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Blog posts and social media marketing might drive significant leads to your sales funnel, but they can’t provide everything readers need to make major purchasing decisions. Enter white papers, which offer high-quality information designed to convert potential buyers into paying customers. Here’s everything you should know about buying white paper content that meets your needs.

What Is a White Paper?

A white paper is an authoritative document that comprehensively explores a topic or subject. More than just reporting about a subject, though, a white paper also discusses questions raised by the topic and offers solutions. White papers were traditionally associated with authoritative government reports but are now widely used by private businesses and community organizations as well.

White papers are designed to be highly informative, but they have a variety of lead generation uses too. Business-to-business (B2B) enterprises often use these documents to provide the level of detailed, professional information that their clients need to make investment and purchasing decisions. The types of white papers typically used for lead generation include case studies, reference guides and research reports.

You may wonder how blog posts or brochures differ from white papers. One of the easiest differences to spot is length. White papers tend to be lengthy, detailed documents. They also lack the casual, informal style that often marks blog posts and other on-site content. Think of a white paper as a way to make a serious proposition to potential buyers or investors. White papers give you an opportunity to show off your knowledge while asking, “Are you ready to invest?”

Knowing whether you’re looking at a white paper or e-book can be trickier. Remember that white papers set you up as an expert providing trusted advice generally used in the final stages of the sales process. E-books tend to be used earlier in the sales funnel to pique buyer interest and share a more general overview of your products and services.


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What Makes a Good White Paper?

what makes a good white paper


You know that not all blog posts and e-books are created equal. The same is true of white papers. A great white paper provides in-depth information, but it doesn’t bore your reader. It anticipates what questions potential buyers have. Then, it answers them with thorough, digestible information.
White papers have a number of distinctive features including:


  • A longer format than blog posts, with most white papers running at least six pages

  • Well-structured information that generally includes a table of contents, an introduction, descriptive headings and a strong conclusion

  • Dense, well-researched information that provides readers with detailed answers to all of their questions about a topic

  • A professional and authoritative writing style that inspires confidence in potential buyers

  • An easily downloadable format, such as PDF

Remember that a good white paper doesn’t leave its audience hanging. It answers all of the questions that it raises.

How to Write a White Paper

Writing a white paper might seem overwhelming. Breaking the process down into steps will make it more manageable. Read over these steps even if you’re planning to hire an author to write your white paper for you. To get the best results, you’ll need to provide basic information and resources to the freelancer you work with.

 

1
Identify audience needs and revisit buyer personas.
 
Before you can start writing a white paper, you have to consider what your audience needs. What stops potential buyers from purchasing your products? What concerns do your current customers have? What would you want to know if you were in the buyer’s position? Remember to keep buyer personas in mind, too. If your organization doesn’t use buyer personas, consider learning how to target your content to specific personas before writing a white paper.

 

2
Determine what problem your white paper needs to solve.
 
Once you know what your audience needs to make purchasing decisions, you can start thinking about the types of problems your white paper could solve. Remember that a white paper should be a deep dive into the topic. Don’t write a white paper to answer a question that can be thoroughly answered in an FAQ.

 

3
Start researching.
 
Next, it’s time to start researching. Find out what your competitors are saying about your topic or issue. Make sure that you have accurate, up-to-date statistics or data to include in your paper. The types of research sources you’ll use depend heavily on your industry. However, trade publications and professional organizations are a great place to start in most sectors.

 

4
Draft an outline to guide your writing.
 
The best white papers feature clear organization. One way to ensure that your white paper is well organized is to draft an outline before you start writing. Think of the different chapters or sections you’ll need to break the white paper into. Then, jot down notes about what information needs to be included in each section. Remember that your white paper should feature an introduction and conclusion, too.

 

5
Write a first draft.
 
You’ve done your research and outlined your white paper. Now, it’s time to do the actual work of writing the paper. Follow your outline, and make sure that you provide links to where you got your information. For example, if you’re quoting statistics released by a government agency, be sure to mention the name of the report, the date and the issuing agency.

 

6
Find appropriate graphics.
 
White papers are formal, text-rich documents, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include images. Choose graphics that illustrate your point or provide a detailed view of a product. You can also include graphs and charts that support the information in your white paper.

 

7
Ask your colleagues for feedback.
 
Getting peer feedback can be one of the hardest parts of the writing process. Remember, though, that having your colleagues look over your work is the best way to ensure that the information you’re presenting makes sense. If you work in a highly technical field, you may also want to ask friends outside of your industry to read the paper over to ensure it makes sense and is accessible.

 

8
Put the document in the appropriate format so that it can be shared online.
 
Remember that white papers are generally offered as a download in a PDF file. This is part of the reason they’re so effective as lead magnets. Instead of giving content away for free, you can ask potential customers to give you their contact information in exchange for access to the download.


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The Best White Paper Examples

Best white paper examples

Getting started on a white paper can be tough, but looking at examples of successful white papers can help guide the way. Here are some of the most effective white papers on the web.

