White Paper Writing: The Dos and Don’ts
White paper demand continues to be strong for both insurance organizations and for technology companies that serve the insurance industry. If you don’t offer a white paper on your website yet, now is the time to get one on board.
Why? Because white papers are essential for moving empowered buyers through the buying cycle.
Wondering WHAT in the heck a white paper is? Wikipedia defines it as: “An authoritative report or guide that helps readers understand an issue, solve a problem or make a decision.” In the past, white papers were primarily used in business to business marketing, but these days, they’re finding a place in consumer marketing channels as well.
Thanks to the Internet, we now live in a time of empowered buying. Buyers appreciate the opportunity to conduct their own research and to gather information to make informed buying decisions. They’re no longer satisfied with blindly trusting whatever sales professionals tell them.
As you think through your white paper strategy, here are a few Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind:
WHITE PAPER WRITING DOs:
- Do deploy a catchy engaging headline.
- Do avoid jargon and tech speak. Keep it simple and engaging.
- Do professionally write and design your white paper so it reflects your company brand.
- Do add an “About Your Company” page to the end.
- Do use different types of white papers for different purposes. For example, use high level white papers on your home page to generate top of funnel conversions. Use more detailed white papers deeper in your site to generate bottom of funnel conversions from more serious buyers.
- Do use a landing page and require the prospect to provide you with some minimal information in order to attain the download. Prospects expect to give a little to get something of value.
- Do keep it short. It’s far better to offer three different white papers that are five pages each, than one white paper that is 15 pages. Break down your topics into quick hits of easily digestible information.
- Do promote your white paper as often as possible with calls to action on your blog articles and in your social posts. Also use call to action buttons throughout your website to promote white paper downloads.
- Do make sure your white paper topic is relevant to the services you provide.
- Do include a copyright as well as your contact information in the footer of every page of the white paper.
WHITE PAPER WRITING DONTs:
- Don’t use your insurance white paper as a sales pitch. The purpose is to talk about an industry problem/solution in general terms. As mentioned above, you can add one “about” page to the end to highlight your company’s value propositions.
- Don’t make your white paper like an encyclopedia. This isn’t where you tell everything you know. It’s where you highlight your knowledge on one topic in an entertaining, understandable way. 1,500 to 3,500 words is usually sufficient.
- Don’t give your white paper away without requiring anything in return. This is valuable information. Require prospects to complete a short form before they complete the download.