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September 2016

White Papers: A valuable tool for you and your customers

Sep 22, 2016 10:27 AM
Heather West

If thought leadership is part of your growth strategy, you may want to consider adding white papers to your marketing/communications mix.

In its report B2B Marketing  Trends: 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America, the Content Marketing Institute found that 71% of respondents include white papers in their content marketing strategy. And, 63% rate them among the top five tactics they employ.

It used to be that mention of a white paper conjured up the image of a heavy research or technical document. However, that’s no longer the case. Today, businesses are using white papers to help customers understand and address issues, make decisions and learn about new concepts and solutions.

When done well, they can support your growth strategy and position your organization as a thought leader on topics of interest to your customers.

Some white papers are just a few pages long, and others dive deeper into a topic. No matter what format you choose, there are best practices that should be followed. On his website, Gordon Graham, known as “That White Paper Guy” and author of White Papers for Dummies, notes that a white paper should be:

  • A document containing narrative text
  • At least 5-6 pages long, in portrait format
  • Educational, practical and useful, NOT a sales pitch
  • Used BEFORE a sale, not AFTER a sale
  • Provide facts, NOT just opinion
  • Include an introduction or executive summary

Over the last couple of years, Fresh Communications has co-written a series of white papers for the CEO Health + Safety Leadership Network—a group of CEOs who are working together to create a culture of health and safety in Ontario. The Network has published papers on health and safety governance, mindfulness, and mental health.

Simona Mazat, Lead, CEO Programs, Events & Promotions at Workplace Safety & Prevention Services explains, “CEOs attend our events to share their experiences, insights and best practices with one another. The white papers we produce feature highlights of those conversations, as well as additional research and resources to support our readers. Our goal is to provide relevant and timely information, and ultimately, attract more CEOs to participate.”

Like any communication tactic, the decision to produce white papers should be based on the needs and interests of your customers, your organizational goals and objectives, and the nature of the content you have to share.

In the Content Marketing Institute’s research, 60% of respondents identified producing engaging content as their top challenge. If you’re in the same boat, why not contact Fresh? I can help.



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