White Paper Projects That Don’t Go Well – Part III

Don't leave your white paper project on the one-yard line

I’ve described white paper projects that don’t go well due to problems in the process of writing. Even with a flawless paper, the project can falter due to problems in publishing the paper.

Don’t let your white paper project die on the vine

There is always a bit more work to do once the authors, reviewers and artists are finished. As marketing manager, you need to give birth to the paper and ensure it sees the light of day. Pushing it those last few inches can take a lot of effort. Like the effort to send that last e-mail message of the day when you’d rather close your laptop and go to bed – but you do it anyway.

Don’t hide it under a rock

You need to put the paper where target readers will find it. You probably know that already. But perhaps your organization doesn’t know how to capitalize on what good bait your white paper can be. Many companies bury this kind of content several levels down in their website, on a product page or solution page. Surfers are looking for this kind of paper, so don’t make them work for it. Link to it from your home page, or create an easily visible resources page on which your white papers, case studies and published articles all live.

Don’t give it to the wrong stakeholder

Who is the best custodian of your new white paper? Sales? Business Development? Channel Marketing? Engineering? I’ve had good, rich content — like a news article, which goes stale fast — slide into obscurity because it went to a website owner who stuck it wherever it would fit, instead of to the champion who really promoted it on the site.

Don’t put a big form-fill in front of it

If you really want to waste time and money, put your white paper behind a long form. No reader wants to put up with that. Naturally, you want to capture the lead, but people would rather buy without a penalty for window shopping. I’ve posted before on the idea of giving away your content, which is a good idea if you have mountains of it, but if you’re not ready to make it so freely available, just ask for an e-mail address (be prepared for it to be a throwaway address) and an optional comment on what the visitor is looking for. Whenever I’ve done that, the uptake has surprised me.

This series has described white paper projects that don’t go well, and how you can avoid this situation.

Of course, sometimes they go quite well. What content marketing manager could want more than that?


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.”