What are White Papers and Should I Use Them?

Let me start with the definition of a white paper. It is actually a detailed report about a problem with in-depth analysis of the problem and then offers a solution. If your business involves offering services and products to other business owners, then white papers might be the ideal way to explain the solutions offered by you and your company to the audience. The benefits of white papers really come to the fore if the issues are quite complicated and you need to also educate the buyer about the problem to help understand the true perspective.

Purpose of a White paper

Never think of white paper as a report with tons of data about sales hype and puffery. Rather a white paper should be useful and helpful to the user in its own right. Ideally a good white paper has the following characteristics:

* Identifying the problem – Write in depth about the problem that the target users of the white paper are facing because it will demonstrate your grasp of the subject. Make extensive use of case studies and other descriptive examples to elaborate your point.

* Elaborate different solutions – Explain in detail different solutions and pros and cons of each. Discuss why the solution you offer is the best one. Support your claim with solid examples and not just word puffery.

* Back up your claims – No one takes hollow claims seriously in the long run. Support your claims with uptodate research and real data because these will add credibility to your white paper and make it impressive and convincing.

If you follow the above guidelines while developing your white paper, you will be surely nailing it. Make the facts stand out by using graphs, images, and case studies etc. The focus of the white paper should be on the problem, possible solutions and how the one solution you are offering is the best one. Highlight the drawbacks present in other solutions and how your service or product ideally bridges those gaps that other leave wide open.

Advantages of white paper

There are other advantages of white paper too other than educating your audience. Some of these are described below:

* Collecting leads – it is possible to collect valuable email addresses of audience and other information exchange for free download of the whitepaper and you can build a targeted list.

* Demonstrates expertise – By writing a white paper, you will be stamping an authority status for yourself ┬ábecause white papers are extensively used in government and education.

* Gives credibility – By giving all the facts and solutions of a problem in detail, you will give yourself a lot of credibility in your niche.

* Evergreen concept – Most of the content that is being created has a limited shelf life because of the currency issue. On the other hand, a detailed, informative and well-researched white paper will remain current for many years to come and you can keep it current forever by making regular minor changes as your services and products evolve.

* Good for reusing content – If your blog or website has already got a lot of informative posts, you can make use of these in the development of white paper. And conversely speaking, the information you gather during developing a white paper can be used for other purposes too.

* Good for SEO – Search engines love long form content. Even if you offer that content as a download only, it will add a strong element of professionalism to your website.

* Cost effective – A white paper is cost effective because it does not cost more than creating any other content for your website. But given, the higher ROI, it is highly recommended.

* Excellent link bait – If you pull of a well written white paper that is full of great information, you will get valuable SEO links as other people share your content.

There is no doubt that making use of white paper for marketing your services or business is quite beneficial. Now is the time to get started with creating your white paper, increasing your optins and branding yourself as an expert in your niche.

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