how to generate leads with white paper

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How To Use White Papers To Generate Leads

Do you know how to use white papers to grow your leads list and establish your business as an authority in your industry?

Are you using white papers as your lead-generating magnet?

Position papers are one of the most effective tools in generating leads. They bring credibility to a brand and its products and services.

A well-written and promoted white paper can position a brand as a thought leader.

It is effective for educating and informing prospects, as well as a lead-generating magnet.

In this article, you will learn about the white paper and different types of white papers. You will also learn how to use white papers for lead generation, and how much it costs to produce one.

Let's dive deep in.

What Is A White Paper?

A white paper is a detailed, persuasive, authoritative report that addresses a complex subject and how to solve it. 

According to Investopedia, the white paper informs and persuades readers that an offering, such as a product or technology, is superior for solving a particular business problem or addressing a specific challenge. 

Many brands use them to promote a complex product, service, or solution to a problem. 

However, even when used in this way, a position paper should not include promotional or marketing language.

Authoritative paper persuades only with facts and information. In general, position papers are at least 2,500 words long.

The writing style used in the document is business or academic.

It is based on formal research, that includes interviews with subject matter experts and company executives.
Here are examples of white papers:

Take a look.

Google —Principles and Best Practices for Data Governance in the Cloud

Oracle — 5 Reasons to Consider SaaS for Your Business Applications

Different Types Of White Papers

different types of white paper for lead generation

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In his Book, White Papers for Dummies, Gordon Graham outlines three primary types of white papers. They are the Backgrounder, The Numbered List, and The Problem/Solution.

Let's take a closer look at each of them: 

The Backgrounder 

The backgrounder is often a technical white paper. It educates the reader by focusing on how a product or service works.

It is a well-researched study with data that describes the efficacy of your product or service.

It includes a well-documented claim that positions your brand as a leader in its niche.

Example: The Backgrounder white paper

#1. When To Use The Backgrounder White Paper

The backgrounder is used at closing sales since it provides more in-depth information about products or services.

Prospects benefit from it in the final stages of deciding because it reassures them that the product is what they want 

 #2. The Numbered List

The numbered list is in the list format. 

According to the Journal of Consumer Research, humans enjoy reading content formatted as lists.

It is best targeted to a more casual audience.

Numbered list documents answer the frequently asked questions about your product.

Numbered lists provide product and service tips and the benefits of a product or service.

Example:  10 Best Practices for Agencies Who Want to Win More Business 

When To Use This Type Of White Paper

This type of position paper is easy to produce. It benefits audiences in every stage of the sales funnel.

Some brands use it to focus their prospects on the finer details of their product.

However, this type of authoritative paper is used best in the middle of the sales funnel. 

 #3. The Problem/Solution

The problem/solution presents a problem and lays out a compelling solution to the problem.

The Problem/Solution document convinces readers that they need what you are selling.

This type of position paper presents the pain point and showcases how your product or service is the perfect solution.

So long as the brand's focus stays the same, the content will continue to generate leads for a long time.

Provided that your company’s focus doesn’t shift drastically, these policy reports remain relevant for a long time. Example white paper about customer erosion

When To Use This Type Of White Paper

The Problem/Solution format, often used for technical white papers. They are effective for generating new leads.

It is best used in the decision-making process or beginning the sales funnel. 

A well-written SEO Product/Solution technical paper copywriting can help you rank high on the Google search results page for the search intent of your target audience it addresses.

Now that you understand the different types of white papers that brands use, let's learn how to use them to generate leads.

How To Generate Leads With White Papers

how to generate leads with white paper

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Marketing Land survey found that about 60 percent of respondents use white papers to generate new leads.

But how do you create these documents that actually generate leads? Here are proven steps to help you use white papers to generate leads. 

#1. Define Your Lead Generation Target Audience 

Before you go about copywriting your authoritative paper, define the audiences who will read it. 

Though your brand may have a diverse audience, focus on a target audience. 

That is important when you need to generate leads.

To do this effectively, answer these questions:

  • What problems are they struggling to solve?
  • How can your brand provide solutions to these?
  • Do you have enough prospects and customers for your products?
  • What market gaps should you explore?
  • What kind of content has already been successful?

