“White papers may have the longest shelf life of all content,” asserts John Fox in the Huffington Post. it was interesting to read about Fox’s interview with Gordon Graham, author of White Papers for Dummies.
Some business owners are afraid white papers are too academic and “heavy”. Anything that’s poorly done is going to fatigue people, Graham points out, and most business white papers make the same mistake over and over – too much selling. What a white paper is supposed to do, he says, is:
- help people understand some kind of issue
- solve a problem
- make a decision
It’s not that John Fox recommends abandoning blog marketing in favor of white papers. In fact, he recommends, a problem-solution white paper can generate three or four blog posts. “You take every section, boil it down a bit and post it. Then, at the bottom, say ‘For more discussion, see the full white paper here’.”
“The definition of a whitepaper varies heavily from industry to industry,” observes Lindsay Kolowich of hubspot.com. Basically, though, Kolowich explains, “A whitepaper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution.” “Whitepapers,” he adds, “are the academic papers of marketing content. Readers expect a high degree of expertise backed by solid research that is fully documented by references.” In other words, they’re much more serious in tone, less flashy, and more research-based than blog posts or even ebooks.
Technically speaking, of course, both white papers and old blog posts can “live” indefinitely on your website “shelf”. The trick is to “selectively pick and choose your moments to remind visitors and social media contacts of the valuable information that is available to them, says GuavaBox.
Remember, even if a product remains viable and is still “fresh”, no product can be useful to customers while it is still on the shelf!