Whitepapers and Guides

Whitepapers play an important role in any content marketing strategy. But if you want to achieve maximum engagement and build your brand’s authority, there are several things to be aware of.

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How to build authority with whitepapers and guides

Research by the Content Marketing Institute found that whitepapers are one of the B2B content assets that produce the best results, along with short articles and blog posts, virtual events and webinars, and research reports. So, if you want to build your brand’s reputation as a credible source of information and thought leadership, it’s time to make whitepapers part of your digital marketing strategy. 

What are whitepapers and guides?

A whitepaper refers to an in-depth report or guide that focuses on a specific topic and educates the reader to help them solve issues or make decisions. Whitepapers are typically gated content, meaning the reader must share their email address and accept the necessary cookies before they can download the asset. They play an important role in B2B marketing.

Key features that distinguish whitepapers from other forms of content include that they are generally longer, contain extensive references and aim to educate and promote specific ideas.

Who are they written for?

Whitepapers are written for a general B2B audience who are seeking information about a particular subject. The audience could be long-term customers seeking deeper industry insights or prospective buyers who are new to the field. Whitepaper writing requires you to reflect on the pain points and interests of your target audience and to highlight gaps in the market that you can fill.

How long is a whitepaper?

As long-form documents that present large amounts of information, whitepapers are generally between 2,500 and 5,000 words. They go more in-depth than other digital assets like blog posts, which tend to be much shorter (typically 500 to 2,000 words).

What can whitepapers and guides offer?

Whether you want to produce a topic-specific ultimate guide with actionable tips and tricks or a market research document that provides in-depth statistics and analysis  – there’s no limit to what whitepapers can offer readers. There are three main types of whitepaper: 

  • Backgrounders: Detail technical features of a product or service and are created to simplify complex information 
  • Numbered lists: Highlight key features or concepts about a product, service or industry topic 
  • Problem/solution papers: Identify problems customers may face and offer solutions

What is the goal of the whitepaper in content marketing?

There are many reasons content marketers may choose to create a whitepaper. Common goals include: 

  • Generating leads as the reader can access the whitepaper in exchange for their email address 
  • Building trust by providing a credible source of information or solving a problem 
  • Increasing sales by influencing buyer behaviour through authoritative content

Creating whitepapers that boost lead generation and build authority

If you want to make whitepaper content marketing part of your lead generation strategy, it’s important to have a good idea about what it takes to succeed. 

Essential components of a whitepaper

There are several crucial features an effective whitepaper should have. These include: 

  1. An attention-grabbing title to get the reader’s attention
  2. Thoroughly researched content with references to credible sources
  3. An enticing cover page and design that captures the reader’s interest 
  4. Plenty of imagery to break up the text and make the content more engaging 
  5. An easy to read font  
  6. A consistent colour scheme that creates cohesion
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Format and structure your whitepaper for maximum impact

There are several structural elements a whitepaper should have to enhance readability. Before you can start writing, you’ll need to prepare an outline which should include:

  • Title
  • Abstract 
  • Introduction
  • Section subheadings
  • Footnotes 
  • Conclusion

Have a look at what’s trending

If you want to ensure your whitepaper appeals to your audience it’s a good idea to look at what’s trending in your industry. With so much content available online, it’s important to ensure your whitepaper offers unique value to your audience. Look to your competitors to see what they’re writing about and try to find different angles to offer a unique perspective or solution that’ll set you apart. 

What to avoid in whitepaper marketing

Whitepapers can play an important role in enhancing a digital marketing campaign. However, there are several things you should avoid to ensure the content you create engages your audience and achieves the desired results.

Being overly salesy

A whitepaper isn’t a sales brochure, and although increasing leads and sales may be the final goal it’s important that you don’t come across this way and end up putting your audience off. Instead, the whitepaper should be valuable to your readers and help them to deepen their understanding of a given topic.

Untrustworthy sources

One of the main goals of a whitepaper is to build authority and establish trust with your audience. Make sure you thoroughly check your sources to avoid spreading misinformation.

Dry content

As they are a type of long-form content, avoid using too much jargon and ensure text is broken up with plenty of imagery to keep readers engaged.

How to promote your whitepaper 

Once it’s all written and packaged nicely, it’s time to promote your whitepaper. There are many ways to do this. Here are a few ideas:

  • Spread the word on your different social media platforms 
  • Link to your whitepaper in a relevant blog post
  • Share it as part of your email marketing strategy 
  • Create an optimised landing page
  • Add popups to relevant pages on your website
  • Include the whitepaper in your link-building strategy with multiple websites

You can measure the success of your whitepaper by tracking various metrics such as the number of downloads, social shares and SEO rank with a tool like Google Analytics. 

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What are the benefits of whitepaper marketing?

If you’re a seasoned content marketer, you’re probably aware of the numerous advantages of whitepaper marketing. If you’re not, here’s a quick overview:

  • Demand generation and lead generation
  • Establish your company’s authority
  • Increase engagement and brand awareness 
  • Build out your email lists with potential customers and qualified leads

Ready to start building your authority with whitepaper marketing? 

If you’re not sure where to start with making whitepapers a part of your content marketing strategy, you might want to consider bringing in the professionals. 

Here at Axonn, we are a team of experienced content marketers, strategists and graphic designers who can help you create whitepapers that convert leads, build brand awareness and boost your reputation. From concept ideation to whitepaper writing and design – we know how to create and promote whitepapers for maximum impact. Our full range of digital marketing services has you covered for anything else you might need, too.