White Paper Publishing – All You Need to Know for B2B Content

by | Sep 21, 2020 | Blog

White papers send an important message to your competition and customers; we are industry experts and we are ready to be leaders.

What is a White Paper?

A white paper is your opportunity to communicate the core ideas, developments, policies, trends, and other information about your industry. They are an opportunity for your company to prove authority in a chosen niche. Written as long-form content, white papers intended to educate your target audience with insights, data analysis, and discussion.

Companies, public institutions, governments, universities, and individuals publish white papers to address an industry problem to propose their solution. This is done to improve the visibility of the solution and propel the idea into the forefront of development.

According to reports, white papers are one of the top four most effective types of marketing collateral preferred by 71% of companies.

White papers take time and often cost significant money. However, the payoff is also large, as the solution discussed can drive leads and put your company in the position of an industry leader.

The amount of time and money needs to be carefully considered before creating a white paper. Planning, stakeholder signoff, SEO strategy, value proposition, and ability to drive revenues are vital factors that need to be addressed before writing commences.

So how do you get started writing a B2B white paper? We’ve outlined the basics for you below:

White Paper Structure    2

The Ideal Length    2

Expert Writer    3

Do the Research    3

White Paper Design    3

Visual Stimulation    4

Launch Your White Paper    4

Distribution Plan    4

Landing Page    5

Posts to support and promote the paper    5

Request reviews    5

Email it to your subscribers    6

Industry Segmented Examples of White Papers    6

Logistics    6

SaaS    7

Marketing    7

White Paper Structure

As with all writing projects, the author must consider the best way to present the ideas to their target audience. While the structure of a white paper follows a standard format, including brief, body text, discussion points, and conclusion, the tone and style is ultimately the decision of the head writer. In many larger companies or public enterprises, a style guide would exist that dictates the finer points of writing to the editing team.

If you’re authoring a white paper on a new product, it is advisable to approach the task with the following in mind, describing:

  • the market opportunity
  • the deficiency of the right solution
  • the reason your product is the best

Some white papers will define the terminology even before the introduction, while others will annex it at the end. Most white papers communicate the core message at the beginning either in the form of an executive summary or a brief synopsis. Some use a case study to explain their views, while others demonstrate their solutions.

There is no right way to present a white paper. Consistency, clarity, and accuracy should be the main focus of your writing to ensure that you engage your audience and produce high-quality content.

The Ideal Length

While there is no actual length limit, what really matters is the value that your white paper offers your target audience.

If you set very specific questions, you need to ensure that you answer the questions in meaningful ways that add value to your audience’s experience.

For example, if your product reveals ‘6 surprising applications for AI’, you need to provide 6 examples, usually in paragraph form and highlighted bullet points, to allow your reader to skim, zone in on what is of most interest to them, and easily reiterate your ideas to another audience.

After all, your white paper is a sales tool, and your reader is usually the first link in the buyer journey, but not necessarily the decision-maker.

Expert Writer

A piece written by an expert on a subject will always be held in higher regard than a piece that cannot define its merits. An expert does not need to be someone of note, but a person who has a working knowledge of their field, and the ability to communicate the necessary points pertinent to your white paper.

Partnering with a leading academician or a client executive or an independent blogger to co-author your white paper is one way of inviting expert opinion to guide your paper.

The credibility the author or co-author of your work has, the more credibility your white paper will have, and the more likely it will be that it is shared and recognize as a paper of note.

Do the Research

If you have conducted research, publishing your findings in white papers is a great way to attract attention.

People search for data and statistics to present to better support or debase arguments. If you can provide data analysis for a specific market that has not been provided before, it can help your company to excel as an industry leader.

Your data need not be sensitive, but it does need to be accurate and relevant. If you publish data, graphs, findings, and other research-related material, other people will use it if it is timely, relevant, accurate, and well-presented.

White Paper Design

Many writers, marketers, and editors will disagree on the best way to present a white paper. There really are no rules, except being consistent. Understand how to write and apply a style guide, or if you don’t have one, download a free one from a university or newspaper and use their examples.

Most businesses in the private and public sectors will present their white paper much the same way a scientific paper is presented, with an executive summary, names of writers and co-writers, and bullet points at the beginning of the document, and the body text and conclusion follow.

However, as it is a piece that you are publishing, you need not follow any norms or conventions of writing, which is often expected from a submission given to a journal or record of note.

