Developing an effective marketing strategy for tech companies can be intimidating, especially for small business owners. An exceptional tool that tech companies can utilize in their marketing efforts is the “white paper”. Producing a white paper sounds like a formidable task if you haven’t created one before. You may be thinking to yourself, “What is a white paper? Isn’t that something Secret Service agents carry around in those briefcases with handcuffs?” There’s nothing top secret about it: “white paper” just refers to an in-depth report on any business or technical subject. Most importantly, they are an important way for businesses – especially those in the technology/IT sector – to establish expertise and develop relationships.
In our blog, we’ll explore more steps for making white papers an effective part of content marketing strategy for your technology-focused business. For now we’ll start at the very beginning: how do you choose a topic for your white paper?
1. Focus on your customer, not just your product or service.
You have great software with a lot of bells and whistles, and of course you want to explain it in detail. But what about your potential end users? How does your product solve their problems? Is there a new way to use your software, a new version or a new feature? Keep in mind you’re not writing a hardware user manual or a software spec sheet. You’re not writing an advertisement, either. Focus not just on your product’s features, but how they can benefit your potential user.
2. Keep your reader informed about your industry.
The best white papers go beyond technical product descriptions. They keep your readers informed about trends in your industry. Remember, you’re using a white paper to establish expertise. A simple Google search about current industry trends will supply you with a wealth of information: blogs, surveys, other white papers, and current news can all give you ideas to get started.
Use all these sources to help you select a topic, but don’t just rehash old news – give your readers something fresh. You may have heard the term “thought leadership” applied to white papers and blog posts. Your white paper is a chance for you to create more demand for your services and expertise – you do this by getting ahead of trends. Brainstorm with your colleagues and even your current clients. Discover what experts in your field are talking about right now.
3. Drill down.
You’re getting some ideas – now narrow them down. Instead of vague, general trends or ideas, address one specific problem or one specific feature. Try not to cover too much in one paper. You can see this tip in action in this very blog post unfurling before your eyes. What began as a general post about “white papers are great for marketing” quickly became whittled down into a post about one facet of the whole process of creating and promoting white papers: selecting a topic.
This is even more important with technical topics. “Benefits of Cloud Storage,” for example, is way too vague. “Top 5 Ways Cloud Storage Improves Your Return On Investment” gives much more detail and will immediate catch the attention of a customer looking for reasons to purchase your product.
Still have great ideas that don’t quite fit in with your newly trimmed-down topic? Explore them in a future paper. It feels good to have an idea bank full of future content ready to go.
Many tech companies develop great software or offer superior services, but fall short when trying to market them. White papers, especially when you choose the right topics, can build your reputation, differentiate yourself from the competition, and connect with potential customers. A marketing firm that specializes in tech industry marketing, such as BlueTreeDigital, can help you build a marketing plan that includes white papers and puts them to work for you. Contact us to talk about your tech company’s marketing strategy.