Blogging is the number one strategy used in today’s content marketing campaigns. However, sometimes a blog cannot provide the depth of knowledge you’d like.

White papers could be the solution. But white papers can be intimidating, and not all customers are receptive to exchanging an email or other contact information in order to receive them. What’s the solution to creating a white paper that your prospective customers what to read?

If you want to improve your content strategy to include white papers, follow these five rules:

Define the greatest problem faced by your consumers

What does your company really address? Say you’re a company that provides business IT services – you’re not just providing support for network issues, you’re helping business streamline multiple parts of their operations and communication with the outside world. When choosing your white paper topic, you don’t explain how to diagnose network errors. You talk about breaks in communication and tech-related operational issues, and how errors in the system can greatly impact business productivity.

Make it visionary, not reflective

The white paper should address problems that are currently afflicting your target audience, and how your solution will solve them if they take the next step with your company. Normally you don’t want to write a whitepaper that simply explains or provides multiple options for the consumer. The reader wants one clear solution, and you have the opportunity to decide for them what they should do next. If you articulated the problem effectively, you should easily be able to lead the customer towards the next step in the sales process.

Conduct thorough research

You want to give your readers a comprehensive understanding of the problem and solution. Because they will likely only absorb only a fraction of what they read, you will want to include a breadth and depth of knowledge for the reader to digest. You should conduct interviews, quote other publications covering the same topic, and show different perspectives when addressing the problem to provide more comprehensive data for your reader to use. Using this research, you can make a better case for readers to use your product or service.

Find the balance between professional and easy-to-read language

You don’t want your white paper to be too technical for your consumers, but you also want to convey an authoritative tone on the subject. Avoid using industry-specific jargon, but use professional terms rather than conversational language. When you write your white paper, think of the tone you would use to talk to a business associate or a customer over the phone.

Edit for content and context

Grammar mistakes aren’t the only thing you need to proofread for. When you go back through your whitepaper, does it answer all the questions you were trying to address at the beginning? Does it have a clear structure that your readers can easily follow and scan for the information they most need? You may want to rework or reorganize some of your content after writing the first draft to make it more clear.

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