The answers to these questions help you understand the needs of your target audience better.

They also help you choose topics and designs for your content that generates leads.

#2. Define The Topics For Lead Generation White Papers

After defining the target audience that would read your white paper, pick the topic that would resonate with them.

As you consider your topics, think of how to provide solutions to the pain points of your target audience.

That should be the driving factor behind creating your content.

But how do you find out their pain points? Use market research or social listening tools.

Additionally, you can even ask your audience about their pain points so that you can determine what they want to read.

Another way to find position paper lead generation topics is to look at the content that had good results on social media.

Check out posted white papers and blog posts.

The metrics of those posts will help you decide which topics attract the most views.

Consider searching online for keywords related to your clients. Use longtail keyword suggestions to find new content ideas.

#3. Keep The Lead Generation White Paper Informative, Not Sales-Focused

keep lead generation white paper informative

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A great white paper is informative and educational. Its only purpose is to offer a solution to the pain points of your most interested leads.

And this positions you as a trusted resource and a thought leader in your niche at the same time.

This, in turn, creates a nurturing relationship with your target audience.

More specifically, you want to use your white paper to attract people in the early to middle stages of the sales journey.

This is the stage where your prospects are gathering as much information as possible before making a buying decision.

For this reason, leave the sales language out.

At this stage, focus more on an indirect way of selling.

So use your content to provide your target audience with the information that would help them make a buying decision.

So at this point, the goal is to use the copy to provide a valuable resource the target audience can use. 

To that end, make sure the document contains clear, detailed explanations.

And the content should be supported by facts, including charts, diagrams, graphs, and links to authoritative sources.

Keep in mind that these are just fresh leads that need to be nurtured.

You still need to nurture and help them move further down the sales funnel.

When you help them get to the bottom of the funnel, you can try to help them buy your products or services. 

#4. Have Your Lead Generation White Paper Professionally Written, Edited, And Formatted

Your content should reflect the high standard of your brand.

It needs to be interesting, engaging, and persuasive, but it should also be attractive to your readers.

So, it should be well-written, edited, and formatted flawlessly. Position papers follow present graphic design trends.

However, this type of document is not easy to write, edit, and format professionally.

And that is why many brands outsource their policy report copywriting.

If you can't produce a winning document with your in-house team, you should outsource too.

With the outsourcing arrangement, you provide the expertise, and your outsourced agency supplies the high-level writing, editing, and formatting your content deserves.

Promote Your Lead Generation White Paper

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After crafting your policy report, the next step is to generate leads.

You will need a promotional plan.

This plan will help you reach the widest possible audience, attract high-quality leads and convert them into customers or clients.

That means actively promoting your content to generate leads. Here are a few promotion methods to get a lot of eyeballs on your document:

#1. Create A Well-Optimized Capture Page

A lead capture page is a landing page designed specifically to capture information about your leads. 

It captures information like name, email, phone number, etc. 

The lead is collected through a lead generation form and used to build your email lists.

The shorter your opt-in form, the more people will download your document. 

Using a landing page, helps you capture the readers' information in exchange for the content.

A well-optimized and converting landing page ensures that you attract your target audience.

A landing page that is accessible from all devices is effective. Make the capture page easy to download.

#2. Emails

Promoting your position paper lead generation through an email campaign can boost downloads.

Your email subscribers will find your content highly relevant since they are interested in how your brand offers solutions to their pain points.

Promote your document by announcing it to your subscribers. Yor you can also include it as part of your regular newsletter.

Use your policy report download link in your email newsletters.

In that way, you drive your contacts there to download your document. 

Write a follow-up email to everyone who downloads the paper to continue the conversation increase conversions.

#3. Social Media Platform

promote white paper on social media

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If you have a sizable social media following, share the white paper landing page link on your various social media channels.

Sharing your landing page link on your social media channels increases visibility for your content.

Schedule your posts when most of your target audience is online using social media scheduling tools.

Do so for more than a few weeks or even months. This strategy gives you more visibility, given the amount of noise in the social media landscape.

Also, pin your posts featuring your white paper on your Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook pages.

You can pay for boosted exposure to highly-targeted audiences on social media platforms. Use images and videos generously.