Visual Stimulation

One reason why marketers don’t see a high ROI on their white papers is the lack of visually engaging material.

Include infographics, images, charts, etc. to highlight points, as well as providing a takeaway for your target audience. These visuals have more than one use as well. They can form part of your social media campaign, launched to promote your white paper release to attract attention for all of your hard work.

Launch Your White Paper

Once you have established a publication date for your white paper, it is important to start promoting it. The time and money that goes into creating a white paper can be immense, so you do not want the piece to be ignored due to a lack of awareness.

In the weeks prior to the publication of your white paper, there are a few things that you can do to attract the attention of your target audience and excite the industry about your publication.

Distribution Plan

By setting a publication date, you can ensure that the white paper has been proofread, edited, formatted, and made ‘print’ ready by a certain deadline.

Deadlines are vital to the publishing of any material, and your white paper is no exception. A deadline means that everyone working on the project knows what is due when, and don’t feel overwhelmed by the task.

Your deadline will also help you to determine your distribution plan. If your white paper is due on September 20, the social media team will know to start promoting it on September 1. The marketing team will know that any hard copies of the white paper need to be submitted by September 21, and so on.

Landing Page

It’s good to publish your landing page about two weeks ahead of your white paper release date. The aim of the landing page is to get the contact details of the reader. That way, if a person comes across your white paper idea before it is published and they want to know more, you can email it to them directly.

Research shows that more than 80% of people will not return you a page that they found by ‘accident’. If you request their contact details, you can ensure that your white paper is sent to their mailbox, and you secure more leads.

After your paper has been [published, you can change the landing page CTA to say something like ‘download your free copy of our white paper here’ and request contact details at that time.

Posts to support and promote the paper

Use your social media accounts to let your audience know about your new paper. Tease them with graphs, questions, and shirt insights from your white paper.

You can also start discussions and encourage others to share your white paper by including polls or quizzes anticipating the results of your white paper.

Request reviews

If you know an expert on the subject or someone who has a popular blog in the same niche, make a preview copy available to them and ask them if they would write a review of your white paper and post it on their blog.

If you know influential industry experts, having them comment on your work, even if only briefly, can attract the right attention to your work, and broaden your audience. Such influence can also place you among the top echelon of industry experts if your white paper proves to be groundbreaking, exciting, or in some other way beneficial to your industry.

Email it to your subscribers

Be sure that your email contact list is segmented so that you send the white paper to those who want to read it, and a reminder to those who might have opted out of receiving them automatically, but might be interested in certain topics.

By sending your white paper to those who have requested it, you are letting your audience know that you value their interest in your company. Your insights are useful and people sign up for auto mailing lists to be informed about your business, rather than having to search for your latest insights or industry news.

Remember, we are all internet users in 2020. Everyone knows how to sign up for email lists, unsubscribe from junk, mark spam, and block tracking. If someone wants to engage with your business, they should be able to do it easily. Do not ignore audience requests for contact. It takes only 1 bad review for 5 more to follow that person out the door.

Industry Segmented Examples of White Papers


E-Commerce is Transforming B2B

DHL Express with Cranfield School of Management

Why is it worth a read?

This white paper is focused on understanding how e-commerce is supported by logistics and how the two industries must support each other to experience the predicted growth rates in the coming years.

The research reveals the need for B2B retailers to better understand the needs of customers and approach them with the same levels of customer care that B2C displays. There has been a shift in the dynamics of B2B interactions over the past 10 years, and those companies who do not see the change are in danger of losing business to competitors.


Personalization with Automation: The Complete Guide

SalesForce Pardot

Why is it worth a read?

The SaaS industry is always changing and B2Bs need to be aware of the opportunities they have to maximize ROI by simply using the tools that are available.

While many B2B companies neglect the importance of marketing, SaaS solutions have helped to transform B2B marketing, making it easier to redefine the sales journey, generate high-quality leads, and secure clients. This white paper delves into how SaaS is changing the B2B marketing landscape.


LinkedIn Solutions

Peer-Reviewed Submissions to LinkedIn

Why is it worth a read?

The LinkedIn marketing solutions page offers thousands of insightful blogs as well as white papers from professionals around the world. Some of this content you can only access if you are a professional in the same industry, while other content is widely available.

While some content on LinkedIn can be ‘fluffy’ at times, there is still much of worth, if you are willing to sift through and find resources from the industry professionals that you admire or want to learn more from.