When it comes to content creation, the whitepaper rules supreme.
Used in B2B content marketing as a method to introduce an explanation of how to overcome a problem or reach a solution to a business pain point, the whitepaper is a business’s ultimate marketing tool.
When written well, it can be downloaded en mass to generate valuable leads for your salesteam and keep your funnel topped up.
What you’ll need:
Before you get started, you’re going to need a few things:
First impressions are important and an eye catching title is the main way to get people to start reading your content. We generally find that catchy, unusual, controversial and snappy titles work best. You can also try adding playful themes to your content too, such as iconic movies, TV shows, celebrities or even current events. Take a look at a couple of our favourites from Citrix:
- Sir Richard Branson’s Top 10 Tips for Success
- Presentation Pitfalls Learned From Dragon’s Den
You want to grab the reader’s attention, so start by cutting out all that waffle. Get to the point – tell them why they should be reading this and what are they going to learn? Concise writing will win you big brownie points here so keep it short and to the point.
Sections and Subheadings
Break up the text. Nothing is more daunting than seeing pages and pages of unbroken text. Your readers are likely to lose interest and you don’t want to be associated with the word ‘boring’. Build some structure into what you’re talking about and make it easy to navigate between each section.
Top tip: If you’re creating a contents page, then try hyperlinking to each section, it will give your reader a seamless navigation experience.
Images and Diagrams
This goes side-by-side with sections and subheadings. Breaking the text up with interest and related images will help make your whitepaper more visual and research shows that colour is more likely to increase someone’s willingness to read by 80%. It will also help you to explain yourself and sound authoritative.
These have a similar effect as the images and diagrams. If you’re presenting a point of view, or producing a persuasive piece, showing that you’ve done your research will go a long way with your readership. By reinforcing all that you say with statistics not only cements your proposed ideas more formally but it creates an authority figure that the reader will identify with you.
Perhaps the most dreaded part of any piece of writing. You need to concisely sum up what you’ve been talking about.
There’s an old essay formula: tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em, tell ‘em, tell ‘em what you’ve told ‘em.
And that’s exactly what your conclusion needs to be doing. In certain circumstances it’s okay to add in your own opinion – depending on topic – but don’t let it drag on.
Top tip: Never add any new points to your conclusion.
You need to find your research. Make a list of links, websites and articles that are related to your topic. This is important for your statistics and the body content. By doing your research first, you can be confident that your opinions, facts and ideas are all reinforced by other articles and research studies.
Perhaps the part most people forget. It’s almost like creating hashtags for your whitepaper. What subjects or categories is it relevant to? How is it topical? By building your whitepaper around specific buzzwords, you can ensure that it’s topical and relevant right now. It also helps you to keep it in line with your business objectives and provide the right resource to potential leads.
1. Choose your topic
Finding the right topic is of paramount importance, before you get your ingredients together, you need to decide what you’ll be writing about. And it’s important to consider your business values. Does this topic strengthen what your company does? Or is it totally irrelevant?
The best way to find a topic in your niche is to look at the common issues professionals face. What do they struggle with? What questions do they always ask? Will this whitepaper help someone with their job?
2. Blend intro, sections and conclusion
It’s time to begin mixing your ingredients together. You’ll first need a dash of introduction, then add your sections to the mix and finally use your conclusion to blend it all together into a seamless reading experience.
3. Read over and mix in some edit
It’s important that you review what you’ve done so far and that can be done by ‘sending in the critics’, i.e. internal copywriters, or perhaps a managing editor. They may want to add in some extra ingredients or come up with an alternative way of presenting your dish.
Rummaging around in the cupboard (your organisation) and you might find a secret ingredient that will just add that little extra something to your whitepaper.
4. Sprinkle in some images
Now images are important because they can say a lot. Don’t overpower your whitepaper with too many and at the same time, don’t use too few. It’s a skill of knowing the exact right amount. Add them in here and there until you’re confident it looks good and fits your brand.
5. Final proofread, also known as the taste test
Read it all through one last time. Get a taste of what you’ve created and make any last minute changes. You want it to be as perfect as it can be before letting others try it.
6. It’s time to share your creation with others
The moment of truth has arrived. It’s time to share your culinary masterpiece with your colleagues, friends, social media. Put the whitepaper online and distribute it as much as possible. It’s time for others to see your work.
Conclusion – how you know it works
Here at Inbox Insight we spend our days publishing great content from a variety of clients. That means we’ve seen this formula work time and time again. Over the years, we’ve also seen a fair amount of poor content, and it’s easy to see what’s gone wrong, but with our winning whitepaper formula, you’re guaranteed to produce great content to support your B2B lead generation efforts.
If you need any further advice, we’d be happy to help. You can request our content creation media pack or call us on 01962 835950.