How to write a Whitepaper that Claims your Government Customer’s Attention
A recent study has revealed that humans who use smartphones have shorter attention span than goldfish. Researchers surveyed 2,000 participants and conducted electroencephalograms on 112 others. The conclusion was that the average attention span had fallen from 12 seconds, in 2000 (when the mobile revolution began), to 8 seconds, in 2015.
This extremely short attention span is making it incredibly difficult for businesses to claim their customer’s attention. Despite the fact that government customers are generally receptive to in-depth content, many government agencies are faced with the challenge of capturing their interest in an over-saturated market of mediocre contractors.
So, what exactly can you do to reach them and promote your brand?
The answer is simple: provide value to customers. I am talking about the kind of value that will secure customer loyalty, attract business, and help you establish yourself as an expert.
What are White Papers?
Internet users, government customers, in particular, are always eager to learn. They find great value in educational material. Arguably the most powerful form of educational content is the white paper.
In case you are not familiar with the term, here is a short explanation: a white paper is a cross between brochure and article that helps people make decisions. It is also an exceptional lead generation tool. 74% of service companies rank white papers as one of the best sources of lead generation.
How Can You Capture Customer Interest with White Papers?
Government customers read white papers because they have a very specific problem that they need to solve. As a matter of fact, 80% of them find white papers so enticing that they are willing to complete a registration form, with personal information, just to gain access to them. According to a survey conducted by Market Connections 2015 Federal Content Review, white papers saw a 53% increase between 2013 and 2015.
You could say that good white papers sell themselves. Nevertheless, there are several ‘best practices’ that you should consider if you wish to engage customers with white papers:
- Identify and solve problems faced by your target audience.
- Examine other successful white-papers & try to replicate their strategy.
- Choose a length that is appropriate for your target audience.
- Downplay the mention of products and services of your company. You don’t want the white paper to sound like an ad. A sound strategy would be to position your business as a resource at the end of the white paper.
- Take an educational approach & choose a clear title.
- Adopt a professional tone for the white paper.
How to Write a White Paper
White papers are data-centric documents that were designed for deep read. The best white papers follow this structure:
- The title can make or break your white paper. You should spend the appropriate amount of time crafting one that grabs the reader’s attention and summarizes its content.
- Abstract (executive summary). The abstract will convince your readers if the white-paper is worth the read. Make it powerful.
- The outline, which will eventually take the form of a table of contents, will help you cover originally laid out objectives.
- The introduction is eventually the next level of your executive summary. This overview will give you another opportunity to introduce the problem & solution to your readers.
- Problem statement/background – a more detailed version of your introduction.
- This chapter will provide the opportunity to delve into the details of your solution.
- The conclusion must summarize the objectives of your white paper, review the problem statement, and finish with an even stronger statement. You can include information about your own business in this section.
- Additional resources.
Recommended Read: 3 Reasons your White Paper is failing
How to use White Papers to push your Brand, Skillset & Expertise
Once the white paper is complete, all you have to do is to deliver it. But distributing & marketing a white paper in today’s “I want it now” culture, is more complicated than it sounds. The following tips will help you push your brand, skill set, and expertise:
Create the white paper as part of your broader content strategy
White papers should help you address the pain points of your target audience, meet their needs in the buying cycle, and align with your product direction.
Instant Affinity is Key!
Users look at the same problem with different eyes. Some are interested in the technical information of your white-paper while others look at benefits. Distinguishing between these nuances and finding common ground will help you capture more qualified leads.
Follow-up with leads
Assuming you requested users to subscribe via mail to gain access to your white paper (which you should have), you can contact your leads within a few days. Ask them if they have any questions about your services, but don’t try to send a canned sales pitch.
Put the white paper to work for you
A common mistake is only to show a single paragraph or sentence of your white paper. This isn’t nearly enough information to engage your readers. I recommend that you create a simple landing page, with a few compelling excerpts from the white paper and a powerful call to action (registration form).
Promote the white paper on social media channels
Successfully promoting your document on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and other social networks will help you affirm your skillset and expertise.
To supplement your current marketing strategy, you should seriously consider adding white papers to your marketing mix. The results just may surprise you.