Marketing a B2B white paper to drive more leads
Without sufficient promotion, a great white paper can’t generate leads. In order to get the paper in front of as many (relevant) eyeballs as possible, consider the following marketing ideas.
- Target existing list. Past clients and warm prospects should always receive an update when a substantial piece of content is published. These individuals are the lifeblood of your referral business and may point peers and colleagues to your work. As well, if the subject matter has been thoughtfully determined based on what your prospects are asking for or struggling with, they’ll gladly re-engage. A new piece can jump start stagnated pipeline conversations too.
- Send out a press release. Using a PR service offers the two-fold benefit of improving search performance for organic lead generation and adding credibility to your white paper release. For added effectiveness, use C-suite quotes to create a compelling summary of the paper. What I mean is this: Often, companies will wrap up their press release with a dense paragraph of text summarizing the paper. Instead, fold the summary into a two to three sentence quote from the CEO. Or spread the summary across the paper with quotes attributed to your leadership. Readers gravitate toward human elements in copy.
- Create a YouTube promo (and cross post it). A thirty second screen capture or promo video can improve a white paper’s search visibility and creates a simple way for a curious prospect to learn more…but companies rarely take this step. What is more likely behavior from an unsure prospect: navigate to a landing page and give away contact info for a paper they might find useful? Or, play a teaser video they find via Google or posted to LinkedIn with a brief narration of the paper? Marketers are always looking for ways to get prospects to commit, even a little. Clicking a short video is low-hanging fruit for engagement – and improves the likelihood of them taking the next step to download.
- Use a white paper syndication service. While you shouldn’t depend on syndication sites for massive lead gen, for some niches, they have a place. TechRepublic offers one such service and its brand carries cache. When you list there, your paper sits alongside work from tech juggernauts like AWS, Cisco and Dell. Here too, white papers are easily sorted by topic and industry.
- Tell your sales team! Sometimes communication between marketing and sales is subpar. The marketing team and/or white paper writers may be creating great resources that sales never learns about. Prior to a paper’s release consider teeing up a notification email to the sales team or company. Offer a summary of the paper, two to three compelling takeaways and the target audience persona for the paper (for example: VP level or higher IT executive that is struggling to manage internal SaaS licenses, security and costs at mid-sized enterprise). Be sure to include where you want sales to direct prospects to and provide a link to a landing page or to wherever the white paper is located.
- Guest post or share excerpts. Popular news hubs and industry sites are hungry for content. Publishing sites like Medium.com also curate relevant news. They have editorial contacts searching for newsworthy insights. As most marketers know, filling an editorial calendar with interesting content is challenging. Consider summarizing useful takeaways from your whitepaper into a blog or article and share it with an industry news site (or even the blog of a peer company that sells a complementary product or service). In your outreach email, make it clear what the benefit to the site’s readers is. Otherwise you may sound too self-interested.
- Create a landing page and compelling hook. I prefer guiding prospects to a dedicated landing page to access a white paper for a few key reasons. Critically, the landing page can feature more specific, compelling text than traditional website copy. Website copy, by nature, needs to have broader (read: more generic) appeal. Prospects will also sense that the white paper is special because it’s given its own web real estate. On the landing page you’ll prominently feature the prospects’ pain point – you’re writing a white paper to guide research of a pressing problem after all! The landing page lets you work rhythmically through problem identification, problem agitation, overcoming objections and showcasing value. All of this is wrapped in promotional language that appeals to the intended audience. With landing pages, you can create and test multiple variants of text and formatting too. Pair these with paid, referred traffic from Facebook or LinkedIn to optimize traffic sources and messaging over time too.
The tactics you ultimately choose will be influenced by your target audience. Similarly, you will want to take advantage of SEO, keywords and organic search to capture prospects too. When doing this, balance the potential for search engines to find and index your content versus keeping it gated to capture contact info.
Be sure to also read my article on hiring a white paper writer.