Pie charts, bar graphs, return on investment arguments: there may be more entertaining reading than white papers. But there are only a few variants of content marketing from which B2B decision-makers benefit so obviously. That's why white papers work so well.

The quieter, the more audible, the more neutral, the more effective. Today, marketing managers, especially in the B2B sector, have to align their content marketing along this causal chain. While the bannerised bling bling of supposedly precisely delivered online advertising in the B2C market is an expression of a technological arms race for pure reach, B2B media must rely on something else. As the German advertising icon Thomas Koch put it in our blog The way this is done is quite simple: "Provided they give proper journalism the necessary space, trade publishers have always provided trustworthy platforms for exchange within an industry - for a long time with print products and now increasingly also with digital products. And they are the ones who - inevitably - don't just stare at reach, but can provide the necessary quality within their reach."

Usable and divisible

B2B decision-makers must - logically: decide. In case of doubt, the tools on which content marketing is based help them better than classic forms of advertising. In order to reach decisions, B2B decision-makers apparently use the various forms of white papers particularly intensively: only recently, a study in the USA showed that 78 percent of B2B decision-makers prefer to share white papers such as case studies with their colleagues. The conclusion is therefore obvious that white papers can be one of the bases for decision-making when investments are pending: Sharing content is a sure indicator of its value to the reader.

Defend decisions

At the same time, white papers are among those content variations that receive particularly long attention during the evaluation of a provider. In another study, more than half of the respondents stated that they spend at least ten minutes on this type of content. The share of those who spend at least 20 minutes on the content of a white paper is 30 percent. This reflects the desire of buyers that the marketing departments of the respective providers provide them with more statistically robust and argumentatively neutral material. After all, buyers also have to defend their choice of one B2B product or another within their company.

Interfere when necessary

Since autumn 2017, WEKA Industrie Medien has implemented its own whitepaper solution on all trade media platforms. Whitepaper customers can choose for themselves how much data depth they need: for some, only the reader's verified email address is enough, others want more data. One of the lessons learned: the presentation of the whitepaper, the texts before the download, the solution promise of the publisher are often more important than the data depth is inhibiting. In the case of the white paper that has so far reached the intended downloads the company asked for a comparatively large amount of data: email, name, company, professional details.

Whitepaper portals are not content dumps. They need to be maintained. That is why the editorial team edits all teaser texts of the submitted whitepapers on request. And each white paper is checked by the editorial team before publication. Because disappointing the reader must not happen, especially with white papers. After all, the reader is prepared to give something valuable: his or her data.

Brings little

However, many companies still underestimate the power of their white papers: those who publish them exclusively on their own company website assume that they will reach all decision-makers who are relevant to them anyway. This is wrong. Whitepapers unfold their effect best in the context of current industry topics and, of course, tailored to the right target group. This is the kind of targeting that only specialised media are capable of. Without the programmatic advertising bling bling that tends to spoil visits to some media websites.

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