You’ve written, designed and produced a white paper. Whew! That was a lot of work. Now you can relax.
Not so fast. You’re only half way there.
Why did you write it? So people would download and read it. Your objective was likely to establish thought leadership, generate leads and perhaps use it to nurture existing leads until they’re ready to buy. Sadly, it’s not going to do that if no one finds it. If you subscribe to the theory of “if you build it they will come,” your white paper is dead in the water. Now you need to distribute and promote it.
The good news? There is a myriad of methods to promote your white paper, generate interest, and help it climb Google’s search engine rankings. Here we go:
Store your white paper on a separate page of your site, as shown on the right, with an SEO-friendly URL, title, and Meta description. Have people link to it as a PDF. Consider using a subdomain, and make sure the words in your URL are separated by dashes so Google can read it better. Link to your white paper on your home page. You might want to add a banner at the top of the page or put it in a sidebar to attract more attention.
Write a blog post providing an overview of the white paper. Or post portions of the white paper via a series of blog posts. Promote your paper in your blog’s sidebar or widget or with a call to action at the end of the post.
Along with company news, industry news, recent posts and other content, promote your white paper in your newsletter. Perhaps do a Q&A about the white paper with the author to spur some curiosity.
Online News Release
Promote your white paper using online press release distribution services. This is an ideal method for generating backlinks and creating buzz about your paper. That’s because online releases are submitted to major search engines, industry journals and social networks. Make sure the release includes links to your website and other appropriate content. Most press release distribution services clearly spell out how many links you can include. Here’s a list of paid and free press release sites.
Relevant Blogger Outreach
Compile a list of influential bloggers and online editors who cater to your audience, and send them a release on your paper, and explain the rationale for why readers would be interested in reading it. Alternatively, if any of the blogs accept guest blog posts, write one, submit it and include a link to your white paper.
Of course, promote it via social media. Write a short paragraph on the benefits to your audience of reading your white paper. Post it out on LinkedIn groups, Facebook, and Google+. Split up the paragraph into a series of tweets you can share on Twitter. Shorten your links using a service like bitly.
On LinkedIn, promote your white paper in the form of a discussion, for example: “How has technology improved the performance of your sales staff? Our How Technology Can Increase Sales Productivity white paper explains proven methods for boosting sales by up to 35%.”
Example tweet: “How to increase your salespeople’s performance with technology, FREE white paper” bitly link
Always include an image of the white paper in your social promotions to increase the likelihood people will share them. According to research, visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
Besides promoting your white paper via social media, you need to make it easy for others to share it as well. Include social sharing buttons and badges the header of your content landing pages or even within the white paper itself (which takes some extra programming). Once you’ve set up this functionality, readers only need to click the button to share it on their social media profiles.
Webinars and SlideShare
You can repurpose your white paper as a SlideShare presentation or a webinar to get more juice out of it. Webinars combine the power of audio and visual to engage the audience and promote your thought leadership. Once again, you can generate leads via the registration process.
Whether placed on your landing page to spur conversions or YouTube, video is a powerful way to demonstrate the concepts in a white paper. Also, bloggers can easily embed the videos into their blogs to share the white paper takeaways.
Third Party Email Lists
If you’ve done your persona research, you know which online publishers, such as industry magazines, your target audience frequents. You may be able to rent an email list from such an online publisher, or they may offer other opportunities for content promotion. Speak to these publishers, and find out your options.
You can promote white papers via content syndication services, such as TechTarget or Quinstreet, which provide efficient cost-per-lead programs. These firms partner with online publishers to support content only, helping companies in their lead generation programs. Learn more about content syndication.
Many association websites have resource sections. Find out if relevant organizations accept white paper submissions.
As an immediate lead generator, use paid search to promote your content to your audiences. Make sure your ad keys in directly with what the search query. For example, if someone types in “Ways to improve sales performance,” your ad text might be, “Improve sales performance with proven technology. Find out how in a free white paper.” Learn more in A Strategic Guide to Lead Generation using Pay-Per-Click and Google AdWords.
You can use via ad networks or ad exchanges to help you placing banner ads with a compelling message on websites or e-newsletters. Or go directly to online publishers and website. After you explore specific verticals that target your industry, check out the Google Display Network.
Use remarketing networks (including Google) to offer up banner and text ads to individuals who fail to convert on their initial visit to your white paper’s landing page. Wherever they go across the web, you can retarget them with a message promoting the white paper. Repetition breeds familiarity and sometimes it just takes a little persistence to capture a lead.
If you’ve defined your white paper by audience segment and buying phase, then it should go immediately into your email lead nurturing program. With a unique email and landing page, you can convert some of your current leads into sales opportunities by using a sound lead nurture sequence strategy.
Your sales team can use the white paper as a leave-behind during sales presentations, or they can email the content to qualified prospects with a cover note.
As you can see, there are many ways to promote that white paper and generate leads. Of utmost importance is your conversion landing page. Keep the form fields to a minimum, focus on the key benefits to your audience (explain why your audience will want to read it). To optimize your success, measure conversions by channel (URL tagging) via Google Analytics or a similar analytics tool.
What Works in Your World?
I hope this post gives you some ideas for content and white paper promotion. How have you promoted white papers? Have you measured what works? What’s has worked best for you?
Learn more about lead generation in our free e-book: “Convert! Optimizing Website & Landing Page Conversions for Lead Generation.”