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Why Businesses Create Downloadable White Papers

What a white paper is, what it includes, and why you might benefit from creating one.

What is a white paper?

A white paper is a research or report guide that influences the reader towards making a positive decision towards your company. Blogger Amy Xiong writes, “They [white papers] are considered to be the most influential form of business collateral, and 76% of people have used white papers as part of their decision making efforts.” 

What does an audience-first white paper include?

First, and importantly, a white paper should not include a sales pitch for your company. White papers are not meant to be ads or direct pitches; they are intended to provide value to the audience.

However, your white paper should include these three things:

  1. A topic related to your industry
  2. Research on the topic cited from reputable sources
  3. Quality content that will establish you as an industry expert

Why create a white paper at all? 

There are four main reasons you need to create a white paper:

  1. Add value to potential and existing customers through education
  2. Generate leads and capture email addresses
  3. Build credibility

In fact, a survey of IT managers by Forbes.com and TechTarget showed that they read white papers for the following reasons:

  • Stay on top of new trends (76%)
  • Get information about products and vendors (69%)
  • Compare products (50%)
  • Help justify buying decisions (42%)
  • Develop a short list of qualified vendors (33%).

But why make a white paper downloadable? 

To make it easy for your audience! A downloadable white paper helps your audience access it easily. They can save or share it as needed. A PDF extends your white paper’s scope to being an easy-to-share piece of your valuable knowledge.

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