White Papers

Ten secrets of effective white paper writing

By May 24, 2011 March 8th, 2013 No Comments

Here’s the skinny that W2M white paper writers have spent years in the field learning . . . enjoy!

1) Write tight.

According to MarketingSherpa (2006), 6-10 pages is about the right length for your white paper topic. Research from Stelzner says the same.

2) Integrate online.

MarketingSherpa research shows that 69% of prospects who download and like your white paper will actively pass it along to their colleagues. 36% of total downloads will be passed on to a supervisor.

3) Syndicate.

White paper syndication means  posting your white paper to white paper distribution sites (a service Write2Market can take care of for you). For syndication sites with extensive networks, ask to be spotlighted on the most available sites. It pays to orchestrate the dates when your paper will appear so you’re promoted on as many sites as possible at the same time (even if it means not being on all the exact sites you wanted).

Why? The more downloads you can get all at once, the greater the likelihood your white paper will make the top 50 list that week. Once you’re in the top 50, it snowballs: other partner sites notice you, making it easier to sustain your ranking.For syndication sites with extensive networks, ask to be spotlighted on the most available sites. It pays to orchestrate the dates when your whitepaper will appear so you’re promoted on as many sites as possible at the same time (even if it means not being on all the exact sites you wanted).

4) Podcast it too.

After all, you have the script. According to KnowledgeStorm research, 41% of survey respondents from their registered user base of business and technology professionals (3,900 respondents) have downloaded podcasts at least a few times. Of those who have downloaded podcasts, 65% indicated they have used them for business and personal reasons.

The key finding for white paper marketers and writers? A whopping 60% said white papers and analyst reports would be more interesting as podcasts.  Write2Market and many other firms can help you produce a professional podcast and distribute it

5) Advertise.

Use e-newsletters and pay per click to drive traffic to your white paper. As quoted in MarketingSherpa, “We’ve found that a well-written white paper offer will drive click-through rates on newsletter ads sky high–often three to five times higher than the click-through rate for an offer without a white paper,” says IndustryWeek’s Madej.

6) Format smart.

Put your company contact information on every page as part of the standard header or footer. Don’t assume they’ll skim to the first or last page to contact you. What if one page makes it to the CEO? White paper writers take note: make sure they have your most relevant information.

7) Be tactical.

Let the reader know what they’ll learn from reading the white paper. Write2Market white paper writers often start with a brief “you’ll learn this . . .” section right after the title. A section like that promises prospects that sticking it out for the six to ten pages will be worth their time, by promising them real information and answers to real questions.

8) Write a separate white paper summary for search engines.

Sure, you’re posting your paper online (aren’t you?). So write a separate summary using the best key word for your paper, and use that summary for search engine marketing.

9) Hire an expert white paper writer.

Of course, you expected this would be Write2Market’s position . . . but there’s good reasons why. We write white papers. You run your business. We can interview you and obtain a great knowledge transfer, so you have the ideal white paper with minimal interruption in your busy schedule. On the other hand, it took us years to become white paper experts. How valuable is your time? According to Stelzner, the most experienced white paper writers charge between $5,000 and $7,500 per paper.

10) Hire a graphic designer.

If you don’t have design in house, Write2Market can connect you with designers that understand the white paper must look clean and download well online, while also being readable as a printed document (which is still how most white papers are ultimately read). Great white paper design leads the prospect through the information, graphs, charts, and data in an expert way, so the information you want the reader to get is actually “gotten.” Otherwise, substandard design can bury your message and make it unreachable, even if it is otherwise excellent.

Ready for more? View a sample technology industry white paper.

[intlink id=”124″ type=”page”]Contact [/intlink]Write2Market today about your white paper marketing at 404-419-6677 x 100.