White Papers: How To Market With Them

Posted by on June 18, 2012 in Case Studies, Reputation and Brand, White Paper Marketing | Comments Off

Has your business ever used a white paper or case studies as marketing tools? We have a very simplistic approach to these information sources. An effective white paper should be straightforward, generally not overly technical and simple to digest in one reading. It should have content which can be repurposed across social media in various formats. It should not be heavily designed- it’s called a ‘white paper’ for a reason: It gets directly to the point and contains useful, actionable information rather than marketing and sales hype. It is not a brochure.

White Paper Case Study: Innovocracy.org

I manage the marketing communications for Innovocracy.org, a company that I helped found as one member of a small board of six people. As we created this academic crowdfunding site and research university innovation network, a strong value proposition emerged in a somewhat unexpected way. Because crowdfunding is a relatively new business model, we had to learn as we progressed. In the process we became experts on the subject, particularly in the often convoluted world of technology transfer in a university research environment.

Innovocracy’s underlying business model is to sign up research schools as members of a network based on our funding platform, a platform that deals with significantly different requirements from a general crowdfunding site like Kickstarter. As we talked to university officials we learned that crowdfunding presents a problem for them because if their researchers and students try and raise money outside of the university system they may be violating rules associated with resources and intellectual property owned by the university. As a result, these university tech transfer offices needed to formulate guidelines for raising money from these new sources. It turns out that Innovocracy offered them a standardized platform for raising these funds without violating university rules.

Identifying The Differentiation Point

This university-oriented platform is a major differentiation point for the business. The challenge was to get the word out effectively. The solution was a white paper explaining the problem and how we approach it, and how we solve a significant issue for our target market. Once the paper was produced we created an online form for a free download and sent an offer to several thousand university tech transfer professionals. This has resulted in many queries about joining the network, meeting our primary marketing goal.

Repurposing The White Paper Content Across Social Media

Once this content has been made available it can be repurposed on Facebook, Tweeted, posted to LinkedIn and shared with groups interested in the subject. It has already resulted in media coverage by giving journalists and editors a very effective ‘backgrounder’ on how our platform works. All of this was accomplished with very little expense when compared with more traditional media and at no risk to our reputation. A well written and researched white paper is generally a reputation enhancer while PR hype and hard sell marketing collateral can have the opposite effect.

For more about using White Papers and Case Studies to promote your business or organization give me a call at 585-727-3119 or Contact us.