One of my irritations on the web, maybe yours as well (I have a few, sorry) is that of gated content, or in plain language 'give us all you contact details so we can add you to our spammy outbound list to hound you over the coming weeks/months before we let you download our valuable content'.
So, you dutifully provide your info in order to be able to download what you think is going to be an interesting value add read, only to find out its just a sales pitch dressed up as a white paper - and now your on THE LIST!.
At least 'paywalls' are up front about it.......
‘White Papers’ publications have been used before & since the early days of the Internet. Governments use them all the time, they still do.
Many of the large consultancies now utilise them as a way of ‘academic click bait’ & revenue generation in order to sell their services from knowledge researched by interns, & rubber stamped by senior sector academics in/out of the consultancy.
In recent years there has been a proliferation of use by B2B companies wanting to dress up a ‘sales pitch’ as unbiased ‘White Paper’ research in order to fill the lead generation quota's and keep the 'pipeline' going.
The default currency is data (Title, Company, email, phone number etc) all this in order you can be plugged into the linear sales pipeline and be hounded into submission, or hitting that 'unsubscribe/remove me' function by which time you have already had the unwanted phone calls, spammy e-mails, and possibly been followed around the web with re-targetting programmatic adverts.
Thing is, if only these companies understood that the time/effort that goes into the production of these documents in B2B land could have immense value if published in the context of helping people during the ‘Social Buying’ stages, and not locked away behind a data capture initiative.
Now I'm certainly not saying that you simply take your corporate brochure, or your internalised view of how 'unique' your company and products are (BTW no one's product or service is unique) are the best thing since sliced bread and regurgitate it for publication.
What I am saying is that the ability to share some of that knowledge 'openly' adds to your 'social proof' and 'social footprint' because it doesn't come across as an advert dressed up as valuable content, but only if its seen to be authentic and that you have a 'listening' culture.
Here are a few facts that might help you consider things in a different light;
Research is King & Your Content should be Queen - 68% of buying research is done prior to any direct contact being made (usually initiated by client) so your info could be of immense value.
With 8-10 internal stakeholders involved in that research process what does that do to your sales gestation cost?
And, those internal stakeholders are investing over 40+ hours in that pre-sales research, so what makes you think they are going to 'download' your 'white paper' over socially validated information that is easy to access?
We don't do retainers, we don't write copy and content, we don't sell your information as an advert.
But, we are awesome when it comes to helping you and your company become front of mind during the 'social buying' stages of your potential clients, and gaining you a significant competitive advantage.
We also don't do outbound spammy marketing, so if you would like to have a conversation - contact the author.
Many companies use white papers as a cleverly hidden marketing ploy. The idea is to write a document that doesn’t look so much like a sales piece, but looks more like an informational paper. The white paper wouldn’t replace your other marketing tools, but would be in addition to them, and might even “piggy back” with them.