This is a guest post by Mitt Ray.
A white paper is a cross between a magazine article and a corporate brochure. They posses both the educative qualities of a magazine article and the persuasive qualities of a brochure, this educative and persuasive quality of a white paper makes it one of the most powerful marketing tools. As it first educates the reader, builds trust and then and only then does it market the service or the product to the reader.
White papers were first used only by companies that sold expensive and technical products or document translation services, but nowadays they’re being effectively used by small business and bloggers, not only to generate leads directly, but to also generate emails for newsletters.
How Bloggers Can Use White Papers
Bloggers can use white papers for various purposes including the following.
1. To build a mailing list. When you start a blog you need to work on building a mailing list. Through your mailing list, you can stay in touch with your readers, build relationships with them and eventually generate leads. Your newsletters can also help increase the number of repeat visits to your blog, as on average a blog only receives 20% of repeat visits.
Usually it can be hard to get people to sign up to your mailing list, but with a white paper, this will become a lot easier. If you share good content, day after day on your blog, people will want to read your white paper, as they will want to know what new information they can receive after reading the white paper. When you ask them for their email addresses, they will feel that they will receive something better than the other content that is present on the blog and they will readily give you their email addresses.
A company doing really well with white papers and newsletters is Hubspot. If you visit their Marketing Resources page you will find scores of white papers and guides you can download for free just by leaving a few details about yourself. They use these emails to send you information their latest guides, white papers, webinars and offers.
2. To directly generate leads. White papers are mainly written to directly generate leads from them. Well written white papers have a higher reader to client conversion rate than any other content or direct marketing material, as they educate the client, build a trustworthy relationship and then sell the product or service to the reader. In the white paper the blogger can share secrets they have never shared on their blog before.
A white paper can help spread your expertise in your niche, which a regular blog post wouldn’t. Another advantage of having a white paper is that it is continuous. If your white paper is well written, the reader will want to finish reading it completely and they can either print them or download them onto their e-readers and read them whenever they want to.
If you want to generate leads from your white paper always make sure that your white paper is unique and your white paper’s topic is completely relevant to the topics you blog on.
3. To increase traffic to your website. You can provide links in your white paper which lead to posts on your blog. When you see topics in your white paper, which are relevant to some of your blog posts, you can provide links in your white paper which lead directly to them. You can also use a link shortenter like bit.ly to shorten your links before adding them as this will help you track the clicks on your links.
Adding links will not only increase traffic to your website, but will also make your white paper easy to understand, as the links to blog posts included in your white paper, will help explain complicated terms in your white paper better.
How Bloggers Can Create White Papers
Bloggers have two options for creating white papers: they can either start creating them from scratch or they can create them from their existing blog posts.
Create White Papers From Scratch
Creating white papers from scratch is the most common way in which white papers are crafted, here extensive research is done to know more about the target audience and to find out more about the subject, the market and the product/service, then the structure is determined and finally the white paper is written.
Create White Papers From Blog Posts
If you have a blog with many good posts, you should be able to easily create many good white papers from these posts. As you already know all about your target audience (if you write good posts for your target audience on a regular basis, you need to know all about them) you can skip straight ahead and create the structure.
White Paper Format
After you have chosen your white paper topic and the posts you plan to use in creating your white paper, you can start structuring your white paper. Creating a structure will make it really easy to write your white paper.
A basic white paper structure should include the following.
- Headline: A basic white paper starts with a headline which is followed by a sub-headline. The jobs of the headline and the sub-headline are to attract attention and let the reader know what this white paper contains.
- Introduction: After the headline comes the introduction. The role of the introduction is to summarize the contents of the white paper and let the reader know the benefits of reading the white paper. Make sure you let them know what your white paper is about and how they can find it useful. Don’t give away everything about your white paper here, just a little information which can convince them to read the rest of the white paper should be enough.
- Problems: In every good white paper the problems are discussed in detail, to let the reader know more about the problems they are facing, so that they will look forward to the solutions you provide. The problems section is written after the introduction. First a basic introduction is written and then each and every problem is discussed in detail.
- Solutions: If you write a good problems section then the solutions section that follows it will have a powerful affect on your reader. The solutions section should be written in a similar way to the problems section. Here you start out with an introduction and then discuss all the solutions to the problems in detail.
- Blog Info: The white paper should finally end with your blog, business, product, and/or service information explaining how you can provide a solution to similar problems detailed in your white paper.
Writing Your White Paper
Once you have created your white paper structure, you can start writing your white paper right away. All you will need to do is figure out what part of your blog posts goes into which part of the structure you have designed.
If you look into every blog post you choose, you will normally find that each of these blog posts describes a solution in detail. You need to pick out this solution and the problem associated with it and write about it in detail.
In the problems section of the white paper, you can write about the problems which would have the solutions which were discussed in your blog posts in detail and in the solution section of the white paper, you can just write the solutions discussed in your blog posts.
After you finish writing these two parts of the white paper you can write your white paper introduction at the beginning of your white paper and then the company and product/service information at the end of your white paper.
If you follow the above tips you should be able to create a white paper that provides all the benefits which were discussed at the beginning of this post with your white paper.
Have you ever created a white paper? What other tips would you offer for creating one that is beneficial for your blog or business?