As a B2B-focused company, you’re primarily selling to other businesses who want to know exactly how your product or service solves their problems. There’s no better way to demonstrate your position as a problem-solver than by publishing a quality whitepaper. Whitepapers are the cornerstone to B2B marketing, with good reason — they build connections with other businesses through a compelling title, quality design, great copy, and reader-focused content.
A powerful title is the first impression that your reader gets of your whitepaper. It takes a split second for the reader to judge a title as lacklustre and move on, so make sure that your title generates curiosity and interest upon first sight. Use a call-to-action, and be specific about the problem and the solution. For example, a strong title is “Increase Your Revenue By Accepting Mobile Payments.” Try to avoid vague titles that don’t offer a benefit or solution to the reader.
The design side of your whitepaper is nearly as important as the title, because it’s the vehicle for your content. The presentation dictates whether readers find it easy to access or too difficult to bother with reading. Some tips for good whitepaper design include:
- Good use of white space
- Easy-to-read sans-serif font
- High contrast colour palette
- Crisp, clean photography and graphics
- Prominent branding (e.g. logo, colours)
- Smart placement of added content (e.g. hints, tips, quotes)
If you don’t already have a designer on staff, it makes sense to hire a freelancer or an agency with experience in whitepaper design.
Following basic copywriting principles helps ensure that your whitepaper content is easily digestible by your target audience. Your goal is a voice that’s professional, yet relatable to your reader. You also want to make sure that you’re straight to the point and that readers don’t get bored looking for the takeaway. Some best practices that apply to whitepapers include:
- Short, punchy sentences
- Varied sentence length and structure
- Use of headings and subheadings
- Bulleted lists
- Relatable voice
- Fluff-free writing
The title, design and copy style of your whitepaper are all in preparation for the actual content. Writing compelling content relies on following a structure, so consider outlining your whitepaper ahead of time. Designate sections by topic, and make sure that it moves in a linear fashion from one idea to the next. Include external sources that back up any statistics or claims that you make, and include quotations from thought leaders in your industry to increase your reader’s confidence.
Most importantly, your whitepaper content needs to be structured around your target audience’s problem and needs to provide a solution. All of the content in between must move the audience closer to the solution. Don’t include any content that doesn’t directly benefit the reader in some way. Whether your whitepaper is 100 pages or 10 pages, it should only be as long as it needs to be to cover the topic at hand. Otherwise, it could bore your readers or alienate your audience.