When it comes to getting the word out about your solutions, you have a lot of options for content publishing, from white papers to case studies to eBooks. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and each can work to deliver your goals and objectives if you take the time to understand them.
Businesses use white papers to engage with their audience and industries by teaching new information using a lot of facts and figures to influence the audience. White papers are valuable educational materials that can be used internally and externally and work in both businesses to business (B2B) and business to customer (B2C) situations. White papers drive top of the funnel needs by quickly improving awareness of the problem and the solution you offer.
Case studies prove your assertions by using facts, figures, and visuals to drive home what has worked for a given customer. Case studies show through storytelling, moving from problem to solution that gives the background and the results in a compelling way. Case studies are very effective because they easily illustrate the effectiveness of a solution using hard data.
eBooks aren’t hard-selling documents. They usually take a short time to create, can be marketed easily, and are valuable to most audiences, whether they are B2B or B2C. They are cost-effective and easy to compile. For example, you can sassily create an eBook from previously written blog posts that tie together and deliver a message. You can include URLs and encourage your audience to get on your list, join your communities, and buy your products and use your services – all through eBooks.
These three content types are well-known yet subtle marketing tools that you need to use to ensure that your content marketing strategy will be successful. Plus, every single piece of marketing collateral you create can be reused, repurposed, and reformatted to increase the return on investment exponentially for all three types of long-form content marketing, while grabbing your audience’s attention and keeping it due to the design and information inside.
What Is Included in a White Paper?
A white paper is a datacentric multipage document that is written in a formal way, helping the reader understand the issue, solve their problems, or make the right choices. A white paper (sometimes written “whitepaper”) uses a lot of research and data to persuade the readers on behalf of a specific recommendation or solution.
A white paper is a great way to showcase your expertise and to market yourself to your audience without being in high pressured sales mode. Instead, you provide information that highlights the expertise, knowledge, and value of the solutions you are recommending.
Choosing Your Topic
When you decide that you want to create a white paper for marketing purposes and educational purposes for your business, it’s imperative that you first choose a good topic. Like anything else, when choosing a topic, you want to consider your audience and your expertise, and you want to create a white paper that is focused on the solution for the one specific problem that you’re highlighting within the white paper.
Preparing Your White Paper
A white paper needs to include a lot of data and research to make it a true white paper. Therefore, to prepare you need to conduct comprehensive research that includes references from internal documentation as well as industry resources that are authoritative in nature as well as reliable and credible. It will help to create a thorough outline or mind map (depending upon your preference) to ensure that you include all the information needed.
Formatting Your White Paper
The format of a white paper is consistent with most business reports and documentation, with the addition of a conclusion that is more of a recommendation at the end to guide readers toward making a purchase.
White papers take a considerable amount of time to research, develop, and complete. However, a good white paper can increase opportunities for your business and makes for great evergreen content that you can use throughout your content marketing efforts. This makes the hard work totally worth it in terms of your return on investment.
Sometimes the conclusion for a business report is written at the beginning of the document, but in the case of a white paper, the conclusion or thoughts and opinions of the writers are placed at the end. The final section is supposed to be the deciding moment for the reader, and the white paper takes the reader on a journey through awareness, consideration, and decision right in one report.
The main point is that you need to make your white paper persuasive and easy to understand for the reader. For this reason, you’ll need to format the document in an orderly way by choosing an accurate title, including an abstract or brief overview of the white paper’s main points, and so forth, which allows the reader to understand that this is the right document for them to read.
Then you need to state the problem and provide background information; all the original research, secondary research, and information should be communicated here. Finally, you’ll want to offer up the solution at the point of decision making, along with the major findings repeated in the conclusion. Of course, always provide a list of references. It helps to follow industry guidelines on formatting, using either MLA or APA citation formats.
White papers take a lot of understanding and knowledge of research methods, data collection, and subject matter expertise. Investing in creating white papers will pay off, though, in many ways (as mentioned before), because its content that can be reused, repurposed, and reformatted for use all throughout your marketing funnel.
What Is Included in a Case Study?
Another way to present information to your audience is through a case study. Case studies provide analysis of a specific business problem and then compare the results of using specific solutions, ultimately designed to promote one solution that the evidence shows is the most effective.
Why Use a Case Study?
A well-designed case study will increase your credibility, showcase your success, and provide a lot of content that you can use in other areas by repurposing the information.
Case studies illustrate to the reader how you or the subject created success in their specific situation using your recommended or self-created solution. They build trust through storytelling and are based on positivity and success.
A well-designed case study will include:
- Subject Matter Description – Your customer’s demographics, pain points, and problems, and experiences up until the breakthrough, are good ways to explain all the background before the subject used the solution, including perhaps trying other solutions.
- The Subject’s Goal – It’s imperative to know what the subject’s goals were as they figure out and find the real solution to their problem. Explaining the goal in the way SMART goals are created is imperative here, so that they see how it all works.
- The Subject’s Hypothesis – Once you explain the goal and the strategy that will be implemented based on the goal, it’s important that the reader also understands what was expected to be the results versus what they actually were.
- How the Subject Implemented the Strategy – Show the reader how the subject implemented the strategy in a step-by-step way because this is something that is often repeatable, and learning this process will help and engage your audience.
- What the Subject Experienced after Implementation – Give a lot of detail about the results using numbers, data, and comparisons of “before and after” the solution, so that it’s clear that the results were amazing after implementation of the solution.
