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What Is A White Paper/Special Report?

One of the best information products you can create for your small business blog or website is a white paper or special report. The only problem is that most people we talk to have no idea what these things are, how they can create one or what to do with one if they were to create one. Throughout this month, our goal is to answer all these questions and more.

So what exactly is a white paper or special report?

White papers are digital products you, or someone you hire, can write that covers some inside information about your industry. They began as governmental reports on specific topics, but since the advent of the Internet, have become powerful marketing tools for both large and small businesses. Commercially, you can use them to promote a solution your company’s products or services offer. Obviously, this information should be favorable to your company, but they should not sell anything.

So if they aren’t selling anything, how exactly can they help my business?

Just because the information you offer on your small business blog isn’t selling your products or services doesn’t mean they aren’t selling your company. Your white paper should be written so as to generate sales leads, establish yourself as a thought leader or educate your prospects. By doing so, you are increasing the trust your prospects have in you and the ability for your company’s products or services to solve the problem addressed in the white paper.

What should you include in your white paper?

What do you know that your prospects would love to know more about? What industry information do you know that would help your prospects see your company as the solution to their needs? You may want to ask yourself why your company exists and go from there. The thing to remember is to keep your prospects in mind, focusing on their needs and giving them valuable information that they will perceive as being non-commercial.

Some of the things you can write about are:

  • Overviews of your industry
  • Unforeseen problems
  • Benefits of hiring a company such as yours
  • What types of solutions there are for your prospects’ problems
  • Analysis of statistics

By focusing on your prospects and the problems they face in their business or life, your white paper will establish credibility with your prospects and filter out unqualified prospects at the same time.

Next week we will look deeper at the reasons why you should create your own white paper or special report. If you have any suggestions, comments or questions, let us know and we’ll add them to our next post.