A white paper usually features long-form content a business will use to encourage more qualified leads. Sometimes we also refer to it as gated content or an incentive, since it’s usually positioned as a free reward for submitting contact information through an online form.
Typically, a white paper should be a part of a company’s overall content marketing mix. Topics covered in white papers tend to be perceived as more valuable, timely, or interesting for the specific audience a company wants to engage with.“If you’re not currently using whitepapers to get the word out about your products or services, you’re missing out on these opportunities.” —Inc. Magazine
Of course, white papers don’t actually need to be white in color. The term has its origin from 1990s direct mail marketing — when a plain presentation would complement a fact-driven, logical business argument and help ascribe credibility to the publisher.
“White papers are excellent lead-generation tools. There are many types of white papers, such as technical and government white papers.However, the white paper designed to generate a lead is unique.” —Pragmatic Marketing
As a tool to encourage leads, white papers tend to serve both companies and prospects well. If someone is willing to volunteer their contact information — often an e-mail address or telephone number — it signals they value the gated content being offered and trust the company with their information. Likewise, if a business can package the right kind of information in a white paper, it tends to help qualify professionals as more valuable prospects for further communication.
Spark Creative has experience developing white papers for businesses in a range of industries. We can generate topic ideas, gather reputable data points, organize the research, outline structure into logical arguments, and massage drafts until ready for publication.
The targeted content in white papers can lend your company added credibility, authority, and helps position you a thought leader. “To revise the model for today’s environment, consider the white paper as the backbone of your content and a road map to engage and communicate about the unique value you bring.” —Content Marketing Institute
If you are looking for other gated content ideas, you may also want to consider an information graphic PDF. Lately, infographics have also become quite effective pieces of gated content because they often leverage useful information like statistics in a compact, visual format.
Spark Creative makes it easy to get started:
We’re prepared to help you jump on any topics that make sense to cover. We can also enhance your white papers or gated content with images, illustrations, and information graphics as needed.
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Sources may include:
If You Don’t Have a Whitepaper, Your Site Isn’t Reaching Its Potential, Stephan Aarstol, Inc. Magazine
6 Ways to Reach Top Decision Makers, Tom Searcy, Inc. Magazine
Your Prospects Love White Papers: Are you giving them what they want?, Michael Stelzner, Pragmatic Marketing
Why White Papers Still Matter: Their Role in Effective Content Marketing, Roanne Neuwirth, Content Marketing Institute