How to Write a White Paper
for an IT Audience, Part 5:
Getting your paper in front of your target audience – without breaking the budget
This is Part 5 of our 5-part series covering all the steps required to write a quality white paper, from defining the target audience and creating a compelling package to getting it in the hands of prospects.
Read Part 1: How to define your target audience
Getting your paper in front of your target audience – without breaking the budget.
Welcome to the last section in your white paper journey. By now you’ve learned how to define your target audience and choose an appropriate topic (Part 1), assemble effective content (Part 2), present it in an inviting package (Part 3), and actually get it written (Part 4). Now comes what is arguably the most important part: getting the paper in front of your target audience so they actually read it and make your lead-generation efforts pay off.
White papers make great blog posts
One tried and true method for promoting your white paper is with blog posts. In fact, the paper itself can pull double-duty in this regard, acting as fodder for probably two or three blog posts as well as the call-to-action at the end of each one.
The idea is to pull out sections of the white paper and turn them into blog posts. If you decided to outsource the writing of the paper, it’s common for writers to offer to handle this for you, for a modest additional fee. Having just written the full paper, the writer is in a perfect position to pull out content that, with marginal tweaks, can be turned into one or more blog posts.
Promoting blog posts on social media
Once the blog posts are live on your site, you can use social media to promote them – repeatedly. Here again a contract writer should easily be able to suggest several out-takes from each post to use in your social media marketing efforts.
For IT topics, companies generally get good results promoting content on LinkedIn. You can post the same item to your corporate page and relevant LinkedIn groups, to get it in front of as many prospects as possible. Be sure to have whoever gets the blog post byline post it to his or her personal LinkedIn account as well, and again to any relevant groups. LinkedIn also offers a variety of paid ad formats, including Sponsored Content and InMail, to showcase your new content to a wider, yet highly focused, audience of prospects.
Twitter will likely be less fruitful but if your company or any individual executives have a healthy following, it’s worth posting there. With the right tools, you can post to both LinkedIn and Twitter at the same time, so it’s no more effort.
Buying eyeballs through syndication
Besides LinkedIn, another option for getting eyeballs on your white paper is syndication. Numerous companies are in the syndication business, with various approaches. But the basic idea is they have databases with contact information for a slew of potential prospects. You provide the criteria that describes your target audience – say, VP of IT or above at companies with 500 employees or more in North America – and the company will target that audience, typically via email. Recipients will be sent a description of your white paper and be asked to agree to part with some personal information (name, email address, for example) in order to receive it. You pay a predefined dollar amount for every lead you get. This approach can get pricey, with costs of $35 to $40 per lead or more. On the other hand, it could be well worth it if you get solid leads which convert to sales.
LinkedIn Lead Generation Ads offer a similar approach to syndication but can be less costly if you manage your campaign properly. This is basically an auction system, where you agree to pay a set amount to show prospects an ad for your white paper. The more you agree to pay, the higher the likelihood that your ad gets shown to a prospect vs. an ad targeting the same LinkedIn demographic from a different company – perhaps a competitor. But if you’re in something of a niche market, LinkedIn Ads can be quite cost-effective, because relatively speaking you won’t have to bid too high to get the audience you want. And as with syndication, you can define granular rules for target recipients – titles, company size, geography and specific companies (Account Based Marketing) if you like.
It’s a Wrap
Hopefully this series has given you a good idea of the steps involved in producing a quality white paper, one that will give your prospects the kind of insight into your company that puts you on top of their short lists.
If you decide to go the outsourcing route for your own paper, consider SaratogaB2B Group. With our long experience producing content for IT audiences, we know how to write papers that will hit the mark and resonate with your target audience.
Saratoga B2B has the added advantage of in-house search engine optimization (SEO) experience and LinkedIn marketing expertise. We know not only how to write an effective white paper, but how to build a lead-gen program that ensures the paper gets into the hands of qualified prospects. It’s a turnkey solution for filling your marketing funnel.
If you’ve got a project to discuss, or just have questions, feel free to contact us.