8 December 2020

What’s a White Paper? And Why Do You Need One?

There’s no greying the issue—white papers are a SaaS marketing must. To stay ahead of the competition, you should be asking yourself:

  • What’s a white paper?
  • How should I use them in my marketing strategy?
  • What isn’t a white paper?”

So, what’s a white paper?

According to Hubspot, a white paper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution. Klariti describes a white paper as a high-level marketing document targeted at decision makers and used by sales and marketing teams to generate interest in a specific trend, topic or technology.

What isn’t a white paper?

A white paper isn’t an outright product pitch. Blatant self-promotion tends to nurture mistrust from your prospects. Instead, you want to educate and provide value to your prospects on the challenges they’re facing and solutions that might work for them.

A white paper also isn’t an ebook, which tends to be shorter and more casual in tone. In an earlier post, Uplift Content highlights the difference between a white paper and an ebook and offers advice on which is better in various situations.

Why are white papers important?

Investopedia suggests that the purpose of a white paper is to promote a certain product, service, technology or methodology while influencing current and prospective customers’ decisions. 

In a world bombarded with in-your-face advertising, white papers stand out as credible alternatives, drawing prospects and building loyalties with factually supported solutions to their needs. As such, more and more businesses and organizations are turning to this marketing strategy.

In a survey by Business.com, more than 50% of pay-per-lead advertisers said white papers are a valuable or extremely valuable source of leads, ranking them as the most preferred lead-generating strategy among respondents. And according to the Demand Generation Report, 71% of B2B buyers use white papers to research purchase decisions.

What’s next?

Now that you know the answer to “What’s a white paper?”, learn when your SaaS company needs a white paper vs. an ebook in our next blog post, White Paper vs eBook: How to Decide Which One to Create.

This is the second post in a 9-part series called the Ultimate Guide to Writing a White Paper for B2B SaaS.

Get help creating valuable white papers

Uplift Content has the strategic content marketing chops needed to create compelling SaaS white papers. Check out our white paper writing service.

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Emily Amos, founder of Uplift Content
Emily Amos

As the founder of Uplift Content, Emily leads teams in creating done-for-you case studies, ebooks and blog posts for high-growth SaaS companies. Check out her bio.

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