Whitepapers – marketing ‘fluff’ or impactful communication tool?

So you have something important to say but not sure what medium to use to get your message across? A whitepaper might be the answer.

A whitepaper should inform the reader with new and/or insightful information and analysis on a particular market sector or subject.

But these can be time consuming documents to complete; the information needs to be in-depth enough to warrant the term ‘whitepaper’ and a graphic designer would typically need to be involved in the production process.

That said, if you bite the bullet, a whitepaper can be a far more powerful communication mechanism to elevate your message than simply, for instance, posting an article on your company blog.

Whitepaper’s should only be considered as an option if you are particularly knowledgeable about the subject in question. The ability to provide expert commentary, highlight new trends and insights, bring in respected industry commentators and so on will make the difference between a ‘fluff’ piece and one that is respected, useful and extensively shared.

Whitepaper production: what to consider

Whitepapers are no easy undertaking, which means there are plenty of considerations before taking your first step:

  • What is the overall theme of the document, and is this interesting or extensive enough to produce a whitepaper?
  • Should the paper have a specific newsworthy angle to add interest and aid future promotion?
  • Should the document be produced as a one-off piece or an annual foray?
  • Will you include expert internal and/or internal commentary within your whitepaper – and who should this be?
  • Will you need to undertake an element of desk research to back-up the points you are trying to make – who will do this and how long will it take?
  • Should you include original research and what form should this take?
  • How long should the document be and what are the key sections?
  • Who will design the document?
  • What budget and resources do you have available?

Bring on the benefits! There are a few

You’ve gone to the trouble of producing a whitepaper and done a fantastic job. So what benefits should you expect for your efforts?

We’ve listed five possibilities below:

  • A credibility and positioning boost – a whitepaper is a great way to enhance the credibility of your organisation as an expert on a particular issue, assuming the document is high quality
  • A great promotional tool – we talk about this in more detail below but a whitepaper can be a very useful addition to your marketing and promotional efforts
  • Boost your search optimisation – the visibility of your website is, in part, driven by how many people link back to it from their websites. In-depth and credible whitepapers – especially those with original research and data – can be a magnate for others looking to write on your paper’s subject. And when they need to link back to an authoritative source, that’s when you could be a search winner
  • Aligned thinking – a whitepaper is a good opportunity for your organisation to project its thinking on a particular subject to the outside world. No longer will valuable opinions be solely in the heads of your experts – now they are published for all to see!

Promoting your whitepaper

We’ve touched on the fact that a whitepaper can be a great promotional tool and, having gone to the trouble of producing this valuable piece of content, you should certainly look to make the most of it!

Take a straw poll of your sales team. Will they value being able to send the document to clients? Or even hand over a hard copy at a meeting. It all helps when trying to stand out from the competition!

If your paper includes a variety of in-depth information, you could look to break this out to use during internal and external presentation opportunities to add further value to what’s being said.

Certainly, the document should be made available as a download from the company website and pushed out via email and social media campaigns. Original content can be a real challenge to produce so this should be an excellent opportunity to promote something different.

A PR and media relations campaign might also be beneficial, especially if you had the foresight to develop a highly newsworthy angle right at the beginning of the process.

Examples (a couple of pieces TMCC’s produced)

We’ve talked a lot about whitepapers. But it’s not all talk, we’ve also produced quite a few in our time and here are a couple of historical examples in the international private medical insurance space.

Generali Global Health is a niche division of the global giant that is the Generali Group. As part of their communication programme to add value and inform brokers by providing technical insurance content, TMCC were asked to produce a white paper that explained the ins and outs of medical inflation.

You can see what we created here.

A whitepaper format was chosen for this information so that brokers had access to a document with a degree of longevity that could be kept at hand for when customers were asking the annual ‘why have my premiums risen’ question.

The second example is for International Medical Group – another player in the IPMI and travel insurance space.

This is piece looked at predictions for the global travel market and the role insurance had to play as part of this anticipated growth (COVID aside, of course).

You can access the IMG whitepaper here.

Naturally, if you are thinking of producing a whitepaper TMCC can provide expertise in planning, interviews, research, copywriting, design and promotion. The whole shebang, in fact. So just get in touch and we’ll be happy to talk.

For all policies purchase via Simply Business, please use the below contact details:
Simply Business
Sedgwick International UK
Simply Business Claims Team, PO Box 76, Cardiff, CF11 1JX
Call: 0333 2070 560