White papers work better than advertising when it comes to trying to convince customers and prospects to take action. That advantage is their perception of the trustworthiness of the material.
Like you, your customers and prospects are hungry for good information, but they’re also busy. On top of that, like most consumers (and even the most business-focused people are also consumers), they’re suspicious of advertising and other efforts that are obviously trying to make a sale. They’re looking for information and would rather not deal with hype.
White papers work better than advertising in sharing information
White papers are all about information and facts. People read them because they need to know something. Maybe they want to better understand a new technology they’ve heard about. Perhaps they’re desperately seeking a solution for a problem that’s hurting their business. Or it could be that they need support for a recommendation they’re making to their bosses. Whatever the reason, white papers provide trustworthy information, improving their perception of you and your company.
White papers aren’t brochures
Don’t confuse white papers with brochures. Brochures are usually colorful and designed to directly sell or promote your product or service. The copy is typically brief, providing just enough information to catch the reader’s attention and motivate them to learn more. In contrast, a white paper is a serious, non-promotional document intended to give readers the information they need to better understand something, find a solution to a product, or gather evidence to support a recommendation.
White papers are longer than ads
White papers are also longer. While a brochure might contain a couple hundred words, white papers are generally between 1500 and 5000 words, which typically works out to 6 to 20 printed pages. Don’t choose an arbitrary length. Instead, let the information drive the length, because the quality of information is more important than the quantity.