There are plenty of opportunities and channels for B2B brands to spread their message, and as a result, reach a wide audience. But to reach your target audience, i.e. the ones most likely to buy from your business, you’re going to need to think more strategically. B2B buyers want to see specialised content that answers their pain points.
If you’re a technology B2B company, this applies even more. Your solutions are likely to appeal to a niche audience with a particular group of pain points. And if your product is pretty technical, it will take a bit of explaining, with a word count that allows more wiggle room than a social media or blog post.
Whether you have a SaaS product, or blockchain ICO, whitepapers are an excellent way to spread awareness of how your solution addresses a commonly experienced industry challenge. They help answer prospects’ questions or ease their concerns, positioning your solution as the best in their minds. And most importantly, it’s a lead generation asset proven to produce results, with 71% of B2B buyers using whitepapers to inform their purchasing decisions.
What is a whitepaper?
Whatever your solution does, or however it answers your audience’s complex business problem, a whitepaper done right should cover it sufficiently. An influential, comprehensive, and reliable source on a specific topic, service, or product, it’s a nifty marketing trick to make your brand credible.
The structure of these can vary. Here are three classic ones:
- Problem >> Solution. These are a more sales-driven type, convincing prospects that your product or service is the only solution they have for their problem.
- Informational. These are descriptive – describing a new product or service in depth.
- Report-style. Closer to an academic style, these contain stats or research, with analysis on the relevant industry and how they’re affected by a particular topic.
Why should your B2B business use whitepapers?
We’ve explained it pretty well already, but let’s dive into exactly how a B2B whitepaper will support the buying journey for you and your prospects:
Whitepapers are a magnet for golden leads. Not only do they help you pre-qualify the leads (only people interested in your subject and experiencing the relevant pain points will read it), but if you gate them (and you really should), it will funnel these qualified leads into your email database, ready to be nurtured straight to a sale.
75% of B2B marketers have a goal of using content marketing to build credibility/trust. Even if they’re not ready to buy, readers of your whitepaper will appreciate the informational value you’re giving them. They will even begin to regard you as a trusted industry expert. Think about who you might trust as a thought leader. The likes of Deloitte, PwC, and McKinsey – they’re all prolific whitepaper sharers. If your current marketing goal is to build your B2B brand, it’s a great place to start.
Evergreen and repurposable content
Not only do they offer value to your target audience, but they can also give it back to you. Especially if you’re thinking about this as you write and design your whitepaper, you can optimise the content to be repurposed. Whether it’s smaller blogs on benefits and use cases or creating social media content, summary infographics, and explainer videos, whitepapers can churn out content for weeks.
The dos and don’ts of whitepaper creation
If you’ve got this far, you’re likely pretty keen to create your own whitepaper. But where to begin?
Of course, you can always ask us to help (wink wink), but we’re more than happy to share some handy dos and don’ts to get you started:
❌ DON’T make it too salesy
Nothing puts people off when they’ve invested their contact details like a marketing asset that looks like a marketing asset. As a B2B top-of-funnel marketing piece, the goal isn’t to push a sale; it’s to add real value and to help them understand that their urgent problem can be easily addressed – with your handy solution. Besides, you’ve already got their contact details – there’ll be a time and place to up the ante.
❌ DON’T skip the detail
Other than aggressive sales tactics, readers are likely to feel short-changed if their whitepaper actually comes up lacking. Scour the web to suss out what your competitors are talking about and what they should be talking about. Check on what questions your target audience is Googling using some SEO research. Pick the right topic and aim to add value where other content is missing the mark.
✅ DO use a fabulous headline
Remember that SEO research? Tailor your headline to directly answer your target audience’s questions. For example, suppose we were going to write a whitepaper about writing a whitepaper. In that case, our audience may have been searching: How do I use a whitepaper, and why are they so good for B2B content marketing? And then we might come up with a nifty title such as… How & Why To Use Whitepapers In B2B Content Marketing…
✅ DO think about a creative and coherent layout
It’s content marketing, but that doesn’t mean you should spew words across the page and put people off. Think about this as you write to make your own, your design team’s, and your readers’ lives much easier. Split it out into appropriate chunks, layered with highlighted stats, fun icons, and big pictures.
❌ DON’T forget about distribution
It’s no good creating an amazing whitepaper if nobody knows to read it! Build a smooth social media promotion strategy, using the best B2B marketing channels and repurposing to ensure people don’t miss it. Make sure your landing page is geared up to make downloading the whitepaper a no-brainer.
Whitepapers are your new best friend
They’re essential for demonstrating brand credibility and crucial to building trust with your audience. When written comprehensively, designed well, and distributed strategically, they’re the perfect lead magnet. It’s no wonder they’re such a popular B2B content marketing asset.
We’re seasoned whitepaper writers, especially when it comes to specialised tech solutions. If you’d like to discuss how Isoline can help you build your brand and generate leads, get in touch at [email protected].