The Gift of Knowledge: E-books and White Papers
In the content marketing universe, e-books and white papers are renowned as the marketing materials most successful at influencing decision-makers and generating leads. Why are e-books and white papers so effective at forging a genuine connection between brands and their prospects? Because they provide significant value to their readers, building trust and loyalty for the brands that create them.
What exactly is a white paper or an e-book? Both provide an in-depth study of an industry topic of interest to your prospective clients or customers. Published as attractively formatted PDFs, they cover topics that are too complex for a blog post to handle. They either provide solid information and advice, or they seek to provoke deeper thought about industry issues.
White papers and e-books are somewhat similar, but there are some important differences. White papers are longer (10 to 40 pages) and usually better suited to offering technical information and case studies aimed at a B2B readership. E-books are shorter (6 to 12 pages) and typically have a more visual focus that can appeal to either a B2B or a B2C audience.
A white paper or e-book should ultimately make the case for why your products or solutions are the best solution to your reader’s problems. They also help establish your brand as an industry expert and generate many leads for your sales staff.
Here are some of our best tips on how to make white papers and e-books work for your brand:
Pick the right topic
Decide what audience you’re targeting and choose an issue that speaks to them. Many B2B customers are exploring options and making purchases that help them solve the problems that keep them awake at night. Other customers may be looking for better ways to succeed. How can you help them? The best white paper or e-book typically propose a problem and offer a solution, showing how your company’s product, service, or thought leadership can solve their problem.
Demonstrate your thought leadership
White papers and e-books are a great format to show off your expertise. Both formats help establish your brand as an industry authority. White papers are the most commonly shared type of marketing content, making them particularly good at generating buzz and increasing exposure for your brand.
Craft the text professionally
People will read longer material — but only if it is engaging and relevant to them. For a professional presentation, use subtitles, bullets, lists, graphs, and illustrations to break text into digestible chunks. From a purely visual perspective, shorter sections are less intimidating. Because most readers are scanners, smaller copy bites will hold their attention.
End with a beginning
The best white papers and e-books conclude with a beginning rather than a tidy ending. They should either initiate a contact with a new prospect, move readers along the sales pipeline, assist with closing a sale, or reinforce that your company’s solutions are the best ones for the reader’s problem. Always end a white paper or e-book with a call to action that makes a connection between you and your reader. Invite a deeper conversation by encouraging the reader to apply your ideas or suggesting a consultation, a newsletter subscription, a blog feed, a webinar, or social media sharing to them.
Nothing beats white papers and e-books for capturing leads. Because they perceive white papers and e-books as having high value, prospects feel comfortable providing their contact information in order to download them. A well-written e-book or white paper on a topic with widespread appeal can be a powerful magnet for pulling in qualified prospects or the tipping point that closes a fence-sitter.
White papers and e-books are delivering wildly successful outcomes and exponential gains, but they take a substantial amount of time to write — valuable time you could be spending on your core business. If you don’t have an in-house writer who’s skilled at producing long-form content, consider hiring a professional to ensure that your next e-book or white paper delivers. That’s where Prose Media comes in. To learn more about how the team at Prose Media can help create professional white pages and e-books to boost your content marketing results, sign up today for a no obligation, free custom-quote.