Whitepaper vs eBook: What is the Difference and Which One Do I Choose? 8 min read

piechart of why white papers fail, with data from That White Paper Guy

How to Write White Papers – A Detailed Step-by-Step Instructions

Okay! So, you need to share all your company’s knowledge about the industry, but the query you will be likely to ask yourself is, “How do I do it?” A white paper is one of many tools people use to convey this kind of data. So, it’s the perfect format to follow, right? However, maybe you’re not familiar with what a white paper is or unsure how you put all the information you need into one. That’s okay! After all, it is similar to a business report. Though still distinct in its own way.

Understanding what a white paper is and how to write one is easy! So, to help you write yours, we’ve got a little bit of insight to teach you some step by step instructions. So, what are we waiting for? Dig in!

What is the best way to distribute your content to your audience?

target audience

The truth is, there are many ways to distribute content today. However, if you are not using whitepaper or eBooks that can take your content to the next level, you might want to start soon. Understanding the difference can help you decide which option is more suitable for your potential customers.

Do you have an idea of what separates the two? W hich is the best option? Whitepapers or eBooks? If you are not sure what option is suitable, then keep reading because this piece has everything you need to make a sound decision. Ready?

White paper readers

Who reads white papers?

White papers are read by almost any B2B executive who is thinking about buying a relatively new, relatively complex, or relatively high-priced product or service for their business.

Why do people read white papers?

A survey of IT managers by Forbes.com and Bitpipe (now TechTarget) showed that they read white papers to accomplish these goals

Executives at the IT portal KnowledgeStorm (now TechTarget) encourage clients to think of a technology sale in four phases.

1. Vision: A business person is imagining how to solve a problem. At that point, a high-level white paper focused on business benefits can help them visualize the possibilities of a certain offering.

2. Planning: A prospect is trying to map a set of functional requirements to a certain product. That’s when a more detailed, technical white paper can help them understand how a given solution would work in their environment.

3. Evaluation: A prospect is actively looking at a set of products from a shortlist of vendors. The need for white papers has pretty much passed.

An Evaluator’s Guide for a complex product might be helpful at this point. But more often, prospects want the reassurance of seeing case studies from other customers.

4. Acquisition: A customer is actually purchasing and installing a product. They may need added information to help them do so, but it’s more accurate to call this “documentation” rather than a white paper.

How do people read white papers?

To hold and direct the attention of skimmers and scanners, white papers need visual breakers like boxes, bullets, graphics, headings, pull-quotes, and sidebars.

What Makes a White Paper Stand Out?

White papers differ from other forms of advertising as providing information and education to readers is their primary goal rather than making a sale. They share characteristics like images, colors, and graphics with advertisements like brochures, but the depth of the writing and the research involved sets white papers apart.

White papers are lengthy documents, ranging anywhere between five pages to 100+ pages. Many companies use creative designs to maintain the reader’s interest as they read the in-depth document.

Whitepaper Examples

1. Not Another State of Marketing Report, HubSpot

HubSpot does an amazing job every year compiling data from experts and partners to convey modern trends in the marketing landscape. This is useful for marketers because they can use the statistics to create marketing and sales content as well as learn from the macro shifts that are happening in the industry. The whitepaper presents this information with attractive graphs and short editorial summaries along with links to more in-depth articles on each topic.

hubspot whitepaper example:'not another state of marketing report' cover for 2020

2. It’s Not You, It’s My Data, Custora

Custora created this whitepaper about customer churn, why it’s important, and how to prevent it. What makes this ebook great is that it promises concrete value to the reader (revenue savings from preventing attrition) backed by a wealth of data and actionable advice. Even better, the whitepaper is modern and attractive, so the reading experience is pleasant. This helps the reader consume the long-form content without friction.

custora whitepaper example:'it

3. Google Cloud’s AI Adoption Framework, Google

This whitepaper leverages Google’s authority to persuade the reader into adopting AI. By providing a methodology in the beginning, Google aims to give the reader the tools to think through the power of AI as it can be applied to their business. Then, the whitepaper dives into more technical information for advanced readers.

google whitepaper example: cover that reads'google cloud



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