B2B Content Marketing White Paper: How to Craft One that Converts

Thanks to modern technology, B2B digital marketers have unprecedented access to their target audience and prospective clients. But theoretical accessibility does not always equal effective reach. How can you raise your company’s brand awareness, speak to your audience’s pain points,  and create opportunities for lead generation?

One of the most valuable tools to add to your B2B marketing strategies is a quality white paper. White papers are one of the best forms of content because they convey a sense of authority and knowledge on your chosen topic, setting you and your business up to be identified as subject matter experts in your field.

Once you’ve established yourself as such in a prospective client’s mind, they’ll be much more likely to reach out to you when seeking solutions for their own business. If you’re a success in your field, with years of experience and a long list of satisfied customers, you likely have a wealth of specialized knowledge to share with others.

Harness this knowledge in your content strategy by creating shareable white papers that will position you as a thought leader. Check out these steps to creating a white paper that converts!

Steps to Write a B2B Content Marketing White Paper that Works

Choose The Right Topic

The best B2B white paper offerings provide a unique yet straightforward solution to a common problem. One that every industry player has faced and poses a continued challenge.

If this seems too high a bar, consider it from another perspective. When brainstorming ideas for your white paper, choose an area that your business shines. Think about the different approaches you’ve used with past clients, the insight you’ve gained that’s second nature to you, but others haven’t figured out yet.

This white paper could be your reader’s first introduction to your company, so you should select a topic that will make a solid first impression. A good topic will provide them with deep, valuable insight and, ideally, a curiosity about what your firm can do for them.

From a marketing standpoint, it’s ideal for your white paper to gently steer readers towards the services you’re the strongest in – this helps to build authority and prove that you and your organization are thought leaders in the given space.

Once you’ve settled on a topic, take some time to consider your target audience and their unique pain points because this is vital to crafting a message that speaks directly to them. There are prospective clients out there who are hungry for a solution to their challenges – if you have that solution, your job is to help them find you.

Create an Outline (and Stick to It)

Once you’ve got a topic and title, it’s time to start writing.

White papers are generally long-form and designed to show off your knowledge clearly and concisely. For that reason, it’s a good idea to start with an outline to ensure you stay focused on the subject at hand, keeping it crisp and informative without going off-topic or adding unnecessary length.

At the very minimum, your white paper should contain the following sections:

  • Introduction – Explain why the topic is essential for success in your industry.
  • Challenges – Focus on challenges your audience is likely to experience.
  • Solutions – Discuss how these challenges can be overcome. Provide a fix (this could be your products or services!)
  • Summary – Revisit the information you’ve covered and take a final opportunity to reiterate the significance of the issue and why it’s vital to get It right.

There’s no defined word count for white papers. Unlike a blog or social media posts, you have the flexibility to go as in-depth as your topic requires. However, resist the urge to write a book. The idea is to provide enough vital insight to entice the reader to learn more about your services and what you can do for them.

A final note: take some time to consider a catchy yet effective title for your white paper. A good title will give your paper the (correct) impression of a being must-read. Avoid excessive industry jargon or overpromising the content you cover. Just be honest, forthright, and above all, engaging.

Back Up Your Claims

Use numbers, statistics and data when making your arguments rather than vague, general statements. You want to be viewed as a credible source, one that is not only aware of the trends in your industry but one who can make sense of them. Quoting specific information to support the assertions in your white paper will build your credibility and give prospective clients confidence that you’re an expert in the field.

It’s also a good practice to include your sources, either as footnotes or adding an appendix to your white paper. Any third-party data you include should be verifiable and accessible to your readers. After all, you know what you’re talking about, and you have nothing to hide.

Make It Visually Appealing

You may have the perfectly crafted white paper, every word carefully considered and optimized for maximum impact. But if it looks like a wall of text, it’ll turn readers off. You may get their email addresses and the download notifications, but the paper itself will be left mostly unread. And if it’s unread, it’s a lost opportunity. Your readers will miss out on valuable insight while only gaining a marginal awareness of your company and what you can do for them.

If this is an issue with your white paper, break up the text! Pay attention to white space and illustrate your most impactful points by using graphs and other visuals. Bold and emphasize your key takeaways for easy retention. Look online for sample white paper layouts or pre-made templates you can use if you need some inspiration. The design and organization of your white paper is almost as important as the content itself.

Promote Your White Paper

Don’t neglect your white paper, leaving it to languish on a hidden corner of your site. Spread the word by creating blog posts about it, sharing it on your social channels, and giving it a prominent spot on your website. Design a bold graphic using a quote from your paper. Send your subscribers a link to it and encourage them to share it with others. Make sure people hear about it.

Many companies make the mistake of creating top-notch content without a follow-up marketing strategy to promote it. Don’t be one of them.

Make the Conversion Process Seamless

B2B white papers are designed to convert, but you need an optimized landing page for that to happen. This page will serve as a gateway to the content your audience wants to consume, so make sure it’s easy to navigate.

Your white paper landing page should include:

  • A short introduction to the topic
  • A few bullet points to summarize the content within without giving it away
  • A call to action to provide their information for the white paper download

Keep the required fields to a minimum – even just a name and an email address could be sufficient. You don’t want to discourage prospective readers from providing their info to download your content just because the form you’ve designed is too long to fill out.

Include the link to your white paper’s landing page in all your promotional efforts on social media and email newsletters.

Track Its Performance

Like all your marketing efforts, you should be using a strategy to measure its performance. Consider keeping an eye on the conversion performance of your white paper or tracking leads attributable to your white paper content. Monitor impressions and clicks on relevant social media posts or email newsletter links.

And while it might be easy to feel discouraged if your efforts seem to be underperforming, it’s actually an opportunity to tweak your approach or try something completely different. If your white paper itself is top-notch, it just means you need to change up how you’re getting the word out.

A Vital Component of a B2B Marketing Strategy

Your customers and prospects are always on the hunt for information that helps them achieve their goals and gain an edge on the competition – with greater ease and efficiency.

B2B white papers are a proven way to provide that information; a great way to achieve brand awareness and establish authority.

Are you a decision-maker looking to take a deeper dive into what it takes to write a white paper that works? Book your free consultation with Asset Digital Communications to find out more about what we can accomplish together!