For instance, images on Facebook have at least 37 percent more engagement than those without. A service like bitly helps you shorten your links.

#4. Hire A Marketing Agency

Hiring an outsourced marketing agency is an effective method to promote your position paper.

The agency researches your target audience and pitches your white paper with their consent. 

The marketing agency then sends the interested list of leads to you. Your role is to nurture and convert the leads.

#5. Use Online Ads

Another way to get more eyes on your authoritative paper is to use ad networks or ad exchanges.

They place banner ads with a compelling message on websites or e-newsletters.

Another option is to go directly to online publishers and websites. Use Google Display Network. 

#6. Use White Paper Submission Sites

Use dedicated policy report submission/syndication sites like Find WhitepapersCIO white papers review, and Tech Target, to promote your white paper.

They have free and pay-per-lead schemes plans. Whether this would drive leads depends on your niche.

White paper submission sites help your content to be noticed by your target audience.

#7. Website marketing

generate white paper leads on website

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Your website visitors should download your position paper by submitting their details.

Build a landing page for your content and include a summary or excerpts.

Embed a simple form that your website visitors can fill in to access the paper.

Make the form easy to fill out by not asking for too much information. 

#8. Timed Pop-ups

You can capture leads using your popular blogs as a tool.

Create a timed pop-up on your popular blogs to download your authoritative paper.

It is easy and works well.

#9. Guest Blogging

Guest posting/blogging is one of the powerful tactics to generate leads. Include your white paper download link on guest articles.

Use it on platforms like Medium and LinkedIn and watch your downloads skyrocket.

#.10 Video Marketing

More and more people are watching videos. Wyzowl's State of Video Marketing Survey 

shows that 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, increasing slightly from 85% in 2020.

And of particular interest to us is that 84% of video marketers say video has been effective for generating leads, up 1% from 2020. 

Create a video teaser based on the position paper for your white paper and promote it on YouTube, your website, blog, and other social channels.

Optimize your video before uploading it. 

Now:

How Much Do White Papers Cost To Write?

cost of white paper writing

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Before hiring your document writer, understand that the document costs more than a blog post.

Here are some of the reasons why policy report cost more than even an e-Book:

  • They are longer than blog posts: Some white papers are anywhere between three and 14 pages long and are longer. Keep in mind that a single-spaced page in Word holds about 500 words. That means looking at a white paper in the 1,500 to 10,000 or more word range. That is if you do a deep dive into your topic.
  • White papers require a lot of research: They are longer than a blog and require a lot of research. Research takes a lot of time. It is reasonable to expect that the outsourced agency is paid for their time spent researching. Agencies add the cost of research into their quotes for white papers.
  • Writing experience: Writing a position paper is hard. It requires particular skills, especially writing a technical paper. You are charged for these specialized skill sets and the experience of a copywriting team.
  • Design requests: After your content is written, it has to be formatted, covers, graphs, illustrations, and images designed. The professional graphic designer has to be paid handsomely for high-quality work. 

As you already know, a position paper is much more than a glorified blog post. And you need to be prepared for the cost. 

Having said that:

What You Can Expect To Pay For A White Paper

The cost of creating a white paper varies greatly.

It depends on the project and the experience level of the writer.

It also depends on whether you are hiring a freelancer or an agency.

Here’s a general round-up of costs associated with white papers:

  •  Writer’s fees: $3K — $15K
  • Graphic designer fee: $0 — $7K
  •  Promotion: $0 — $9K
  •  Total: $3 — $31K

Some brands are willing and eager to pay upwards of $30K for a single piece of content because of the return on investment.

Final Thoughts

Crafting a perfect position paper that generates leads is not an easy task.

It requires significant research, technical know-how, experience, and peculiar skill sets to achieve the desired results.

For this reason, many brands often shy away from putting in the time and effort to produce it.

However, you can hire an outsourced authoritative paper copywriting agency to write one for you.

You stand to gain in terms of time as well as expertise. Agencies can craft that perfect position paper for you, and not miss the headache and effort required.

Simply provide us with the topic and resources, and we will create that stunning authoritative paper that is bound to generate leads for you.

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