White Papers – Positioning Papers
White papers are also known as positioning or proof papers and should typically be used to position your product/service or aspects of your product against the alternatives. Sometimes they can be controversial and can categorize all your competitors at once to completely deposition them (i.e., backing up to “tape” every 24 hours is a “worst practice, not a best” (when you have a hard-drive CDP product)). They are also critical for “market development,” where you might be a leader in your market and should expound the benefits of your entire category (i.e., Salesforce touting the benefits of cloud computing (SaaS)).
For example, if you have the world’s most rugged PC, then you would write a white paper on the merits of a rugged PC and the things to look for. You might also de-position another PC’s as consumer, semi-rugged, and even so-called rugged then define rugged (and yours may be the only one that meets all the criteria).
If you have an alternative to e-mail, you might extol the benefits of saved money, time and legal risk. If you have a new CRM that helps sell more, versus less (like most), then you could extol the benefits of call-centric features and show proof (numbers, benchmarks, examples, and testimonials).
A white paper is a chance to make your case.
White papers should spend enough time on the problem that it becomes self-evident, then they must contain proof and evidence that solves that problem. They should follow the “persuasive format,” with 1) attention, 2) credibility, 3) problem, 4) solution, 5) best solution, 6) overcoming objections and 7) step to actuate (close).
Examples of effective white papers that Chanimal helped create:
- WorkPlace Activity Management (PDF)
- TimetoReply_White Paper (PDF)
- The Case For A Call-Centric CRM (PDF)
- Put Out the Pain (PDF)
- Electronic Conversation Software (PDF)
Another from Gordan (see book below)
Read the above samples. If you are convinced to take action… they worked.
The one thing that white papers are not, is product slicks, ads or blatant promotional pieces. It is more powerful to identify the problems, show a solution (that obviously maps to the solution that one your products or service can provide), then include a brief, “brought to you by…: This is more credible and more subtle–and vastly more convincing.
You can also find out more about white papers by visiting, “That White Paper Guy.” Gordon has great resources including a good Q&A, articles, book reviews and more. Plus, he is the author of, “White Papers for Dummies.” The White Papers For Dummies Cheat Sheet is a helpful resource. With over 170 white papers under his belt, he is one of the recognized white paper gurus.
Where to Publish your White Paper?
Of course, you will want to offer a download of your white paper at your website–usually with basic contact info so it generates a lead. You can also publish it for free or for pay. Following are some locations to consider (free to consumers–many will send you leads if you pay):
- Tech Republic. Basic posting at no charge.
- Ziff David Web Buyers Guide. No cost. I get their e-mail daily listing new white papers.
- Bitpipe. Paid placement–higher price can garner best placement. Generates leads for vendors.
- Chanimal. Free posting of channel-related white papers.
For additional locations to post your white paper, type “’your product category’ white paper” into Google and see what comes up. Some categories have their own white paper repositories. Plus, you’ll be able to see how your competitors list their white papers.
How to Promote
Following are other ways to promote your white papers–directly from, “White Papers for Dummies,”
- Feature it on your website
- Mention it in a company newsletters
- Email your sales force, channel, and opt-in list
- Tweet it on Twitter
- Blog about it
- Announce it to LinkedIn groups, Facebook, and Google+ pages
- Publish a press release
- Sent it to the relevant journalist
- Send it to targeted bloggers
- Mention it in your signature line
- Create a webinar around the content