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13 Powerful Tips for Promoting a White Paper – Part 2

by | Jun 7, 2016 | White Papers, Technology Marketing, Content Marketing | 0 comments

13 Powerful Tips for Promoting a White Paper – Part 2Even though white papers consistently rate as the most influential type of marketing content among technology buyers, technology marketers are frequently disappointed by the results they achieve with them.

Often, the reason is this: they didn’t treat their white paper like a product. They failed to market it effectively.

In this second installment of our three-part series, we’ll look at four more tips for promoting your next white paper and generating a higher ROI from your campaign.

If you missed the first installment in this series, click here to read Part 1.

Tip #6: Influence the Influencers

Who do people turn to for the latest news, trends and ideas in your industry? Who are your industry’s most influential journalists, bloggers and analysts? Get your white paper in their hands.

If you do, and your white paper contains fresh ideas, there’s a good chance they’ll report on it in their publication. Not only will this give you exposure to a wider audience, it will also enhance your white paper’s credibility.

Here are the three steps to take to make that happen.

Step 1: Publish a press release

To solicit the aid of industry journalists and bloggers, you need more than your white paper. You need a press release.

Start with an attention-grabbing headline, drawing on the title of your white paper. In the text of your release, emphasize the benefits your ideal reader will gain, and sprinkle in a few intriguing facts from the white paper. Include a couple of quotes from sources within your company and a link to your landing page.

When you’ve got your press release ready to go, distribute it through an online press release syndication service like PRWeb or PRNewswire. Use the best your budget will allow. It’s worth it.

If your budget is severely limited, CyberAlert recommends the following free press release distribution sites [1]:

Step 2: Send your press package to relevant industry journalists, bloggers and analysts

Once you have a white paper and a press release, you have a press package. You’ll want to send that package to any business journalists, trade journal editors, bloggers and industry analysts who cover your market niche.

White paper guru Gordon Graham, author of White Papers for Dummies and a former tech industry journalist himself, recommends the following channels for reaching these different classes of influencers [2]:

  • Courier – for major journalists and columnists at leading business publications or websites.
  • Express mail – for journalists and editors at mid-level trade publications or websites.
  • Regular mail (snail mail) – for analysts covering your market space. These will likely view your white paper as background material, so don’t expect an immediate response.
  • E-mail – for bloggers and minor journalists.

Graham reminds us that email is a poor way to reach most journalists (though not bloggers, who are native online creatures) because of the avalanche of email they receive. So when it comes to traditional journalists, use email only for those who offer a very limited return on your mailing investment.

Step 3: Engage patiently with receptive outlets

Don’t call up journalists asking if they received your package and if they are going to write about your white paper. Pestering them will only make them less likely to do so. They’re only human.

Do, however, follow-up with journalists and bloggers who show interest. Answer their questions and try to provide any additional information they request. Being helpful can only make them more willing to write about your white paper.

Some bloggers welcome guest posts, so if your white paper is on a topic that matches the interests of a particular blogger and his audience, submit a query. He may jump at the chance to have someone else create some interesting content for his blog.

Tip #7: Use Cost-effective Social Media

Social media is another tool you can use to effectively promote your white paper – with minimal impact on your budget.

We’ve already talked about repurposing your white paper content in your own blog (in Part 1 of this series) and in guest posts. So, here, we’ll look at some other social media channels.

When it comes to using social media for promoting a white paper, I believe the places to put your effort – besides blogging – are LinkedIn and Twitter. LinkedIn because it’s built for B2B. Twitter because you get lots of reach for little effort.


Twitter is powerful for promoting a white paper, because it’s so quick and low cost. With a free service like Hootsuite, you can write and schedule a month’s worth of tweets in an hour or two. Since tweets are limited to 140 characters, you can draw on individual reader benefits and interesting facts from your white paper to craft any number of intriguing messages.

Be sure to include a link to your landing page and any relevant hashtags that might draw new prospects from outside your circle of followers. And don’t forget to repeat your tweets. Use the #ICYMI (In case you missed it) hashtag if you fear you’re retweeting too often.


LinkedIn provides a number of channels you and other members of your marketing team can use to promote your white paper. You can mention your white paper (and include a link to your landing page) in:

  • Personal updates on your profile page.
  • Company updates on your company page.
  • Discussions in relevant LinkedIn Group forums.
  • Posts on your personal profile page.

Updates let you and your colleagues spread the word about your new white paper to your personal networks and company followers. Posts and LinkedIn Groups let you go even farther.

LinkedIn Groups let you reach vast audiences beyond your personal and company networks. The B2B Technology Marketing Community, for example, has over 89,000 members. And each member receives email updates of recent discussion activity. So if the topic of your white paper is of interest to members of a particular group, you can gain significant exposure.

