There are many ways to market your company, products, and services. Choosing which methods to use depends on how you want your information to be absorbed. Two methods of online marketing include white papers and blog posts. The majority of people understand what blog posts are but do not understand what white papers are and how to utilize them. Knowing the difference between the two will help you decide how to implement your marketing strategy.
What are White Papers?
White papers are in-depth informational or authoritative reports that educate the audience on a topic. They typically present a problem and offer up a solution. The main purpose of using white papers is to generate leads, and they can be a crucial step in the buying process.
White papers are a form of marketing, meaning it is important to not only focus on content but about the product itself. As a business, you want to turn readers into buyers, and that is done through talking about how the product can benefit them directly. Why they need it, how it will help them, problems it solves, and other components are essential knowledge for the reader.
There are some misconceptions that white papers are essentially a product pitch. This is not true, but it can easily seem like a product pitch if you are overselling your product or service. It is important to find the right balance between and persuading the audience while educating them.
Making a White Paper
There are no set rules to what qualifies as a white paper. There are, however, some widely accepted requirements for what makes a white paper great. The basis of any good white paper includes the following:
- Length: the majority of white papers are no less than six pages in length. They can be however long they need be, as long as it is over six pages.
- Format: white paper content is usually in the form of a downloadable PDF. Sometimes it may require an email address to download as well.
- Style: it will take a while for the audience to read through a white paper. It needs to be interesting with images, easy-to-read fonts, some colors, and a simple layout.
- Tone: a professional and serious tone is a must. White papers are like reports, and you want to be able to show you are an expert in what you are talking about.
- Structure: since a white paper is more in-depth, there is a basic structure to follow. It will need an eye-catching title that will interest the reader, a table of contents, an introduction to the content, and in some cases, an executive summary. The first few pages of the white paper should highlight and explain the problem at hand. The next several pages should offer up a solution to the problem and then provide examples of when the solution worked for others. Then, as always, finish the content off with a conclusion.
Utilizing Blog Posts
Businesses utilize blog posts because regularly curated content engages their target audience. They are typically one page but can sometimes span a few web pages depending on how the site is designed or how much information is being shared. Blog posts help attract online traffic, engage your audience, and help convert leads to sales.
Blog posts help businesses to connect with their online visitors and customers. One of the biggest benefits is that it can boost your SEO with certain keywords. Blog posts can also be shared which can help bring in more traffic and generate new leads.
Writing a Blog Post
Blog posts are easier to write than white papers and have very little requirements. A professional blog for a company should uphold a higher quality than what is seen in personal blogs. The style and tone of a blog post can vary depending on how you want to represent your brand/business. A good blog post will contain the following:
- A good headline: the headline of a blog is the first impression a reader has of the contents within and how it will benefit them. The headline also acts as a roadmap for the writer and should be written before any of the content.
- Structure: professional blog posts should have a clear introduction that grabs the reader’s attention, subheadings that introduce the content within the post, and end with a conclusion that summarizes the text and ties the post
- Call-to-action: CTA’s are a big part of generating new leads. They encourage the reader to take the next step in the buying process, follow your social media, join your website, and more. Blogs allow creative, non-invasive ways to add CTA’s to the beginning, middle, and end of the webpage.
The Main Differences Between White Papers and Blog Posts
There are a few key differences between white papers and blog posts to be considered. Does the content need to be posted in a timely manner or is there time for proper research? How much detail is going to be provided? Depending on the circumstances, whether you utilize either white papers or a blog post may be affected.
Time commitment: one of the biggest differences between the two is how much time it takes to complete them. A blog post can take anywhere between a couple of hours to a few days to complete. White papers are several pages in length and offer an in-depth analysis of the product or service. Writing a good white paper can take several weeks to a few months.
Content: blog posts can have a casual tone and incorporate personality. On the other hand, white papers have a serious and professional tone. Aside from the tone, white papers need much more content and information than blog posts. While blog posts can be very detailed, they are much shorter and will not be as in-depth as the other.
Standing out in the marketing world is tough without a solid marketing strategy. When curating any type of content, it must be well-written and high quality, especially for boosting SEO. Whether you are writing blog posts or creating white papers, you want to be as well-informed and engaging as you can be. Your audience is less likely to read through the content and follow a call-to-action if they do not find it helpful and relevant to them.