what is a white paper

What is a White Paper, and how can it Generate High-Quality Leads?

For generating qualified leads through content marketing, there are few tools as effective as white papers. What is a white paper, you ask? We’ll explain.

What is a White Paper?

Depending on who you ask, you may receive slightly varying answers to the question “What is a white paper?” However, nearly all content marketers can agree that a white paper is an authoritative report on a specific subject that provides a well-researched solution to a problem.

White papers are often significantly longer than simple blog posts and are highly specific, both in terms of intended audience and subject matter. They may present original research, or research compiled from other reliable sources.

What a white paper isn’t, is a sales pitch. Rather than overtly promoting your products or services, it should offer content that’s truly intended to help and inform the reader.

5 Ways White Papers can help Generate Qualified Leads

1. Perfect for those who want to Learn More

Usually, white papers are added to a website in the form of gated content, meaning readers can only access them after entering some basic contact information, such as their name and email address.

Only people who are truly interested will enter their information, making them high-quality leads who. Logic would have it, then, that they would also be interested in the products or services your business offers.

2. Add Authority to your Brand

White papers consist of thorough, in-depth research. Whether you performed the research yourself or compiled it from other trusted sources, the fact that you’ve done an exhaustive investigation will prove your authority in your industry.

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3. They aren’t a Hard-Sell

People don’t like overt sales pitches because they get turned off easily, especially in B2B industries.

One huge benefit of white papers is that they aren’t salesy whatsoever. Instead, they act as a form of lead nurturing, which pushes people interested in your business further along the buyer’s journey without actually saying “BUY OUR STUFF!”

4. Versatile Ways to Promote

HubSpot’s golden rule of content marketing dictates that marketers should spend as much (or more) time promoting a piece of content as they did creating it. Luckily, there are myriad ways to promote white papers, such as:

All of these mediums have different targeting options, allowing you to reach a wide or narrow audience, depending on your goals.

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5. Easy to Repurpose

Since white papers are packed with valuable information, they make great cornerstones for other pieces of content. For example:

  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Blog posts

Repurposing existing content, instead of constantly creating new content, saves you a lot of time and money. It also allows you to test which formats your audience responds to best.

Understanding what is a white paper is a huge step in perfecting your content marketing efforts for maximum lead generation.
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