Is Your White Paper a Y.A.W.N.E.R.?

White papers and YAWNERS: Yet Another White Paper Nobody Ever Reads

Your white papers should act as incentive content. If you think nobody’s reading them, maybe it’s because the ideal readers cannot find them.

It’s good when you have a white paper to give prospects. And it’s great when you have an entire library of white papers. Especially if they’re well written and you’ve mapped them along the buyer’s journey of Awareness, Consideration and Decision.

White papers demonstrate that you’re willing to align your products with real-world problems. They show that your organization has the marketing savvy, gravitas and staying power to build and publish a body of knowledge about your technology. They’re the kind of content that show prospects that they can trust you to solve their technology problems.

But does anybody read your white papers?

That’s the acid test, isn’t it? Is your content useful?

A former colleague recently wrote me:

We use a new term here in my product marketing group: “YAWNER”.

white paper

I think he’s exaggerating. I think the greater danger lies in people not being able to find your white papers. Take care of that first.

Then, once people can find your white papers, eventually they will read them. Then comes the next wave of obstacles. Some readers may decide, “No, this isn’t what I’m looking for,” and keep looking for the answer in somebody else’s paper. Others may decide, “This certainly is boring. And I’m not learning anything. I’m not going to finish this.”

Of course, your job as marketing manager is to ensure you’ve hired a content marketing writer who has told your story well. Whether your white paper involves customer interviews or technical whiz-bang, your ideal readers have to consider it valuable content.

Meanwhile, your organization has used the content to get information out of its collective head and into print, and there’s value inherent to that.

Stop yawning and keep the valuable content moving.

photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar


Author: John White

John White of venTAJA Marketing is a content marketing writer for technology companies. He posts about technology writing from the perspective of the marketing manager. It’s a dirty job, but somebody has to do it. Download his eBook, “10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Content Marketing Writer.”