White papers are not new themselves, but they are fairly new as a content marketing technique. In fact, 68% find the papers useful for researching individual vendors, and 59% for creating a vendor short list. If you don't have a white paper writing company on your side, you're missing out on a huge chance to influence your potential customer. Here is how a white paper writing company can help your business (besides writing you a white paper or two, obviously):
If you put your white paper behind a form, where folks have to fill it out to download your white paper, then you can use the white paper to capture contact information and to generate leads. After all, that's the point of content marketing and white paper writing anyway, right? To generate leads! White papers are especially good for lead generation because if you know someone is downloading a white paper on a specific topic, you have a big clue as to that lead's need or pain point. It makes a great conversation starter when you get around to lead nurturing or to making that sales call.
Some make the mistake of having white papers available to download freely, no form required. Although that may be okay sometimes, for the most part it's a bad idea because you are leaving leads on the table.
Build Thought Leadership
A white paper is an authoritative report or guide helping readers to understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision. If you're not writing white paper to help your readers, audience and/or potential customers to understand issues, to solve their problems, and to make purchasing decisions, then someone else will. On top of that, close to one‐third (31%) of white paper readers consider the papers they read most often to be invaluable in making a purchase decision. So, not everyone may be reading your white paper. But, those that are reading them, are the ones that can make a difference in building thought leadership.
This is a crucial point if one of the barriers your business is facing is changing current behavior or mindset, or if the primary message for your audience is one that is contrary to what your business believes or promotes. This is something we are currently tackling with one of our clients, where we are writing white papers so as to present arguments and thought leadership that speak against current mindset and behavior in our client's industry.
More Mileage for Current Content
No one says that white papers have to be written from scratch. You can use previous content to create your white papers and to do the lead generation and the thought leadership we talked about. Use old blog posts to put a white paper together, or break down an eBook into several white papers. You can also use slideshow, webinar, or video content to create a white paper. Not everyone is going to see those old blog posts or that webinar, so offering the information in another form allows you to reach more people by providing more avenues to get the information (and providing the avenue that's preferable to a particular lead or reader).
Not convinced about white papers? Here's one last statistic for you:
69% of prospects who download and like your paper will actively pass it along to their colleagues. 36% of total downloads will be passed on to a supervisor (MarketingSherpa "Special Report: How to Syndicate Your White Paper Successfully — Comprehensive Directory of Syndicators — Part II").