White Papers: What Are They and Why Should I Use Them?

A white paper is a report that explains a problem in depth and then offers a solution. If you offer products and services to business owners, white papers are a great way to explain your solutions to your audience. They work especially well for complicated issues that require some measure of education for the buyer to understand.

The Purpose of a White Paper

A white paper is not an excuse to include tons of sales hype or puffery. Instead a white paper should be useful and valuable to the consumer by itself. The white paper should:

* Identity a problem – Describe the problem the target audience has in great detail to demonstrate your understanding of the problem. Use case studies and other examples to get your points across.

* Describe various solutions – Give examples of various solutions and their drawbacks, along with your solution and why it’s better. Give concrete examples and not sales puffery.

* Back up your assertions – Using real data and research to back up your facts will make your white paper more impressive and give it credibility.

If you stick to that formula when you develop your white paper, you’ll do well. Insert case studies, images, graphs, and other points of interest to highlight the facts better. The white paper needs to focus on the problems and solutions and how your solution is the one that works the best. Show this by describing the drawbacks to the other solutions and how your product or service fills the gaps the other ones leave.

Advantages of White Papers

In addition to educating your audience, white papers have a lot of advantages such as:

* Collects leads – Ask for an email address and other information in exchange for downloading the white paper and you’ll collect a lot of information from interested parties.

* Establishes expertise – Writing a white paper is a process that helps you look like a real expert, as white papers are often used in education and government.

* Proves credibility – Having a way to show all the facts about the problem and the solutions will make you look more credible.

* It’s “evergreen” – Most content doesn’t have a very good shelf life. But, a well-researched and informative white paper can last for years with minor changes when your products or services are updated.

* A good way to reuse content – If you already have a lot of informative blog posts, you can reuse it inside the white paper. Conversely, all the research you gather during the creation of the white paper can be used elsewhere too.

* They’re cost effective – Word for word a white paper isn’t any more expensive to create or have created than other types of content. Plus the ROI is high.

* They are good SEO – Long form content is good for search engine optimization. Even if this particular content is something that will be downloaded, it will help your website look more professional.

* They’re great link bait – If your white paper is especially well written and has a lot of good information, other people will share the information.

It’s clear that using white papers to market your business is beneficial. It’s time to get started on creating your white paper to improve your subscriptions and establish your expertise.

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