 

1
The Arrival of Real-Time Bidding and What It Means for Media Buyers
 

Industry authority Google released this white paper to explain what real-time bidding is, why it’s used and how to do it. In its conclusion, the white paper explains how different Google technologies will help potential users make the most of real-time bidding opportunities.

 

2
Seizing the Digitalization Opportunity
 

Published by Siemens, this “insight paper” helps manufacturing, health care and infrastructure operations managers understand what technological options and opportunities are available. This white paper highlights how industries are already putting such innovations in place, giving it the feel of an in-depth case study.

 

3
13 Mistakes to Avoid When Building Out Your Next Office
 

This white paper from a construction management firm takes the form of a guide designed to help business managers and office executives anticipate issues with office builds. It offers insights that can be used both by the firm’s potential clients and by smaller business owners who won’t be able to work with a firm. This strategy helps the firm build a strong reputation within its local community.

White Papers and SEO

While white papers are used primarily to move potential buyers through the sales funnel, they can also be incorporated into your overall SEO strategy. To make the most of the SEO possibilities of your white papers, you should:


  • Use titles and headers that are keyword-rich.

  • Ask bloggers or influencers in your industry to share the link to your white paper on their own sites, which helps to create backlinks for your business.

  • Promote them on your own blog and social media profiles as white papers can attract significant traffic.

  • Create a meta description that uses optimized keywords.

  • Allow readers to easily click and jump to each section of the document if it’s an interactive white paper on your website as opposed to a download.

Buying White Paper Content vs. Writing it Yourself

buying white paper content

You know that you need a white paper, but you’re not sure if you should write it yourself or hire a professional. Remember to weigh your writing skills and time constraints when deciding if you should write your white paper.

The benefits of writing your own white paper include:


  • the ability to include highly technical information without explaining it to a third party,

  • total control over the process, and

  • monetary savings.

The drawbacks of writing your own white paper include:


  • potential difficulties adhering to SEO guidelines,

  • issues with overall writing quality, and

  • poor turnaround time.

Keep in mind that the longer you spend writing a white paper, the less time you’ll have to dedicate to essential business tasks. That’s why many enterprise leaders hire writers to complete white papers instead of trying to tackle them on their own.

Where to Buy White Paper Content

You’ve decided that you want to buy white paper content, but where do you turn? You have a number of choices when it comes to hiring an author to craft your white paper. You can:


  • Hire a freelancer in your local area with whom you can meet in person.

  • Contact a writing agency and ask to work with an author.

  • Create a job description and/or content brief and order your white paper through a platform such as Textbroker.

Working directly with a freelancer in your area can be a great option if you already know someone. If you don’t know any writers, though, finding a qualified author could eat up more time than you can afford. Hiring an independent freelance writer also means spending the time to negotiate a contract.

Agencies pose similar difficulties. Many smaller areas simply don’t have a writing agency. Even if you know of an agency, you might find yourself spending too much time wading through writing samples. Of course, you’ll also need to negotiate on prices with the middle man at the agency. Working with an agency is one of the most expensive ways to hire a writer, and you may end up paying for services you don’t actually need.

Ordering content through a platform such as Textbroker is the easiest of these options. You can post your job description to an open author pool, or you can search for an author that meets your needs. You can generally purchase content that meets your budget needs as well.

Why Buy White Paper Content From Textbroker?

Textbroker offers many advantages for business leaders who want to buy white papers (and other types of content, too). Some of the advantages are:


  • Total scalability that allows you to order both small and large content pieces with no hassle

  • The ability to pay by word, providing flexibility that’s sure to fit your budget

  • An extensive database of authors who have professional experience in many different areas

  • The option to filter authors to find just the right person for the job

  • Fresh, unique content available in 36 languages as well as translations into every language on the web

  • No paperwork to fill out

  • Built-in duplicate content checks that help ensure you don’t receive plagiarized or spun content

  • Around-the-clock access to ordering capabilities

  • Easy delivery of content with opportunity for review and revision

White Paper Content FAQ

white paper FAQ

Why do companies produce white papers?

Companies produce white papers to solve problems for potential buyers. These documents are used to increase consumer confidence and move leads through the sales funnel. They are also utilized heavily in B2B marketing.
 

What different types of white papers exist?

There are several different formats for white papers. Some businesses use guides, while others use case studies. Reports and professional analyses are also great formats for white papers.
 

How long is a white paper?

Most of today’s white papers run between six and eight pages. However, some white papers are longer. You’re likely to find longer white papers when detailed statistics, case studies or scientific information needs to be shared.
 

How much does a white paper cost?

The costs for a white paper can range from $40 to $4,000. You can expect to pay between $250 and $500 for an eight-page white paper from a five-star author on Textbroker.
 

How do you promote a white paper?

You can promote a white paper on your blog or social media profile. You can also use on-page ads to encourage website visitors who are already interested in your products to download a paper. Of course, asking other bloggers to share your white paper is also a viable promotion tool.


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