We’ve been talking a lot recently about white papers – one of the best ways to attract your audience with high quality content. If you have decided to use white papers as a key part of your content strategy, then you need to make sure they capture the interest of your target market. The process starts even before you begin to create the white paper. Here are seven tips to help you improve your white paper conversion rates.
1. Target a Specific Audience
Jack of all trades; master of none. It’s a cliché you want to avoid when creating your white paper. Don’t make your white paper a catch-all, aiming to interest a wide audience. White papers work best when they are targeted to a specific group. So when you are planning your white paper, consider who will benefit most from the information you plan to provide. You need a clear idea of who your audience is – or who you would like them to be – so you can create content that attracts them. Your secret weapon is analytics software which will show you what your customers are doing online. You can learn a lot by the places they visit, what they search for on your site and the questions that come up in social media – all of these give clues as to which audience segment you should cater for. If someone who reads your white paper knows that it’s written specifically for them, they will immediately be more interested.
2. Work Out What They Need
Deciding on the audience is only half the battle – the second and even more crucial part of that is working out what they need. A white paper has first and foremost to help your audience and they must be your focus in deciding on the right
direction. Three key questions to answer are:
- What information would help your customers to do their business better?
- How would your solutions help them achieve their aims?
- What obstacles are stopping them from making a decision to use your products or services?
Guide your content development efforts by following news and statistics in your niche. If your white paper answers WIIFM
(what’s in it for me) for your readers, then they will be more inclined to read and share.
3. Write with Authority
White paper marketing is authority marketing to enhance your company’s reputation. That means that you have to use reliable data and sources to create more interest in the document. One strategy many companies use is to co-author a white paper with an authoritative source. Here’s an example of this from LiveRamp and Epsilon. Not only does co-authoring give your white paper more weight, but both authors get access to new, interested audiences.
4. Get Reviewed
Another way to increase interest in your white paper is to borrow from the book publishing world, where reviews can make or break a book launch. Send review copies of your white paper to influential sources to help spread the word. If they agree, not only will that get you a post on their blog but it will give you quotes you can use in your marketing and may even lead to interview opportunities – another way to promote your white paper.
5. Use the Data for Promotion
When your white paper is ready, extract interesting data and conclusions and run a promotional campaign on your blog and others. It’s a good way to build engagement with your potential audience, gauge their reaction to the white paper and get some insight into topics for future white papers. Here’s an example: the International Freelancer’s Union publishes an annual survey of the freelance market. Posts related to the data appear on dozens of different blogs – you could do that too. You can also highlight key data in press releases, online presentations and podcasts – all of which can be shared on different sites and uploaded to directories to reach an even wider audience.
6. Promote a Landing Page
This tip comes straight from the Content Marketing Institute.
“Placing your white paper on its own dedicated page, in the context of the benefits it provides the reader, can help to convince potential readers that downloading and reading your insight will be worth their time”.
In other words, all your promotion sends people back to the landing page, which has other marketing material designed to raise the level of interest in your white paper.
7. Make it Mobile Friendly
Finally, don’t forget that one thing that turns people away is not being able to read content on their device of choice. Instead of catering for desktop users with a PDF white paper, consider a format that works for mobile devices. With more people doing both business and leisure reading on mobile devices outside working hours, you will immediately increase the number of potential readers for your white paper.