How Publishing White Papers Can Increase Your Revenue by 2500 Percent
by Jennifer Xue
A white paper is the epitome of business papers and can be quite expensive to produce. It could cost anywhere from a couple hundred dollars up to $1,000+ per page. A recent survey showed that $4,200 is the average fee for a seven-page white paper, or $600 per page.
Despite its high price, a white paper is worth every penny; it’s probably your best marketing tool for many years to come. For a few thousand dollars, you can use it for earning many times over. Imagine earning $300,000 or even $3,000,000 per year by using white papers for content marketing of your products.
According to US Census 2008, equipment manufacturers, scientific and technical service providers, and software and information providers used white papers in their B2B marketing. They sold these products and services: computers, medical devices, hardware companies, cars, lawn equipment, business and technical consulting, measuring, testing, accounting, advertising, interior design, landscaping, law firms, and others.
A total of 613,230 companies in the United States are in need of white paper writing services. Imagine how many businesses around the world are actually waiting to have their white papers written.
White papers were first published a century ago. Since that time, a “white paper” is much more technical than today’s. Governments and public think tanks published “white books” to inform and educate the public about their programs and progress.
Consultancy firms published white papers and global reports to influence the press and public opinions about important public trends and issues. The ultimate goal of publishing white papers is building credibility and increasing reputation.
Today, businesses utilize white papers as an important part of the so-called “content marketing,” which also rely heavily on credibility and reputation. After all, an effective marketing depends on the public’s favorable perception that compels them to buy.
For instance, if you’re in staffing agency business, you can publish a white paper about how to hire the best candidates for a job. If you’re in medical product business, publish a white paper about pros and cons of using a medical product.
If you’re in accounting software business, publish a white paper about how to reduce your taxes by using an accounting software that automatically calculate your tax obligations. If you’re in education business, publish a white paper about how the new technologies installed in the school would benefit students.
Next, you can use a white paper as a blue print that propels the whole online marketing campaign. You can base upon it to fuel a social media marketing campaign. Use its parts as Twitter tweets, Tumblr blog posts, and Facebook statuses. You can even link them to the whole paper for free download. Use it as a “bait” to generate leads.
The benefits of using white papers in a marketing campaign definitely outweigh the disadvantage of the high price of production.
First, for decades, governments, public agencies, and think tanks have been using white papers as standard documents, which are highly recognized and acceptable. For decades, people have perceived white papers favorably, thus it’s a classy and professional marketing tool that doesn’t preach nor pushy.
Second, white papers are relatively cheaper to produce than a full-blown advertisement campaign, so it’s relatively more cost-efficient and effective with excellent ROI. The cost of writing a white paper is more significant than writing a descriptive ebook, for sure. However, it’s still far cheaper than a full-blown advertisement campaign, which may include newspaper, TV, and PPC ads.
In one scenario, the cost of writing a white paper is $5,000. The paper is used for four years during the marketing of Software XYZ. This software is sold B2B for $250 per unit. In four years, 500 units were sold, totaling $125,000. It’s 2,500% ROI. Fantastic.
Third, white papers have long shelf life and readers usually save them for future reference. Just like other reference books, white papers are valuable. People return to them over and over again for a reliable information. So, make sure to include evergreen and basic information about an issue or a product.
If a billboard ad on the side of the freeway only has 30 seconds of your attention, a white paper has your full attention for as long as it needs. An informercial in a late-night show likely lasts for a few minutes to an hour of the show. An ad in a daily newspaper would last for a day, unless when the ad is scheduled to show multiple times. And these ads cost a fortune. Literally.
Fourth, white papers are flexible and can be designed to include infographics, charts, images, case studies, longform journalistic essay, and quotes from successful customers. As long as the tone is objective and the writing is professional.
Developing a profit-making white paper requires solid technical, journalistic, and copy writing skills. In general, you can develop it to target customers who belong to these three groups: anyone (laypeople), anyone interested in the issue or product (prospects), and analysts, journalists, and researchers (experts). Every audience group must be approached differently. For laypeople, you should focus on descriptions, for prospects focus on benefits, and for experts focus on industry-wide “bird’s eyes view” information.
A white paper becomes a profit-making tool when it builds recognition and gets attention for your issues, company, and products.
Image Credit: Pixabay