White Papers: Conveying Authority and Expertise

The Content Marketing Institute commissioned a study to determine the effectiveness between expert, user-generated, and branded content. They found 85% of consumers “regularly or occasionally seek expert content — such as credible third-party articles — when considering a purchase.”

1 This is important because experts do not write short-form content often. They establish their skill through long-form writing like white papers.

An Eccolo Media B2B Survey, conducted in 2015, found buyers read roughly the same amount of white papers (i.e., long-form content) as they did email newsletters. When asked which of those two assets were more influential in their purchasing decision, they responded white papers by double the margin.² In fact, in evaluating a technological purchase, of all assets available to those buyers, white papers tied with the aforementioned emails for second place (52%) as most influential (data sheets ranked highest at 57%). Social media (34%), blog articles (30%), tweets (25%), and infographics (25%) lagged behind.²

Long-form marketing content — such as white papers, eBooks, or case studies — can also be repurposed and repackaged into other content, such as videos, presentations, infographics, podcasts, articles or a series of articles.3 This concept is known as “clustering” and is an efficient way to generate multiple content pieces from a single research project. In this way, information from longer-form documents can be reused to effectively meet all aspects of a comprehensive marketing strategy.

Volume Nine, a Denver-based SEO consulting firm, included “informative” white papers as part of their prefered long-form content, calling them “the perfect platform to demonstrate expertise on a specific topic and/or industry.”4  The firm added “long-form content provides valuable information to a highly-invested audience that wants to learn more about your area of expertise.”



1 “2015 Content Preferences Survey: Buyers Value Content Packages, Interactive Content,” Demand Gen Report, March 4, 2015, http://e61c88871f1fbaa6388d-c1e3bb10b0333d7ff7aa972d61f8c669.r29.cf1.rackcdn.com/DGR_DG0019_SURV_Content%20Preferences_Feb_2015_Final.pdf

² “Eccolo Media 2015 B2B Technology Content Survey Report,” Eccolo Media, accessed June 1, 2016, http://eccolomedia.com/what-content-has-the-most-clout/.

3 Gordon Graham, “How to Repurpose a White Paper, Part 1,” accessed June 1, 2016, https://www.thatwhitepaperguy.com/white-paper-planning/how-to-repurpose-a-white-paper/.

4 Kevin Espiritu, “How Important is Content Length: Why Data Driven SEO Trumps Guru Opinions,” SerpIQ, April 26, 2012, http://blog.serpiq.com/how-important-is-content-length-why-data-driven-seo-trumps-guru-opinions/.