Whitepapers – the radio star who won’t die
At the risk of dating myself, have you heard the late 70s song Video Killed the Radio Star? I am reminded of it every time I hear proclamations of how the internet or social media has irrevocably changed marketing and sales.
“Do you create video datasheets?” a prospective customer asked me in a recent sales call. “We’ve got the basics covered,” he continued. In this instance, the customer referred to their existing collection of case studies, customer success stories, data sheets, business and technical white papers as the basics. Unlike this prospect, most customers and prospects we come across haven’t got their basics covered.
All the noise about social media and how it is going to change marketing as we know it has only added to the confusion of B2B marketers. Before you try to leverage your Twitter or Facebook presence, getting the basics right is important. Yep, the need to cover the basics has not gone away. If anything your 140-character tweet or short blog post better be backed up by good old content – content that’s useful to the reader and helps position your company and its offerings appropriately. One of the best ways of doing this is with white papers.
A good white paper helps
- Educate the reader about a situation or a problem in simple and clear terms
- Explain potential solutions or alternatives for the problem or opportunity
- Ideally provides a framework or checklist for the reader to make a choice amongst the alternatives
If you do the above well, you will achieve the following benefits for yourself
- Thought leadership – where prospects and customers will look to you for leadership
- Better leads resulting in faster sales – because educated customers make better buyers
- Improved competitiveness – as customers see your offerings in the larger context of their challenges
Much as radio has survived the video revolution and adapted and thrived in the internet era, so too white papers continue to be relevant and critical in your B2B marketing tool kit.