You’ve created what you believe to be an awesome white paper on the latest trends within the human resources industry. It’s informative, insightful, and an overall good read for anyone in HR — and even people who aren’t!
But is it really?
In a world of data-overload, the time spent researching and drafting content for white papers can sometimes go to waste. So, why bother? Well, as it turns out, white papers are still one of the most effective marketing tactics when it comes to reaching colleagues, potential clients, and professionals within your industry.
In fact, according to Demand Gen Report’s 2015 Content Preferences Survey, white papers are the most popular type of content for engaging prospects, with 83 percent of respondents using them in the past year to research B2B purchasing decisions.
But let’s be honest: white papers can be boring — especially when they’re are written by and for individuals in the HR-tech industry. But, they don’t have to be. Here are five tips to help HR-tech companies spice up their white papers and attract more readers:
1. Give It a New Name
Shakespeare once wrote, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The same goes for white papers. Unfortunately, the name “white paper” itself has gained a bad rap. Giving your content an entirely new name can help spark readers’ interests.
A good rule of thumb is to call it what it is. Let’s say your white paper is, in fact, on the latest trends in HR tech. Try calling it “industry highlights” or “industry insights.”
In general, you want to avoid vague or general names. Instead, opt for terms like “eBook,” “guide,” “series,” “analysis,” and the like.
Sometimes, all it takes to encourage more downloads, reads, and shares is something as simple as a new name.
2. Create a Catchy Cover
They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we all do it occasionally — especially when it comes to technical content. For that reason, it’s essential to create an eye-catching cover that will reflect well on your content.
White papers are notorious for having boring covers that discourage, rather than attract, readers. Set yours apart from the sea of lackluster covers and add color, graphics, and/or photos to better set the stage for an entertaining read.
3. Make Your Content Easy to Digest
You might be tempted to use industry-related jargon when writing a white paper. After all, you’re creating an industry-specific report targeted toward members of your particular field. But, no matter who is reading, too many technical terms can do more harm than good.
Keep in mind that you’re writing to a person — not a robot. Write in the same language that you would naturally speak. If you wouldn’t say “human capital” when referring to employees, then don’t write it. Littering your content with too much jargon can deter readers who may not know quite as much about the industry or your product — hence why they’re downloaded your white paper in the first place.
4. Help Readers See Your Point
Nothing is more discouraging or tiring to readers than one text-heavy page after another. To help readers make it all the way to the conclusion of your white paper, be sure to break up the monotony with plenty of visuals.
An overwhelming number of buyers (91 percent) agree that they prefer visual content, according to the aforementioned Demand Gen Report study.
Not only does visual content make white papers more attractive, but it also helps readers see your point. For instance, using graphics to demonstrate research findings (e.g., bar graphs, pie charts, etc.) is a great way to help readers really understand what you’re trying to say.
Take a look at how Spark Hire uses graphics to support the statistics mentioned in this white paper.
5. Try a New Format
There is no right or wrong way to format your white paper. It doesn’t have to be a full-length report, nor does it have to include an executive summary. Your white paper is what you make of it. In an online world where only the most innovative content survives, it’s time to get creative.
Take Adobe, for example. The software company is trying out a completely new format: audio white papers. Alex Amado, senior director of creative and media at Adobe, explains here:
“Marketers are busier than ever, and much of the content they need in order to stay on top of the changes in their field are locked up in white papers. Most can’t find the time to read these white papers. We’re opening that content in a new format we hope will make it easier and more entertaining to stay informed about modern marketing.”
White papers give you an opportunity to show off your knowledge and expertise on any given subject. They show clients that you’re capable of producing quality content. Most importantly, they support your unique brand personality. As direct reflections of your brand, you want your white papers to be anything but boring.
What are some other tips for making whitepapers more exciting — and more likely to be read? Share in the comments!