How To Use White Papers In Your Content Marketing Strategy

How to use white papers in your content marketing This is a guest post by Mitt Ray from Social Marketing Writing.

Social media and blogs are usually the basic requirements of every content marketing strategy. Having a good blog with a lot of good content and being able to share them on social media platforms with lots of followers and fans can be a really good start. But the marketing material you should never forget to use in your content marketing strategy; is a white paper.

White papers differ from blogs and other form of content as they have a tiny bit of direct marketing messages in them. Most of the white paper is generally content, but a small fraction of a white paper consists of direct marketing material. A blog can be very powerful and educative, but it would normally take you some time before you start generating leads (on average it takes about 6 months for a blog to generate leads) from it.

This is why white papers are used in content marketing to shorten the gestation period of lead generation. White papers can speedup lead generation through their educative and persuasive nature and cut short the vast amounts of time blogs take.

How can Businesses Use White Papers in their content marketing strategy

1. To Generate leads

As mentioned above it could take you really long to generate leads only through your blog. A white paper on the other hand can help you generate leads very quickly. A white paper through its educative nature followed by its persuasive nature can educate your readers, earn their trust and convince them to buy your product or use your service. This way you can have direct marketing messages in your white papers and avoid using them on your blog.

2. Increase Newsletters Sign Ups

Newsletters are one of the most important tools every content marketing strategy should possess. When you start a business blog it’s important not to clutter it up with ads that distract your clients. You need to avoid any sort of direct marketing messages and keep your blog advert free. This is one of the main reasons why you need newsletters. You can send your direct messages through newsletters.

Newsletters also help you keep in touch with your readers. Through newsletter you can send out your latest updates which could be latest posts, news, offers, etc. However, it can be hard to get people sign up to your newsletters, but sign ups can be increased by using white papers.

Hubspot marketing resources

You can let your readers know that they can receive a copy of your educative white paper only after they sign up to your newsletter. This should increase your newsletter sign ups. You can now send out your newsletters to your readers, build relationships, increase blog traffic and generate leads.  An example of a company that uses white papers for getting many newsletter sign ups is Hubspot. If you visit their Marketing Resources page you will find many white papers on various subjects.

3. Increase Facebook Likes

A facebook page should always be part of your content marketing strategy. A facebook page with many “likes” can help you generate both quality traffic and new leads. Getting those “likes” can seem like a huge task. But you can easily increase the number of “Likes” your facebook page has with a white paper. The first thing you will need to do is add a fan gate to your fan page. A fan gate is when you have a second landing page for your facebook page. Only fans who like your page will be directed to this page.

On your first landing page you could have a message which asks your readers to like your page. You also need to let them know that they can get access to your white paper only after they like your page. After they like your page they will be directed to your second (fan only) landing page. This is where you place the link to your white paper or the sign up for your white paper. This technique will not only help you get many facebook “Likes,” but will also help you get many readers for your newsletter.

4. Rejuvenate Old Blog Posts

In your white papers you can insert links to your old blog posts. These blog posts can help explain complicated terms or provide more information about a particular topic. These links in the white paper will help increase the traffic your old posts receive.

Tips on creating successful white papers

If you want to take advantage of the above strategies, you need to make sure you create well researched and well written white papers.
The tips below will help you create powerful white papers.

1. Find out your audience’s problems

What are your audience problems?

A white paper provides solutions to problems. You need to make sure you provide solutions to the problems faced by your readers. First, find out what your audience’s biggest problem is and then give the solution to this problem. If you can help them solve their problems in the white papers and display your expertise, they will definitely contact you for more help and will eventually hire your services or buy your product, as they will now feel that you understand them.

2. Give away Secrets

Many people make the mistake of holding back and not giving away their secrets. They think that giving away their secrets might be problematic, as they are scared that their competitors might steal them. But I have found that giving away secrets is better than giving away very little information in your white paper. Giving away a few secrets in your white paper will make it unique.

When you hold back on your secrets and write a white paper, your white paper will be similar to almost every other white paper on your subject. When you give a few secrets no one else knows, it will make your white paper unique and help it stand out from the crowd.

I am not asking you to give away all your secrets. Just give away a few which would not drastically affect your business when revealed.

3. Keep Your White papers Short

Always keep your white papers to a minimum of 3 pages and a maximum of 14 pages. If your white paper gets too long you could divide it into a series of white papers and make it easy for your readers to choose a specific white paper from a series and read it individually. A short white paper which is about 14 pages long will be easier to read than a long 20 to 50 page white paper and white papers are normally read by decision makers of a company who have very little time on their hands. They will always prefer reading a short white paper to a long white paper.

The few tips above will help you create powerful white papers which can be used effectively in your content marketing strategy.

How do you use white papers in your content marketing strategy? Are there any other white paper writing tips you would like to share with us?

