Why You Should Add White Papers to Your Skill Set
If you have written on the web for any length of time, you’ve seen the work that is offered to you change. Gone are articles where strict keyword density counts were the biggest requirement. These days, you need to bring engaging style and stronger information to the table than ever before.
B2B Content Is on the Rise
Since the 1990s, white papers have been used as a business to business (B2B) marketing tool. They are especially popular with IT and other technical industries, but are also used by educational institutes and companies that help clients navigate complex rules and regulations.
With the rise of digital publishing, the barrier to entry has become lower than ever. A business can hire white paper writers to create content and then self-publish by creating PDFs. The Content Marketing Institute says that 61% of all B2B marketers use white papers. With over half of all content marketers increasing their budgets, this number will only continue to grow.
So, What Is a White Paper?
Many writers have said that they feel uncomfortable claiming white paper assignments because they don’t exactly know what is expected of them. However, a white paper is not as intimidating as it sounds.
Have you ever written a sales brochure? How about a research paper? If you answered yes, you have the minimum skill set to write white papers. White papers are simply informational reports that describe a problem and give the reader suggestions to solve it. These are usually very light on direct selling. Instead, like other good content marketing, the goal is to be useful.
This Skill Is Worth a Premium
According to the market researchers at Forrester, between 70 and 90 percent of a buyer’s decision-making journey is complete before they ever pick up the phone or click on a “buy now” button. On the way there, a buyer will engage with as many as 11 pieces of content. And, in the case of high-cost technical or business products, it makes sense. A buyer will feel that she needs to be knowledgeable to make the right decision. This is why a company is willing to spend the premium to hire white paper writers. These writers can deliver expert advice that helps the buyer make an informed decision. The investment makes sense, because it can drive thousands of dollars of revenue.
The content writing landscaped has changed and will continue to change. Quality content is edging out keyword-driven SEO text. Social sharing is becoming just as important as search. By ensuring that you grow with the content marketing industry, you will not only survive, but thrive more than ever in this new environment.
Lara S is a content writer and blogger. She’s written professionally since 1998 and specializes in creating reader-friendly posts for complex industries like healthcare, law, and insurance. On the weekends, you’re likely to find her out on her sailboat or ensconced in bed with a book.