A white paper is a short report, usually no more than 10 to 12 pages in length, that describes the attributes of a new product, a solution to a problem or a new technological process. As a content marketing tool, its purpose is to engage the reader and motivate him to take some action without making a blatant sales pitch. By providing them useful information, buyers will be motivated to become customers. As you complete your white paper, your challenge is to publish and market it to reach your intended audience.
While you prepare the final draft of your white paper, take the time to edit and proofread it carefully. Better yet, have a professional copy editor who is familiar with the white paper format do the task. Your readers are likely to be educated and knowledgeable in their field. If your work has typos and misspellings, you will lose the credibility you were hoping to gain. Publish your paper as a pdf document. This will make it easier for a reader to print it, making sharing more likely. A pdf document also provides some protection against theft of material.
Pre-marketing Your White Paper
Just as a book publisher would do, you should start your marketing in advance of the release of your white paper. You need to prepare your “landing page,” the website or blog where you will release your white paper, so you can announce it to all of your contacts. According to a study in Website magazine, most people visit a blog only once. You want to be certain that one visit -- if that's all there is -- occurs on the day of your release. If you are blogging, include an announcement of your white paper in every post, including the publication date and the address of your landing page.
If you know others who blog with a similar interest, ask them if you can do a guest post on their blog. People's attention spans are short, so post your guest blogs on the days leading up to and on the day of your publication. If you know an expert in the field, ask him for a guest post on your blog. This may lead some of his followers to your blog where they will see news of your soon-to-be-published white paper. A post by an expert guest will also add to your credibility. Ask the expert to review an advanced copy of your work. Then you can include his comments with the announcement of your white paper.
Marketing with Social Media
The social media are natural tools to promote your white paper, and by providing links between them, you can compound their effectiveness. On LinkedIn you can share updates with your connections and group members. You can also use LinkedIn's Pulse feature to publish your white paper. (Look for the pencil icon in the status update box on your home page.) Shoot a video with important talking points and post it on YouTube, then imbed the YouTube video in LinkedIn and Facebook. Make your Facebook and Twitter posts informative, but do not directly promote your product. Take advantage of Google Analytics to monitor and improve your Internet marketing.
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