17 March 2020

White Paper vs eBook: How to Decide Which One to Create [VIDEO]

As a marketer, there’s a limit to your time and resources, so you need to be strategic about which type of content you produce. White papers and ebooks are both powerful B2B SaaS marketing tools, and although the names for these assets are sometimes used interchangeably, each has its own unique strengths. In this video, we’ll break down the white paper vs ebook debate.

Video transcript

Hi SaaS marketers! Emily Amos here from Uplift Content.

If you’ve ever wondered whether to create a white paper vs ebook, this video will give you some clarity. While they’re both important SaaS marketing tools, ebooks and white papers have different audiences and purposes.

Let’s walk through both types of content.

#1: White papers

This long-form, educational marketing content is often rich in data and has an authoritative, academic tone. Brands usually use white papers to demonstrate their company’s value, present new research on a topic or provide thought leadership.

The format of a white paper usually includes a challenge section up front—similar to a B2B SaaS case study—then provides a proposed solution in persuasive detail. This solution can include your company’s own products or services.

The audience for a white paper typically includes readers who already have some familiarity with the subject matter. White papers are usually research-intensive and require interviews with subject matter experts, as well as the use of source material like industry reports to cover a topic to a level of detail that provides real value to readers. Because of this, white papers are often longer than ebooks.

Get a few tips here on how to write a white paper that positions you as a thought leader.

#2: eBooks

Like white papers, ebooks are also educational in nature. However, they’re usually written in a more casual tone, similar to a “how to” guide. eBooks tend to feature more white space and more design elements than white papers and offer digestible chunks of information rather than academic text.

Two main benefits of ebooks are that they’re interactive and actionable. eBooks often provide readers with concrete steps they can take to solve a specific problem, and are typically geared at readers who would benefit from a more general overview of the subject rather than a deep dive.

Learn how to write an ebook title that lands sales.

Content strategy for different stages of the buyer’s journey

When you’re trying to decide between creating a white paper vs ebook, you need to evaluate which one performs better at the various stages of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration or decision. Choose carefully because your goal with the content is to progress the reader to the next stage of the journey.

White papers tend to resonate best with people in the “decision” stage of the buyer’s journey. This is largely due to the amount of prior knowledge that a white paper reader typically has on the topic. White papers are a solid choice for positioning your company as a thought leader and getting in front of senior executives.

In contrast, ebooks tend to perform better at the “awareness” stage because they appeal to wider groups with general, rather than specific, knowledge of a subject. This makes ebooks an ideal choice for marketing to people who know they’re facing a challenge but don’t yet have a clear idea of the solution.

Get help with your white papers and ebooks

Now that you know the difference between a white paper vs ebook, you may need an extra set of hands to help you produce your next marketing tool. Learn more about Uplift Content’s expertise in helping SaaS companies generate leads with well-written, informative and actionable white papers and ebooks.

Until next time, SaaS marketers!

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Emily Amos
Emily Amos

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

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