White papers have been around for quite some time. They’ve gained their popularity from industries such as the political arena, where legislative documents were prepared to explain a solution to a political problem; or the tech industry, where whitepapers were used to explain a theory or the reasoning behind a new technology. However, more recently, marketing professionals have adapted to this form of content due to its many benefits. It’s been used as a means to capture and engage more audiences and ultimately generate more sales.
What are Whitepapers?
You may be asking, “What exactly are Whitepapers?” Well, the term Whitepaper varies based on the industry in which it is being used. But from a marketing perspective, the term Whitepaper is a means for businesses to capture audiences who are in search of the technical aspects of how a problem can be solved. More specifically, a Whitepaper is a way in which businesses inform, educate or otherwise provide a step-by-step breakdown of a solution to a problem in a very persuasive, yet authoritative manner (strategically using their product or service as a part of the solution.)
Whitepapers are typically an in-depth report on a specific topic that a particular target audience is interested in, as it relates to a problem that customers are trying to solve.
The idea is to show how the company’s product or service can be a part of the solution to the problem. This is done by skillfully integrating the functions of the product or service into the solution. However, it is critically important that this method is not done in a sales-like manner, as that method is not well embraced.
Marketers create Whitepapers to educate their audience about a particular issue or explain and promote a particular methodology. They're in essence, an advanced level problem-solving guide.
A Whitepaper is also a well-written, in-depth, formal document that is typically longer than six pages and includes all of the bells and whistles, such as charts, graphs, references and eye-catching illustrations.
A well put together Whitepaper also consist of a table of contents, an optional executive summary, and an introduction along with a sufficient amount of information that covers the problem, the solution, examples, and a conclusion.
Typically, Whitepapers are not sold but are given away for free in exchange for opting into a company’s online subscription. Marketers use this method because it is great for capturing leads and generating sales.
Some consider Whitepapers to be more academic in nature with respect to its level of content. However, because they are now used by businesses as a marketing strategy, its content provides readers with a large amount of information provided by experts that is solidified by references, statistics, research and relevant other facts.
As you can probably imagine, writing Whitepapers requires a lot of time and skills. Hiring a professional research writing company can make a huge difference and should be considered if you lack the time and skills to create your own professionally designed Whitepapers.
How Whitepapers are Used
In a sense, you can say that a Whitepaper is nothing more than a problem-solving document presented in a way that inconspicuously promotes a specific method that involves a business' product or service.
They are not however used as a sales pitch or as a means to directly promote a business' product or service, but to provide evidence, facts, statistics or other means to inform readers of a solution to a problem that they already have.
What Makes Whitepapers Useful
Whitepapers are useful for businesses because it is a way for them to provide audiences with information that they are seeking in a persuasive yet expert manner. It puts the business in a position as the expert which builds trust and credibility. It also suggests that when the reader is ready to have their problem solved that you'd be the company they should turn to.
Because most Whitepapers are given away and not sold, businesses should be careful to target the right audience to make sure this effort is worth their while. It is unnecessary to use this method to generate leads with the wrong targeted audience.
Whitepapers are a great way for business owners to provide useful information to potential customers while building credibility. It’s a win-win for all parties involved.