How can white papers establish my business as a thought leader?

Whilst they might not be as popular as they were last century, white papers are still with us. And more importantly, they’re bringing about big results for businesses that choose to invest in them.

We help several clients distribute their research, industry knowledge and more through white papers.

Here’s an explainer on why a white paper might help you sit atop the throne as a thought leader within your industry

Author: Liz Clarke

What are white papers – and why do they matter?

White papers have changed somewhat over the decades, but they are essentially longer-form assets that are more formal and structured than traditional blogs.

You’re likely to have several sections that include an introduction, the issues you’re discussing, research and analysis as well as recommendations for further actions or reading.

They’re a high-value asset that allows businesses to demonstrate their knowledge, their specialisms and as a result build credibility and sell to the target audience reading the paper.

Talk on the past, present and future

When structuring your white paper, it’s important to think big. Most papers are often written around proactive subject matter, often being read by proactive readers. This isn’t a quick guide to putting a plaster over a problem – it’s an in-depth explainer on how to render the plasters surplus to requirements before they’re ever needed.

By using past data or research, exploring current trends and talking about the future within your industry, you can build a long-term, high-value asset that can be repurposed across marketing channels for years to come.

Looking to the future is integral for businesses that want to future-proof their services. Putting this into white paper format allows you to conduct research, but then show the world that you’re considered and aware of tomorrow’s industry, as well as today’s.

Become a respected industry voice

When written properly, white papers will establish a business or individual as a thought leader in their industry.

Your value and insights will help build a reputation for specialist expertise that can help your business find new clients and maybe even enter new markets.

As a part of a wider content strategy, businesses can regularly talk to their audience about their industry and the future, and create content around their white papers. Rewritten every year, they can become the key focus of your marketing efforts and generate more traction with every new release.

To maximise the effects of your white papers, work to identify your target audience and centre your content around their needs and interests before you start writing. These papers must be well-researched and backed up by data sources.

Speak to the problems of your ideal customer, and offer an answer

Whilst with many marketing tactics it’s about getting a quick response from a reader, white papers are aimed towards more unique problems. More acute problems and subjects require greater knowledge and buy-in, so your audience is committing more time to find an answer. This presents you with an opportunity.

With time to delve deeper into the subject matter, you can focus on a topic or issue that is specifically important for your industry. The greater level of detail means you’re appealing to the audience that is more likely to be suffering from this problem, or looking to prevent it.

There is a higher intent level with this audience who don’t want to just scroll through Google to find an answer – they need a specialist. Your job is to show them you’re the specialist they need.

Should you consider white papers for your business?

Well, that depends on your business and your aims.

Traditionally, they’ve been effective. And whilst they are not always the go-to for modern businesses, they are still commonplace across the tech industry, thanks to the almost constant emergence of new technology that is changing the landscape for businesses in all industries.

To benefit most from white papers, you’ll need to create a marketing strategy around their creation and distribution. That’s where an outsourced content agency like Freedom CS can help.

Get help with writing your business white papers

As an outsourced content marketing department, we‘re well-equipped to turn your idea into a plan, and your plan into a series of high-value white papers.

Whether you want to release these to the public for free or generate more traffic for them with paid advertising, their marketing value could be huge.

To get started, let’s talk about your project and get to work on bringing it to life.

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