You’ve probably seen white papers floating around the internet or in your inboxes. Since the early 90’s, white papers have been used as tools for B2B marketing. The first official white paper, however, was thought to be the Churchill White Paper of 1922, a document in which the British intent of establishing a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine was announced. White papers began as government documents that set forth an official, responsible decision and declared these findings to the public. White papers are produced because someone, somewhere, is zealous about a cause. And this vigor makes all the difference.
There are three main types of white papers as used in B2B marketing:
- Background: A Background white paper describes a certain businesses’ product, service, or cause. Most often these white papers are used to support a product launch.
- Numbered List: A Numbered List white paper is mostly used to grab attention, start conversation, and sometimes stir the pot by giving a list of questions, facts, and tips regarding a certain business proposal or solution. Often competitor statistics and opinions are cited.
- Problem/Solution: A Problem/Solution white paper does exactly as it says it does: it diagnoses a common problem businesses are running into, and then it proposes a specific solution.
Last week, I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts this week called “The Story” and it was an interview with Sue Gardner, the director of the Wikimedia Foundation. She began working at the Wikimedia Foundation in 2007 when she came across the Wikipedia article that was being updated in real-time regarding the Virginia Tech shooting. At the time, she worked for CBC and was astounded that the Wikipedia article was more informed than the major news networks. Although Wikipedia is not everyone’s favorite source, and some may prefer a published encyclopedia, Wikipedia brings something to the table that no other source does. It’s an example of what can happen when the aggregators of a certain topic, who are passionate about informing the public, come together and create something great.
- Wikipedia has more than 85,000 volunteer regular writers and editors
- The majority of the writers on Wikipedia are graduate students, from literate, wealthy countries
- Wikipedia is the 5th most popular website in the entire world
Similarly, white papers are produced by a team of people who know their stuff. White papers are a unique resource that is reliable, trustworthy, and can help you and your team make important business decisions and find solutions. Here are a few reasons why:
Written by the experts in the field, white papers offer a level of expertise and facts that are lacking in social media, google searches and sometimes even blog posts.
It will speak to the problems that you are facing. Wikipedia has become more popular for major news stories than online news sites, because people are interested into today’s conversations. Your are interested in solutions for today’s issues, and white papers provide well researched and thought out solutions.
White papers are resources that can be referenced, and used for making decisions that your company is facing. White papers provide a trustworthy resource for your whole company to use when facing a new challenge.
Wikipedia and white papers have a few things in common. While one is an encyclopedia, and the other one an article, in purpose and mission, they both stand for something much greater:
- Education: The information is written by passionate people who want to help inform the world. The main goal is to help solve a problem and assist in people making informed decisions in today’s culture.
- Truth: The information in these articles is generally reliable, and put together from the world at large, with fact checking in place so that it remains neutral and responsible.
- Non-Biased: Because problem/solution white papers are based on research and not opinion, they offer real statistics regarding an issue and provide a well thought out solution to the problem. Sure, it’s still an opinion, but it’s not fueled by an increase in sales.
White papers offer an opportunity to peek into the minds of other thought leaders and understand how they run their business or what solutions they are proposing. White papers help us to find a solution to a problem your business may be facing. Of course, these papers can be used for marketing purposes, but true to the beginnings of white papers, the purpose of these papers are to put out a responsible, well thought out, list of information to the general public about a solution to a common problem.
What problems are you facing today that you need some sage advice from the experts? We can help you find resources and solutions to the technology needs you have. Whether it be solutions, resources, or consultation, we are here for you. Start by filling out a free complimentary review and we can walk through solutions together!