White papers: Working hard or hardly working?
White papers. They’re the content you love to hate. Writers often dread them, designers all but disown them and yet—against all odds—people still read them. Why? Because white papers are a rich source of information. In a world where content is king, white papers must surely reign supreme.
So why the nagging resistance every time another white paper project comes up? Let’s face it: for all the hard work that goes into producing a quality white paper, it could be working a lot harder for you. You can’t optimize a white paper for web search engines, you can’t track whether people actually read them, you can’t infuse them with your brand’s personality, and you can’t parse them into easily consumable, snack-size bites. In the age of digital transformation, white papers are the dinosaurs of the marketing world.
Maybe you’ve evolved from white papers to eBooks, and that’s a step in the right direction, as it does address the white paper’s visual shortcomings and general long-windedness. But eBooks tend to appear early in the customer journey and are most effective at setting up the problem and the need for a solution. Deals are rarely if ever driven by an eBook, although they can often drive decision makers to the next step in the sales funnel, which—you guessed it—may very well be a white paper.
Now, maybe you haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about the value of white papers. It’s such a standard tool in the technology marketing arsenal that veteran product marketers often don’t question the need for one. But we’ve thought about it, a lot, because white papers represent a significant investment of time and money, and we need to be able to show our clients the return on that investment. Telling a client that a white paper was downloaded X number of times—but not being able to tell them whether anyone actually read it— simply isn’t a compelling ROI story.
But what if a white paper could do more, like track user engagement, drive more traffic to your website, provide insights into what your customers are thinking, tap into your social media presence, capture your brand’s personality and showcase some of your strongest marketing assets? What if it combined information with interaction using multimedia marketing? Then you’d have a white paper that made really intelligent use of all the marketing tactics at your disposal… a SmarterPaper.
At Somnio, we developed the SmarterPaper to bring rich content to life:
- To increase engagement by bringing dynamic content, videos, graphics and polls into a multimedia mix;
- To scale easily across multiple audiences, drawing in both technical and non-technical readers with flexible, selectable content that delivers a personalized reading experience;
- To maximize your marketing spend with content that can be re-purposed in snack-size bites for social media, emails and ad campaigns;
- To get measurable results with KPI tracking that shows you who and how readers are engaging with your content.
Our clients trust SmarterPapers to work harder for them. One of our clients, for example, found that SmarterPapers fostered a better customer conversation around a broad range of security topics such as digital trust, security hygiene, threat hunting and protecting critical assets. As they put it,
“With Somnio SmarterPapers, we were able to stimulate and satiate all of the senses in the client journey from text to video, all in one place.”
So the next time you need to have a really deep conversation with your customers, don’t leave it to a white paper. Think Smarter.