Value Vs Price
Marketers today are facing an increasingly high resistance to traditional advertising and sales methods. Clients, especially the B2B segment, are looking far beyond technical specification, product catalogues, and quality certificates. They are not looking for price, they seek value.
What this means for marketers is that they must employ smarter communication techniques that help position them as problem solvers, innovators, disruptors, and thought leaders. This warrants a content-driven approach, and white papers are an ideal content marketing tool for a B2B audience.
What is a White Paper?
In the simplest of terms, a white paper is a publication that presents a problem and provides a possible solution. The goal of a white paper is to educate the audience about the capabilities of a specific product, process, or methodology, to solve technical or strategic challenges.
A white paper, unlike a promotional pitch, is used by marketers to solve their customers’ needs by providing them with information about research, trials, and breakthroughs.
Commissioning and publishing white papers is a highly impactful and time-tested B2B content strategy, and is becoming increasingly popular with businesses across domains.
More About the Purpose of a White Paper
A white paper is mainly used to promote a company’s service, product, or methodology to customers or to other businesses. It is used to inform and apprise the reader that the service or product being offered is most likely to meet their needs.
Apart from that, it is used to influence the decisions of current and prospective customer base. Since it relies on facts and evidence, it differs from other marketing materials such as brochures or case studies. That is why, in a B2B space, white papers are addressed to key influencers, consultants, opinion leaders, thought leaders, and those involved in strategic decision making.
Types of White Papers
White papers can be categorized into three broad categories
- The Backgrounder
A backgrounder is a type of white paper which provides the customer with the technical evaluations of a service or product. It explains the product in a simplistic manner. It includes details about its key features and benefits. This kind of white paper is easier to research and write, because it has a simple structure. It is an ideal medium to apprise analysts, partners, and team members about a new service, product, or process.
- The Numbered List
The numbered list is the most popular, probably because it is the fastest to read. It provides information to the reader in bite-sized points, which proves to be useful. Companies use numbered lists because they convey their offering in an easy, concise method. But while it is efficient, it is also considered as superficial (with regards to providing information) and overused.
- The Problem/Solution
A Problem/Solution type white paper uses facts and logic to inform and persuade the reader about the idea or offering. It is ideal for showcasing the capabilities of a new product or service. This format is best suited for marketing technology-driven B2B solutions. While this form of white paper takes more time to research, it is a white paper in the true sense of the term. This can help you educate prospects, build leadership, create a buzz, invite discussions, and eventually generate more sales.
How to Write a White Paper
Since a white paper is a strategic content marketing piece, it is essential to put a lot of thought to the writing process. When writing a white paper, you must keep it short and concise, while also conveying sufficient information about your subject.
Since a white paper caters to a niche target audience, it can have a fair amount of technical terms, illustrations, infographics, examples, use cases, diagrams, and other content forms. It is expected that white papers carry well-researched and referenced material, and proven data points. A comprehensive list of references, and a standard boiler-plate content (about the publisher) are essential inclusions.
At LexiConn, we have co-created white papers for some of the top tech and banking companies in the business. Our in-house SMEs work seamlessly with the client to develop business-appropriate, customized, and impactful white papers. We interview stakeholders, engage external experts, and also assist graphic designers to develop appropriate visuals and infographics.
Write to us, to share your white paper requirements. You will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly things can get moving.