3 Ways To Keep a White Paper from Being a Waste of Time

White papers can be an amazing way to reach a very targeted audience with your company’s message. But just like any other marketing effort that you undertake, you need to be able to effectively leverage the time you spend creating this content. If writing that white paper isn’t going to make more money for your company than you put into it, don’t do it. Use the content that you worked so hard to create as more than just a vanity piece for your content editor. A white paper should be a powerful tool that generates targeted leads. Where should you start?

 

1. Target Your Content

 

There are a lot of factors you should consider before you put time and effort into creating a white paper. If your content isn’t going to interest potential and current customers, then don’t bother creating it. Here are a few of the most important questions you should ask yourself:

  • Is this content going to be interesting to our prospects?

  • Will this topic provide value to the reader?

  • Can I easily promote this white paper?

  • What type of person would want to read this?

These ideas should get you started, but we are still a long way from having a successful white paper. As we move on to other topics keep in mind that if your content isn’t fascinating and informative, nothing else will matter. Don’t skip past the most important part of getting a return on investment for your white paper.

 

2. Market Your White Paper

 

Simply writing a great white paper and putting it somewhere on your website isn’t going to cut it. If people don’t know about your content it might as well not exist. Here are a few ways to make sure your white paper doesn’t fall into the black hole of irrelevance:

  • Post a link (with a picture) of your cover to your company’s social media accounts.

  • Promote your white paper in places like LinkedIn groups and communities on Google+.

  • Consider creating an email campaign around that white paper, but try to only send it to a very targeted list.

  • Get your white paper in front of social media influencers and encourage them to share it with their followers.

  • Use calls-to-action on relevant blog posts and pages on your website. Take this one for instance:


 

3. Calculate an ROI for Your White Paper

 

Congratulations! Your white paper is interesting and you are engaging tons of potential customers. Now what? Of course your sales team should be following up on the leads generated by the white paper. You should also have a system in place to track what happens to those leads. A white paper on a certain topic may generate a ton of leads but no sales, while another subject might generate very few leads but several of them convert. Keep in mind that at the end of the day you are trying to make money for your company. By following these steps you can be sure to have a return on investment on the next white paper you write.