Posted by on Jul 30, 2021 in Advertising, Brand Strategy and Design, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Lead Generation, Marketing Automation, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Social Media, Website Strategy | 0 comments

How to Create a Well-Planned White Paper

How to Create a Well-Planned White Paper

by Debra Harrsch

Do you know how important digital content is in your customer’s buying decision? I think by now we can all agree that it is a critical factor in moving your prospects forward on their journey. The word ‘content,’ however, covers quite a bit of territory – from email and blogs, to case studies and web content, to ads and white papers – and that is just some of today’s common content types.

Last March, I talked specifically about white papers in my Why White Papers are Important and How to Use Them blog post. I just saw a statistic in AZO Network’s Scientific Purchasing Survey – 2021 that puts a little more perspective around how important white papers are in your marketing toolbox. The survey found that nearly 75% of people viewed whitepapers as having an influence on their purchasing decision.

Just as a quick reminder, white papers are an essential part of your overall content strategy. They are the main asset that audiences researching and evaluating products are willing to trade their contact information for. Readers will expect the content to be educational and helpful – not promotional.

Remember that white papers should speak to a relevant topic that your customers view as a pain point. Your paper should also be presented in a way that shows your thought leadership on the subject. If these two elements are not a part of your project, why are you writing a white paper at all?

Since white papers are typically used for lead generation, it is critical that the topic you choose is one that readers are interested in. If it isn’t valuable, you won’t be able to drive traffic.

As I also mentioned in my last blog on white papers, you need to promote them just like any other content. Before you even write a white paper, you should plan how you’re going to disseminate it. Here are two thoughts on how you can use your new white paper:

  • Promote it as a download from your advertising to generate leads.
  • Share it with customers and prospects as a follow-up to sales engagements or trade show meetings.

Smart marketing partners will leverage the heck out of this content. Here are some of the ways Brandwidth Solutions uses white paper content. We:

  • Promote them via social media, repurpose the content as blog posts, and convert it into an original article for publication in third-party periodicals.
  • Create a lead-generating ad campaign – offering the paper as an asset.
  • Use it as part of an email nurturing campaign.
  • Include it in your newsletter.
  • Post it on your website (we prefer to gate it for more lead generation).
  • Look at the material with an eye towards converting it into a podcast or webinar.

Planning Your White Paper

White papers written by vendors are educational, informative, non-promotional papers that share expertise, perspective, and solutions for either specific or broad challenges their readers face (for example, “best green chemistry techniques” or “what are the benefits of outsourcing?”).

Last time we talked a little about how to structure a white paper. Here, I’ll show you how we create well-planned white papers for our life science and technology clients.

Scientists are used to lots of different kinds of papers – peer-reviewed articles, technical documents, and application notes, as examples. Because they are familiar with technical papers, your goal in developing a white paper should be to educate and inform your scientific audience in an area where you have expertise. White papers, when done well, help you build credibility with your target audience – especially as they look to you for guidance and information when researching products and services.

White Paper Length

Consider this: a 2018 DemandGen survey found that 61% of respondents share white papers with their colleagues. The survey also found that the majority of those surveyed (28%) spent 10-20 minutes with a white paper, while 24% spent just 5-10 minutes and only 16% spent more than 30 minutes.

The point of this data? Make sure your paper is easy to read and to the point.

I’ve seen white papers vary wildly in length, but we recommend around 2,000 words. This length keeps the information easily digestible, but with enough depth to help readers with their due diligence when investigating a product or service. If your topic is more complex, you can always create a two-part series.

What to Include

White papers are a vehicle for covering what questions readers should ask about a product or service, what to look for, primers on best practices…or to help them understand a product, service, process, or approach. Your white paper will share your point of view and solutions to the problem without being overly promotional. It’s your way of helping readers understand key information – all without using a hard-sell approach. This is what makes white papers a good lead generation tool. Customers and prospects are willing to register to download a white paper.

Because white papers need to add value, you must be very clear about what you have to say and why you want to contribute to the conversation when you start a project. Remember, white papers are not created using only your perspective. You must understand what the reader needs and what they will get from your content.

Our process helps you figure all of this out.

We start with a kick-off discovery call where we take time to find out about you and what you have to offer – what makes your expertise unique and valuable. We discover who you are trying to reach, what information they most want to know, and what you have to say about the topic.

And then, we dig in further, following up with an interview(s) of your subject matter expert(s). We choose one of our writers who is best suited to work with you. They then develop an outline, and after your approval, get to work on writing a white paper that best serves your prospects’ needs.

Whether your audience is highly technical and scientific, or business decision-makers focused getting comfortable with your offering, your white paper needs to be well-written. You must craft it in the right tone and style for your audience, and it must be engaging – or they won’t read it. We believe that a good design, with informative graphics wherever possible, is part of the process of engaging readers and should be part of any white paper project.

And Finally…

We make sure your white paper has a compelling call-to-action. Never forget to tell your reader what they should do next! Once you have reviewed and approved the content, you’ll have a well-written asset that can be used not only for lead gen but as the basis for additional content marketing.

