Research and surveys done for the Content Marketing Institute’s Annual Report found that customers have become skeptical of a lot of the content that’s been published. It takes more proof and more effort to convince readers that content is providing valid and valuable information.
I’m certain you’d agree that trust and truth are crucial in B2B’s long sales cycle. And if there is one content form that could counter this mistrust, it would be white papers. White papers are like a source of truth. They minimize doubts, simplify information, and provide facts.
In this article, I’d like to share a few points on why B2B companies need more white papers and some top ways to pitch white papers to clients, so you earn and get more work. Plus, a few highlights on what to put in a pitch!
Why B2B Companies Need More White Papers
Did you know? In the last 12 months, the most successful content marketers were 67% more likely to have used white papers as part of their strategy. And when asked to pick which B2B content assets produced the best results, 47% of marketers said research reports and 48% said white papers were in that mix.
Also, a 2022 trends report says B2B companies plan to assign 9% more budget to spend on content marketing efforts.
Now, what does this tell us?
One, white papers are working well. Two, in a situation of lingering mistrust, there is a need for trustworthy content. Three, white papers are the bridge to fill this gap.
B2B companies need more white papers because…
- They build trust. Businesses can distinguish themselves as experts.
- They are perceived as being more truthful. Backed by research, statistics, and facts, businesses establish themselves as an authority.
- They help B2B decision-makers decide. Clients can mull over, brainstorm, share, and analyze complex content.
- They give information. White papers simplify complex subjects and help readers understand what they need to know.
- They support B2B buying decisions by validating a product choice and purchase decision in a structured way.
- White papers attract quality leads. Only B2B clients who are serious buyers would invest in reviewing a white paper. This is a no-brainer!
Now that we know why B2B companies need them, here are some top ways to pitch white papers.
Top Ways to Pitch, Earn, and Get More Work with White Papers
AWAI’s Copywriting Pricing Guide highlights that writing white papers could net you between $2,000 and $10,000. And sometimes more than $10,000. Does that sound good or what?! Now, here are some top ways to pitch white papers to potential clients…
1. Create some ‘samples’ of white papers.
Research your target industry’s businesses. Narrow down their products. And write a sample white paper about a pseudo-product or a product they already have.
Add it to your portfolio. Share it with prospective clients.
If possible, try creating white paper samples in two or three formats for different products. As shared by That White Paper Guy, Gordon Graham, in his White Paper Certification ─ the vanilla, strawberry, and chocolate formats work well.
2. Identify B2B products that need white papers.
Keep a close tab on B2B companies in your niche/industry, especially if they’re new or smaller companies. Find products that are new, expensive, complex, or solving a problem, as Gordon Graham suggests. They are often the most suitable candidates for a white paper.
Keep track of key attendees from online summits or conferences. Or find the right contacts using LinkedIn. Do your homework. Find prospective clients and pitch a white paper highlighting why specific products need them.
3. Create white paper templates and share them.
Based on your niche, do some more research. Then, create custom white paper templates. Use dummy content of a make-believe product in these templates.
Share these templates on your social media or website. Highlight the benefits of each template. These templates will position you as a professional. And you could attract prospective clients.
Use the templates as a funnel to gather prospective client email addresses. Follow up and pitch white papers in a way beneficial to their business.
4. Help your client save on budget. Make it a win-win.
No, I’m not saying to lower your rate or work for less.
If the client has limited budget but is looking for powerful content, you pitch a white paper. Not an article, a listicle, or any other but a white paper which is authoritative and can reap long-term benefits. Also, share how the same content can be repurposed, later on, when they have the budget for it. When you plan ahead of time to repurpose content, you create a more effective content strategy.
So, what’s the win-win?
For you —
The first win is having written a white paper and getting paid for it; the second win is getting more work, more earnings in the future when you are hired to repurpose the content.
For your client —
The first win is getting a white paper done by you. You’ve invested time and effort to write an effective white paper that will generate leads for your client.
The second win is getting repurposed content from you; which means the consistency of content style and branding would be maintained.
Plus, the client will not have the hassle of hiring someone new to help in their progressing content needs.
5. Competitor scan.
Scan and gather info on what the competition is doing. And then, pitch your client for a comprehensive white paper. This works like a charm especially when the competition has not yet invested in a white paper.
What to put in a typical pitch?
- Make your pitch warm and less formal. Connect to the human side of your prospective client.
- Make it a succinct summary and don’t make it salesy!
- Highlight the need for a white paper by correlating to their product/service.
- Do your research and establish what that need is. Is their product new, expensive, complex, or solving a problem, or does it offer any other new perspective that needs simplifying?
- Substantiate how a white paper could be an essential for this need.
- Give pointers on how the white paper will help B2B prospects understand about the product/service.
- Highlight the benefits of a white paper. For example, how it will simplify the product features, save on time, get demo requests quickly, more consultation calls, or the like — based on your research.
- Help your prospect visualize a sample white paper by sharing a fitting template. Use it as a lead magnet to get a buy-in.
- In the end, give your professional background that supports why you are the right person to write that white paper.
- Share your portfolio.
White papers are powerful content forms that reinforce trust. They must be used by B2B companies.
Be on the lookout for specifics that flag a need for a white paper. Do your research and define your pitch. White papers do take time. But this time is worth nurturing your clients’ personal brand and your own.
Once the ball gets rolling, enjoy the perks of writing white papers and share your experience with us!