White papers are among the top content marketing materials business-to-business companies focus on developing. They allow companies to share their insight about industry-specific trends or issues, which can help the brand to position itself as a thought leader, thereby boosting its reputation among current and potential clients.
According to "B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America" from MarketingProfs and The Content Marketing Institute, 63 percent of marketing professionals surveyed reported white papers are part of their content marketing strategy. While these reports may not be the most heavily used content types among B2B marketing professionals, they can be extremely effective in resonating with target audiences. An infographic published on Business 2 Community stated 82 percent of B2B buyers who've shared content with colleagues have passed along white papers, the highest rate for any type of content, including case studies, videos and infographic.
White papers have the potential to reach so many B2B buy-side decision-makers, but only if they're relevant, innovative and thought-provoking. Creating a white paper requires extensive planning, research and organization. Determining which topic should be covered demands a thorough understanding of the target audience. Additionally, it's a good idea to include not only marketing, but company decision-makers and industry experts into the drafting process to craft a white paper that's as insightful as possible.