White papers are just one tool in your marketing toolbox, but they are an important one! They are an authoritative voice from your company – designed to be a persuasive document that builds credibility and moves your prospect along their journey in discovering your solutions. When you marry the white paper to other forms of communication for an integrated approach, you help your readers see the value you bring to their challenge.

Considerable time and effort go into creating a white paper that can be used for multiple content marketing purposes. If your team needs assistance, we’re here to help. Give us a call to learn more.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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Posted by on Jul 6, 2021 in Advertising, Digital Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Marketing Content, Marketing Strategy, Social Media | 0 comments

How to Sell More Through Distributors with Blog Content and Social Media

How to Sell More Through Distributors with Blog Content and Social Media

by Debra Harrsch

I read a fascinating report from AZO recently about the state of scientific purchasing in 2021. What they found matches the experiences of our clients who work with channel partners to increase sales of their products and services. This post will explore why a blog and social media amplification can be powerful tools for increasing sales through your distributors.

Many life science manufacturers rely on distributors or channel partners to help sell their products. While external sales organizations can sell your products more easily in different regions or countries, there are also some challenges that come with using a partner.

One of these challenges is how to educate customers who buy from distributors about your products. You likely already use advertising and a trade show presence (when available!) to educate your end-users. However, in today’s digitally focused environment, using only those two channels isn’t enough to create the sales you want.

Let me ask you, do your distributors create marketing content about your products? Do they rely on the content you’ve created for them? Or do they use your content and build upon that base to meet the needs of their specific audience?

Even if your channel partner does create marketing content, I’m guessing it’s not a deep, rich pool of searchable educational content – and it may not even communicate product benefits or the challenges your product solves beyond the simple specs. So, if they aren’t producing educational and sales and marketing information, how will potential customers know your product exists – let alone understand why they should buy it?

Life Science Manufacturers Still Need to Market

While you may have a great channel partner or distributor, this doesn’t mean you no longer need to market your products. One key marketing technique to help your distributors get the word out about your product offerings is through content marketing on your own website.

Which brings us back to the survey I mentioned earlier. AZO Network’s Scientific Purchasing Survey 2021 makes it very clear why scientific manufacturers must rethink how their websites are designed and what they should contain. Of those surveyed:

  • 90% said that a manufacturer’s website had an influence on their buying decision.
  • 81% said pages found through search engines had an influence on their buying decision.
  • 67% said that the distributor’s website had an influence on their buying decision.

Why Does a Manufacturer Need a Blog?

Perhaps you have web pages for each of your products. Good, that’s a start. But, content marketing goes much deeper than a product page with just the basic facts on the product.

The AZO survey states that the quality of the content provided, thought leadership, and the vendor’s website user experience all weighed heavily as important vendor traits.

One way to increase your website’s SEO – and its ability to educate your customers – is through a blog. If you don’t have one and your competitor does, you’re missing out on some major search engine mojo. Customers search and use a variety of digital media to understand products they are interested in.

Let’s review: 81% of those surveyed in AZO’s report stated that pages they found through search engines had an influence on their buying decision – 81%! And let’s not forget that search engines are no longer limited to Google or Bing. Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn have also become major search engines, in addition to their social component. If that 81% of buyers isn’t seeing your blog content or hearing your voice on social channels, your product or service will not show up on their radar as they move through the customer journey – and their ultimate buying decision.

Many science-based companies use blogs as a way to increase brand awareness in the market. Blogs are an easy, cost-effective way to publish relevant content on your website to support your distributors’ marketing efforts.

They are an excellent way to share information about your product, discuss trends in the industry, and demonstrate thought leadership in your market space. You can update your blog regularly with new posts that address your end customer’s needs (which, if done right, will help you increase sales through partners while providing a stream of new content for search engines). For more in-depth information on how a blog can transform your marketing efforts, check out this blog.

Science-based Manufacturers Must Promote Content

A word of caution: having a blog on your website is only one piece of the content marketing puzzle. The days of “if you build it, they will come” are long gone. Blog posts do need to be promoted. In fact, that step is critical to your marketing efforts.

One important way to share your content is through social media. This next statement may come as a surprise, but think about it. As our scientists skew younger in age, social media is growing in importance. In 2015, Leadspace stated that 84% of B2B execs use social media for information to make buying decisions – and that was in 2015!

The AZO Network Survey reported that 34% of those surveyed said social media had an impact on their buying decision. While that seems like a low number, there is more to unpack here, and it has to do with age group distribution – and the fact that social media has a subconscious effect on decision making.

How can you amplify your content using social media? Three ways are:

  1. Leveraging your relationship with your distributors to help share your blog content with their social audience.
  2. Sharing your blog content in snippets on your company’s social channels to drive readers back to your website.
  3. Employee advocacy – getting your employees involved in sharing your company content on their own

As we’ve mentioned in the past, social media is a key tactic your company can use to create brand awareness of the products sold through your partners.

While your social channels won’t grow as fast as a celebrity’s, keep in mind that many scientists have a personal following on social media. And their followers are likely interested in the same content they are. When they share your content, awareness of your products grows – and sales are likely to follow.

As a manufacturer, your content and marketing work sets the stage for product demand.

If you want to develop your blog and amplify your content with social media, but don’t have the time to devote, give us a call!

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, technology, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

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