Do you have a unique answer to a common problem in your business or industry? If so, have you considered publishing a white paper?
White papers are published documents that describe problems common to a particular business or industry and how to solve them. They are really a cross between a sales brochure and a magazine article.
White Papers are typically used to market high priced, complex products or services that require multiple decision makers.
White papers are usually 5 to 8 pages in length. Multiple studies have shown where white papers are greater than 8 pages in length, readership quickly declines. However, technical white papers can go up to 15 or 20 pages.
OK. Let’s set up an example. Suppose you are a landscape maintenance company in Florida specializing in golf courses.
Florida is a unique place. I know. I lived there for 40 years. Florida has a large variety of bugs and diseases that will destroy your lawn in a heartbeat. Golf courses are constantly battling to keep these pests from obliterating their fairways and greens.
Add to this the problem of water. Florida has two seasons. Wet and dry. Orlando, in Central Florida, averages 53.19 inches of rain per year. 62% of that comes in the five month rainy season, June through October. Your grass has to be able to absorb torrential rains in the summer, and near drought the rest of the year.
Now let’s suppose you’ve developed a turf maintenance program that addresses these issues. Your program uses organic, bio-degradable, chemicals to keep pests and diseases in check. In addition you have developed a strain of drought resistant grass that shrugs off excess rain.
The payoff (pun intended)? Your system costs 40% less than normal turf management systems.
This situation is perfect for a white paper
White papers typically have three parts. The problem part, the solution part, and the sales part.
White papers must do three things:
In the problem description part, you must get the reader to say , “Yes this happens to me”.
In our example, the reader should nod and and smile in agreement as you describe what your fairway looks like when it’s infested with chinch bugs.
In the solution part, you should interview outside experts on various aspects of the problem. Get them to describe potential solutions. Get them to talk about the benefits of organic, bio-degradable chemicals. Get them to describe the benefits of drought resistant grass.
These two sections will take up 6 to 7 of your 8 pages.
Your sales pitch comes at the end. This should be a very low pressure approach. You don’t want a hard sell here. It’s enough to describe your unique approach to the problem and provide contact information for further consultation.
The best way to promote your white paper is to offer it as a free download either on your website, or in a blog. You could also offer it as a free download in an email promotion to a list of target clients.