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:
- A topic related to your industry
- Research on the topic cited from reputable sources
- 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:
- Add value to potential and existing customers through education
- Generate leads and capture email addresses
- 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.