it's a shame to have made such a great white paper and not to accompany it until at the end to capture the visitors.
But then, how to write a good call-to-action? Returning to the breads of your target. Find the catchphrase that shows that your white paper has not only fully pinpointed their issues, but also answers them in detail.
To be connected, it is obvious that if your white paper is so fabulous, and it is, it must be given the necessary space with a nice pop-up or, better, a landing page, and not just a small inset in your sidebar.
To showcase your CTA, create a great presentation of your white paper. Include a summary, or even a summary, so that people know what he is talking about. Explain to them why it is important to them. It is also very relevant to add reader comments.
How to organize your argument? To boost the download of your white paper, Neil Patel proposes to write your text as follows:
- Approach the pain point of your target,
- Overcoming his objections,
- Provide real utility to solve his breads,
- Promote your offer,
- Directly interpellate your target.
And regarding the download form? Typically, integrate a form field or two. It must be simple to get the coordinates of people. The design must be uncluttered to avoid distractions and help your visitors get straight to the point.
But beyond the generality, your reflection on the appropriate form is twofold. On the one hand, it must provide you with enough information about who downloads your premium content to generate new leads. Sometimes, asking for more information limits the number of downloads, but improves the quality of the leads.
On the other hand, the information provided must be relevant to the importance of your white paper. A small white paper of 10 pages on an old subject can not be obtained with a form of 10 fields.
The reflection can also be reversed. If you want to generate hyper-qualified prospects by getting a lot of information about them, you have to offer a white paper of very high quality.
To get a B2B white paper, the classic case is to request an email. But it is also possible to offer to activate a social account. Neil Patel explains that with the social authentication of Facebook, he has, a few years ago, increased his registration rate by 36.1%. He also proposes to get the white paper against sending a tweet.
You also need to promote your offsite white paper. Because if you only rely on your website, you will be limited by the traffic it generates. By making a beautiful promo off site, you will develop traffic on your own site.
A white paper is a very good product to put forward in an advertisement (Facebook …). In addition to this lever, Mitt Ray, American white papers specialist, offers several ways to launch a white paper: write articles on your blog highlighting the white paper, write guest articles, solicit opinions, integrate guest articles of experts on your blog, send an email to subscribers of your blog …
Here are some tips for a white paper that puts the spotlight. Tell me in comment if you feel that with this article you are better equipped to write a tearing white paper.