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White Papers: What Are They and Why Does Your Content Strategy Require Them?

David Bosley

If content marketing isn’t a critical part of your digital marketing strategy, you’re making a huge mistake. Content marketing drives more leads than outbound marketing at less than half of the cost. One often overlooked piece of content marketing is the white paper.

A white paper is a long-form informational document that can come in several forms. A white paper may include case studies, reports, or read like an extended blog post. Since they’re long-form and stuffed with useful information, white papers aren’t for the casual audience. They’re for somebody who is actively looking to gather information and research on their own.

Creating a great white paper is simple. Start off by thinking about the biggest, most important questions that your audience has. Then answer it with as many facts and as much information as you can. Organize your content into an article or report that’s about one to six pages long, and you have a white paper. If your content turns out to be longer than that, you probably have an eBook on your hands.

Putting together white papers does take time and effort, especially if you’re not already used to producing long-form content. However, there’s no doubt that they’re worth the investment. Here are four important reasons that white papers need to be a key part of your content and digital marketing strategies:

1. Generates Lots of Conversions

White papers are one of the most effective conversion tools you have at your disposal. They’re aimed at an audience further down in the sales funnel and stuffed with the most important information they need to make an informed decision. Including an effective and compelling CTA at the end of your white paper combines this bevy of information with a reason to act quickly, thus driving conversions.

Driving conversions are one of the most important benefits of creating an effective white paper.

2. Provides an Effective Carrot

White papers are also an effective tool to help you build up the top of your sales funnel, too. Your very best white papers can be placed behind simple lead generation walls. People who are eager enough to read several pages on a specific topic should have no problem providing their name, telephone number, or email address. If you have multiple white papers, you’ll also be able to tell instantly exactly what a prospect is interested in by looking at what content they’re downloading. Using white papers as bait to draw people into your marketing lists will help grow the size of your lists very quickly.

3. Positions You as an Industry Leader

White papers hold more clout than a blog article or social media post does. They’re well-researched, well-organized, and contain information you usually can’t find anywhere else. Having a library of valuable white papers proves that you’re a company with something worth paying attention to. Prospects will hold you in higher regard and this helps set you apart from your competition.

4. Offers You Plenty of Insight

The process of brainstorming and creating a white paper helps solidify the knowledge you’re trying to impart. Often, simply writing everything down and organizing it will help you learn the topic better and discover new insights. Additionally, you’ll be able to gauge the popularity of your various white paper to see what topics your audience truly cares about the most.

For another great strategy to help make your content marketing and overall digital strategy more effective, take a look at our article ‘What is Content Curation and How Can it Maximize Your SEO Efforts?’.