Mitt Ray on SocialMouths Mitt Ray is the Director of imittcopy where he provides white paper writing and marketing services. He is an expert white paper writer. He blogs about white papers on “The White Paper Blog.” He is the author of the book White Paper Marketing. He is also the CEO of Social Marketing Writing.

Image Credit: J Klein

  • Great post on a fresh topic! Ive been using white papers as part of my content marketing strategy, and I like that they differ from a blog post – giving me diversity in my writing, and giving my readers a fully researched and complete answer to their questions, problems or needs.

    Thanks for the great read!

  • Do you think it would be alright to charge for a white paper or should you just use it for lead generation with your email list? I’ve heard either is ok, but it seems like a white paper is giving away something awesome in exchange for an email and an eBook you would charge for because you’re not getting a lead. 

    Anyway, super great advice! Thanks a lot for this!

  • Wow, I needed this. I’ve been struggling with the size of my blogposts recently. I can see issues that I can write about, but they all seem sooo huge to talk about in one blogpost. I’m just at the stage where writing a white paper sounds like a REALLY good idea. To be quite honest, I didn’t really know what a white paper was, but I think I do now. As soon as I read this I got inspired for the title of a WP I could write, and as I was writing that down, I got inspiration for two more. 🙂 It’s an inspiring day. Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    You certainly have motivated me to get started on a white paper. Those are excellent tips and you make it sound so easy. I’m inspired and motivated. Thank you for all the wonderful information.

  •  You’re welcome @deblamb:disqus  Good luck with your white paper.

  •  Thank you for your comment @twitter-326601660:disqus  I am really glad that you found this post helpful. Hope you write some good white papers.

  •  Hi @MelissaAgnes:disqus ,

    You’re right – white papers can be very helpful in answering questions and solving problems. Thank you for your comment – Mitt

  •  Hi @twitter-5998552:disqus ,

    No, you should never charge for a white paper. I always advice people not to charge for a white paper. The best thing to do is to give your white paper away for free and maybe use it promote something like a book which you could sell.

    You probably won’t be able to make much anyway by selling a 10 page white paper – so just give it away for free and use it as a lead generator. Like I mentioned above you could use it to promote a book or a guide which you can sell for a good price. – Mitt

  • Mike

    Nice article Mitt. I’ll pose a thought here and welcome anyone’s feedback. How many people sign up for Newsletters any more? I think offering the trade of a White Paper in exchange to signing up for a newsletter will make a percentage of users think twice about givng their details up.

    I dont have the answer, i just think people are inundated with so much that another newsletter is just one more email to read. Maybe its time we started polling and ask a few questions as what people want.

    If anyone has any stats on this i’d like to discuss them. Nice post, great blog

  • White papers are very new to me. This needs serious writing. Need to research on this more.

  • I love it, and Hubspot absolutely KILLS it with this strategy. And I totally see how it’s an efficient way to repurpose content and use it as an incentive to build your subscriber list. 

  • The art of communicating with customers meets content strategy, But the marketing material that you should never forget to use in your content marketing strategy is a white paper. 

  • Thank you @ricardobueno:disqus  Yes hubspot do really well with this strategy. – Mitt

  • Good article. Tactics for managing the real work of content marketing: If content marketing rules, why is managing content so difficult? Know the tactics to manage the real work of content marketing. This informative white paper gives you the tips and strategies to save time and aggravation.

  • Useful strategy defined in this article. Great to learn from you which is really enhancing my skills to promote it in a better way. Thanks

  • the marketing material you should never forget to use in your content marketing strategy; is a white paper.

  • the marketing material you should never forget to use in your content marketing strategy; is a white paper.

  • But the marketing material you should never forget to use in your content marketing strategy; is a white paper.

  • you should never forget to use in your content marketing strategy; is a white paper.

  • White papers can speedup lead generation through their educative and
    persuasive nature and cut short the vast amounts of time blogs take.

  • It is my great pleasure to look at your site and to enjoy your great posts here.

  • Awesome article and super helpful! Answered a lot of questions we had about why and how we should approach marketing a whitepaper to increase lead generation.

  • You can then use a service like SlideShare Pro or to promote the whitepaper. Simply writing the whitepaper doesn’t necessarily generate leads unfortunately…

  • Wonderful presentation… Very well presented post..

  • I think that whitepapers should be part of every organizations marketing strategy. It allows the organization to establish themselves as a subject matter expert. Being a subject matter expert leads to more traffic and sales. We worked pretty hard on creating a decent inbound section full of free resources on our website (, it as resulted in a good amount of steady traffic. I recommend business owners do similar strategies in their industry.

  • I’m a big fan of white papers, as long as they are done the right way – good writing, good design, engaging content. Here’s my insight on the right recipe:

  • I’m a big believer in the power of white papers as a way to engage and educate. Unfortunately, they seem to have become second-class citizens amid the rise of social media and video. Here’s my take on how to do white papers right:

  • Very useful to your viral marketing campaign. Content is King !

  • I came across this article before and I still find it helpful today. Giving away few of your secrets won’t hurt. Thanks for this post!