LinkedIn’s “Publish a Post” feature allows you to post a long-form content piece related to your white paper. Plus, if your post is picked up on LinkedIn’s content aggregator, LinkedIn Pulse, you can reach an audience far wider than your personal or company network, or even LinkedIn Groups. And it’s not all that hard to get picked up by Pulse. Mike Templeman, a contributor to Forbes Magazine, suggests these tips for increasing the likelihood your post will appear in Pulse [3]:

  1. Make it original content that’s not repurposed from your blog or other website
  2. Don’t make it promotional. Pulse doesn’t like thinly-veiled sales pitches
  3. Make it engaging and fun to read
  4. Choose keywords for your title that help categorize it in one of Pulse’s major sections
  5. Make it more than 500 words long
  6. Pick a great image
  7. Share it right away and ask your network to like, comment, and share it as well. The more traction it can get right away, the better chance it has of being picked up

Tip #8: Get Third-party Assistance

Besides industry journalists, you can also get help with promoting your white paper from a number of other third parties.

One of those third-party groups we’ve already talked about (in Part 1 of this series) is your channel partners. While you’re emailing them to drum up their support for your white paper, ask them if they’ll feature it in their newsletter, in their blog and on their resources page. You can offer to contribute the article or guest post to help make that happen. They’ll likely welcome the extra content. Negotiate with them to link to your landing page, or create a special version of your white paper that drives readers to your website for the next step.

Does your company belong to any industry associations? Most likely, they have a newsletter, website or forum where you can post your white paper. These associations will likely want to handle registrations themselves, and you’ll have less leverage than you would with your channel partners. So again, use a special call to action that drives readers to your website.

Earlier, I suggested mailing a press package to relevant trade journals. But what if one of them doesn’t pick up your white paper story? Well, why not try placing an article with them. If you’re a regular advertising customer, you may be entitled to contribute the occasional article as part of your deal. But regardless, most trade journals will jump at the chance to gain free content, if it’s relevant to their audience and meets their editorial guidelines. Just be sure to study those guidelines (usually available on their website) and some back issues before making your query.

Finally, post your white paper on free white paper sites aimed at your target market. Besides the pay-for-leads syndication services like KnowledgeStorm, TechTarget and Ziff Davis (which will cost thousands of dollars), there are some free options out there.

Technology marketers should check out:

As with the big syndicators, you can pay to promote your white papers on these sites. But if your budget won’t allow that, these (at least for the moment) still let you post your white paper for free.

Tip #9: Create a Slide Deck

Another great way to promote your white paper – and get more mileage out of your investment in it – is to repurpose it as a slide deck.

Building a slide deck based from any type of white paper is pretty straightforward. Just devote a slide or two to every main section of your white paper. For a classic problem/solution white paper, for example, you’ll likely have two slides each for the problem, each traditional solution and it’s drawbacks, your new and better solution, and your “buyer’s guide” or “what to look for” section. If your numbered list white paper covers “5 Questions to Ask” on a given topic, budget two slides to each question. For a backgrounder white paper, use one or two slides for each feature or benefit your solution offers.

As with any slide presentation, keep your slides simple. Don’t do a massive text dump from your white paper onto your slides. Hit the main points. Keep bullets brief. Make good use of graphics. Once you’ve got the slides, draw on your white paper text to add speaker’s notes.

On your final slide, provide contact details and your call to action. This is where you promote your white paper. Include the link to your landing page and encourage the reader to download your white paper for more detailed information on the topic.

Once you have a slide deck, you not only have a tool for promoting your white paper. You also have a sales and training tool, as well as another piece of quality content you can promote.

Send your slide deck to your sales team and channel partners. Reviewing the presentation will train them on the problem your offering solves, as well as its features and benefits. You’ll also be giving them a tool they can use in making their sales presentations. For your channel partners, it’s also a reminder of your company and products that can help gain you more of their attention.

Is there someone on your team who has a pleasant speaking voice? Can you get access to a decent microphone? Consider turning your slide deck into an automated presentation. An automated presentation of your slide deck is a powerful white paper spinoff you can run on your website, your YouTube channel, even on a screen at your tradeshow pavilion.

And regardless of whether or not you automate it, you can always post your slide deck online on a number of slide-sharing sites, like SlideShare and SlideBoom, as well as on your own website. Plus, you’ve got your slides ready if you want to do an online webinar or industry conference presentation. (I’ll talk more about these last two options in Part 3 of this series.)

Take-away Points

If you want to get a decent return on investment from a white paper, you need to promote it. Along with the five tips we discussed in Part 1 of this series, put the following to work to help you do that:

  1. Create a press package and send it to journalists and bloggers who cover your industry.
  2. Promote your white paper on Twitter and LinkedIn.
  3.  Get help from interested third parties.
    • Ask channel partners to promote it in their newsletters and on their websites.
    • Promote it in industry associations newsletters, forums and websites.
    • Approach industry trade journals about a placed article.
    • Post it on free white paper sites.
  4. Build a slide deck based on your white paper, and:
    • Send it to your channel partners
    • Post it on your website
    • Post it to slide sharing sites
    • Consider turning it into an automated presentation.

Next Steps

Check out the other nine tips in this series by clicking on the following links:

And if you need some help planning or writing that next white paper, call CopyEngineer at (+39) 011 569 4951. Or email me at


[1] Comcowich, William, Free Press Release Distribution Services that Drive Traffic and Readership, CyberAlert, September 2013.

[2] Graham, Gordon, White Papers for Dummies, John Wiley and Sons, 2013.

[3] Templeman, Mike, How Social Media Can be Your Best Source for Leads, Forbes, July 2015.

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