White papers present your company with a unique opportunity to share your industry know-how and set yourself apart as an expert in your field. They are a great resource for reporters looking for background information on a subject and can help you to become a source for a story related to your industry.
The challenge of writing a white paper is what to do with it once it has been written. A white paper cannot be distributed as a news release would—reporters wouldn’t get beyond the first sentence—but without touting its existence, a white paper can get lost in the Internet abyss. After you spend the time and effort to write a white paper, it is important that reporters and consumers in your industry read it.
Just because you cannot send the white paper itself as a news release does not mean that no announcement should be made. A news release serves as a great way to notify reporters about your white paper. Because most white papers are not time-sensitive, it is a great announcement to send out during a “slow” period to ensure that reporters are still receiving news from your company.
The motive behind a white paper news release is different from that of other news releases. When you send out a news release announcing a white paper, you do not expect that reporters will publish this release; rather, your goal is to get reporters to read your white paper and refer to it for expert opinions on a topic. Therefore, this release should be written as a brief FYI, stating the topic of the white paper and a brief outline of the paper’s contents. You will also want to include the author or an expert that can be contacted for more detailed questions regarding the topic. As always, you will want to include company information and a media contact.
To help get your white paper in front of customers and prospects, it is essential to post it on your Web site. It might be a good idea to have an entire section dedicated to white papers so that you can catalog all works in one spot. Posting the white paper on your site ensures that it is searchable on the Web through Google searches, etc.
To increase the white paper’s search engine optimization (SEO), make sure it is laden with key words and phrases. Think about the search terms you would use to look up your topic and try to incorporate these words into your white paper and news release. Repetition will help your Google ranking, but be sure not to go overboard, or else it will be labeled trash.
Another option is to upload your white paper to a peer-reviewed site. This also indexes your white paper in search engines and can help its SEO tremendously. You may even get lucky and have it published in a journal!
As you can see, there are a number of ways to use white papers to your advantage. The time and effort put into them can be draining, but by following the above advice, your efforts will likely be rewarded.