- The Concluding Findings – Coming back to how it was before, and what it’s like after implementing the solution, is a great way to showcase the results again. Highlight more information about how this solution will work for other people, too, and why.
Formatting a Case Study
The format of a case study is important because it should be designed for your audience and deliver the information to them in the way that they best understand and like to receive the information.
- Title and Subtitle – You may want to wait until you’ve finished to make the final title and subtitle. It should be succinct and to the point but also elaborate on the results in the subtitle.
- Executive Summary – This is information about you and your business and background about how and why you developed the solution you did. This should be designed based on how your audience sees it and not as a sales page. Just a paragraph and some relevant bullet points that point to your success.
- About the Subject – Always include a summary of everything you can about the subject matter or person you’re doing the case study about. Include their business profile, links to their information, and background info about them so that the audience will grow to care about the subject.
- SWOT – Include a few paragraphs about the problem the subject had prior to using your solution, and the goals and objectives they wanted to achieve before finding the solution. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats the subject was experiencing is an important decision-making point to expand upon.
- About the Solution and How It Worked – Include some paragraphs, testimonials, and other information that shows exactly how your solution specifically benefited the subject the case study is regarding. Always use numbers and data here to quantify the contributions your solution made that impacted the results.
- The Impact or Results of the Solution Defined in Terms the Audience Understands – Remember to focus on the impact and results of the solution over everything else. Use terminology that you know affects how your audience feels and acts.
- Amazing Supporting Facts, Quotes, and Visuals – Of course, throughout the case study, include different types of content that help make boring information palatable. Graphs, charts, quotes, and facts go a long way when they’re beautiful visually.
- Your Call to Action – Some people will say that not all case studies need a CTA, but if you don’t put one, your readers will not act on what they’ve consumed. CTAs are essential to help your audience get their results and essential for you to ensure that your audience is activated. Invite them to join your list, go to a landing page for more info, or to a shopping cart to get the product or service now.
The main point of a case study is to showcase your solution for the problem and how it’s better than others, and why using all the data they’ve collected during their process to demonstrate to the audience how the solution works and why it works too.
What Is Included in an eBook?
The simplest of the three types of long-form content marketing options that we’re discussing is the eBook. You can use eBooks to capture more subscribers, as a way to reuse content you’ve already created, a place to tell a compelling story, and as a way to get more content on more marketing channels – as well as to deliver a variety of content to your audience at every step of their buying journey.
Reasons to Publish eBooks and Why It Works
An ebook is an excellent way to compile, publish, and share information to your audience that allows you to cover a topic more in-depth than even a long-form blog post will allow. An eBook can provide a content upgrade that brings your audience to your list and provides amazing value, and it’s in a sharable format that your audience will be happy to share, thus helping you build your list even bigger.
To create a well-designed eBook, you’ll need to:
- Know the Goal of the eBook – Before you even pick a title to the eBook, you need to understand what the goals you have for it are on two fronts. One, what do you hope to accomplish by publishing the eBook? Do you want more email list members, or are you trying to build your private community? Secondly, what is the point of the book from the audience’s perspective? It must be about educating, informing, and engaging with your audience that doesn’t make it obvious that you’re selling something to them or that you’re publishing this book to build your email list. Sure, that’s why from your perspective, but for them, it has to be a lot more compelling than your email list.
- Choose the Right Topic – The topic of the eBook is informed by the goals you have for the eBook from your audience’s perspective. Where are they in the buying journey? Where are they inside your marketing funnel? Where do you want them to be, and what information is needed to get there?
- Create a Compelling Title – Based on the information you’re going to include in the eBook, you need to create a compelling title that tells your audience what to expect if they download and read this eBook. Don’t be too clever and tricky with titles; be straightforward using keywords and topics that are of interest to your audience.
- Outline and Organize the Chapters – Once you know what you want to talk about, you’ll need to create your outline and organize the chapters in a logical format designed to take them through the buying journey, depending on who the target is.
- Write Each Chapter – When you have an outline, you don’t even have to work on the eBook in order. You can outsource parts, use information from PLR (private label rights content), and other sources to fill out the information for each chapter of your eBook.
- Format and Edit the eBook – Once the eBook is complete, it’s time to format and edit it. Formatting and editing ensure that the eBook is easily readable and takes into consideration the design based on who is reading it and where they’re reading it.
- Add Attention-Grabbing Graphics – As you go through and edit the eBook, you’ll need to note places where graphics can help draw attention to or explain a difficult concept better. Have these graphics designed and then added to the eBook so that the information is more understandable to the audience.
- Include Other Design Elements – Consider adding interesting typography, colors, drop text, arrows, and other features and design elements that will take your eBook from plain to exciting.
- Include a CTA (call to action) – Every single eBook should include at the end or the beginning or both (and sometimes in the middle if it’s long) a call to action of some form that takes them to the next level in their buying journey.
- Create a Converting Landing Page – Every single eBook, eReport, or product you create, whether free or for a price, needs to have at least one specialized landing page just for that thing.
- Promote Your eBook – Once it’s done, you have to promote it just like you would any other product or service. Therefore, you need to create promotional materials such as graphics, memes, blog posts, sales pages, landing pages, and advertising copy and graphics.
Writing an eBook is a lot simpler than you may think. It’s simply designed and organized using an outline or a mind map to ensure you don’t miss out any of the information that you want to share with them.