If you want to promote your product or service it is vital you first identify your prospect then determine exactly what type of information they really want to know. Here are four common mistakes to avoid:
1. Dated research- technology moves fast. If your paper is more than a year old it is unlikely to garner interest.
2. A sales approach – the aim of white papers is to inform not flagrantly sell.
3. Anything unprofessional – if your papers are muddled, inconsistent or badly designed, it will undermine your message.
4. Blanket messages – avoid the “one hat fits all” approach, your prospect has a unique set of localised challenges that you must address.
Three Steps to Create Effective Content
Producing quality content establishes your organisation as an authority on its chosen subject. The formula for a good piece of content generally runs as followed:
1. Raise the challenges faced by your audience.
2. Provide free advice or impartial opinion on gaining a solution.
3. Once this is done you can hint at your own offering.
Two Successful Types of Content
You must tailor your content and format to the person/ job function you are trying to engage. As a result, two distinct forms of successful content exist:
1. Research papers – taking a technical approach, these papers provide impartial new findings within the context of the market place, and often include insight into future trends and predictions. The most effective papers tend to come from well-known independent bodies e.g. Gartner, IDC or Forrester.
2. Benefit driven marketing copy – attract a more general audience, these offer a clear, instantly recognisable solution to a problem, e.g.: ’10 Easy Steps to…’
The best way to generate effective research content is to identify your prospect, determine exactly what they want to know – then commission a trusted research firm to create the paper you need. The following steps provide a useful guideline:
1. Know your prospect – who are they? What do they want to know?
2. Trust the experts – commission a well-known research firm.
3. Keep it current – ideally less than six months old.
4. Inform don’t sell – make the finished piece as impartial as possible.
Benefit Driven Marketing Copy
Marketing copy should supply solid advice in an easy to digest format. Good informative content will help establish your organisation as a leader in its market place and make prospects more inclined to trust your solution. Steps to consider:
1. Headline – make it simple and benefit driven, e.g. ‘Your Step-By-Step Guide to…’
2. Length – keep copy succinct without being empty.
3. Emotional tone – identify your prospects emotional concerns. e.g.: if you
have a security solution, let the audience know of potential dangers.
4. Readability – short direct sentences are easier to read.
In sum, if white papers are useful and impartial they will help classify you as a leader in your market. The tone and method you choose will depend on what you are trying to promote. Remember that the most important thing to remember is to keep your content useful! If you can also make it unique, timely and urgent, it should be very successful.
Edited by Mark Warburton, Editorial Assistant at http://www.idgconnect.com/blog