White Papers Are the New Black

By April 1, 2016Snark
Boring white papers? Not anymore.

Want to drop some original science on aficionados, entertain casual readers, grab the ear of journalists and influencers and win over prospective customers, all for just a modicum of time, effort and budget? Create a white paper.

You could say white papers are the best thing since sliced bread but they’re actually much better. When’s the last time a slice of bread was covered with fascinating, distilled, usable information instead of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter or a piece of Munster cheese?

White papers offer such striking marketing benefits that the so-called “experts” who oppose these documents as being a mind-numbing bore must be rolling up and smoking something extra in their white papers. Or they’re just too lazy and cynical to create a quality document.

What are some of the benefits of white papers? Glad you asked!

White papers help build email lists. People won’t just sign up to get emails for no good reason – they want goodies. What are the anti-white paper geniuses offering? A white paper is a condensed, fact-based chunk of published industry expertise, a pretty good incentive in exchange for giving your contact info.

White papers get you more Facebook likes. Remember Facebook? Sure you do, you’re checking it on your phone right now. Giving a “Like” on a FB business page is a small price to pay for having a white paper electronically released into one’s possession.

White papers offer a stealthy, sneaky way of inserting your business into the public consciousness. Unlike standard advertising and marketing, which screams “BUY OUR STUFF or SERVICE!” a white paper informs and educates on facts and issues around an industry. It has a sense of informational neutrality, transcending cruder sales motives.

Imagine the article “The 8 Most Nutritional Fish in the Central Atlantic” rather than “Henderson’s Marine Helps You Catch More Fish.” The first one earns a lot of trust and appreciation, especially if you’re not looking to be sold hard. But Henderson’s still gets to include a brief description of its store and a call to action at the very bottom of the white paper. Why sell a man a fish when you can teach him about the attributes and deliciousness of many kinds of fish – that you also happen to sell?

Putting out a white paper, you brand your company in a deeper, more long-lasting way – associating your brand with thorough, cutting-edge, innovative industry expertise. By increasing overall knowledge of your industry you raise the water level, lifting all boats, especially yours. Meanwhile, the anti-white paper guys are snoozing at the wheel, relying solely on simplistic sales slogans and visuals. White papers don’t just help you vie for a share of the demand, they create new demand!

If you think it’s so exhaustively difficult or costly to create a good white paper, how committed are you to your industry and your product? Sure, you could keep your time investment to the bare minimum and maintain superficial proficiency in your product or service, skating by like the anti-white paper crowd. But wouldn’t you rather create a sharp, enthralling white paper today than risk getting “pink-slipped” in the future?

Author Adam Gropman

Adam Gropman is an accomplished business copy writer, journalist and comedy writer with bylines in the NY Times, LA Times, LA Weekly, OC Register and many other newspapers and major websites.

More posts by Adam Gropman

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