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13 Powerful Tips for Promoting a White Paper – Part 3

by | Jul 2, 2016 | Collateral, White Papers, Articles, Direct Mail, Technology Marketing, Content Marketing | 0 comments

13 Powerful Tips for Promoting a White Paper – Part 3In survey after survey, technology buyers have named white papers the form of marketing content that influences them the most when they’re making purchasing decisions.[i] So, it’s not surprising that technology companies produce thousands of white papers each year.

But that abundance creates a problem for technology marketers: How do you get your new white paper noticed amongst the thousands that are already out there? Obviously, you shouldn’t just post it to your resources page and hope for the best. Instead, you need to market your new white paper as you would any other product.

In this, the final installment of our three-part series, we’ll discuss the final four of our thirteen tips for effectively promoting a white paper. If you missed the first two installments, you can find those here:

Tip #10: Use only “precision-targeted” advertising

Advertising can be pricy, whether it’s online or offline. You want to maximize the chances you’ll get a worthwhile return on what you spend.

So if you use paid advertising to promote your white paper, you’ll want to target it precisely. And you’ll want to be sure you can track your results.

For those two reasons just mentioned, you should use direct response advertising for promoting your white paper. A direct response advertisement, of course, is one that urges the prospect to take immediate, specific action – in this case, to download the white paper.

This is distinctly different from a “brand” or “image” ad, which works to imbed an association in the prospect’s mind between your brand and a given “image” or idea so that the prospect will recall that association – that brand image – when it comes time to make a purchasing decision. This type of advertising can be great for keeping your brand top of mind with your prospects, but it won’t spur them to download your white paper.

In other words, don’t try tacking a white paper offer onto the end of an image ad for your brand. Your ad must “sell” your white paper and only your white paper, not your brand, and get prospects to take action right away. For this, you need a direct response advertisement.

Keys to a successful direct response ad

Start with an attention-grabbing, benefit-oriented headline.  Then sell your prospects on the benefits of reading your white paper. At the end, provide a clear call to action that directs them to your landing page and urges them to download your white paper now.

Also, use a unique landing page for every ad you run. There are two reasons for this.

First, a unique landing page address for each promotion will allow you to individually track and compare response from different promotions. That way, you can see what’s working, what’s not, and how any tweaks you apply affect your results.

Second, you can tailor your landing page to the specific promotion. Research has shown that conversion rates improve when a landing page is optimized for the campaign that’s driving traffic to it.

Where should you advertise?

Well, the most obvious places are (1) trade journals – and any other industry publications or online portals your prospects read – and (2) Google AdWords.

Trade journals

If you already allocate budget to trade journal advertising, consider using some of it to promote your next white paper – especially if that white paper addresses a nagging problem within your industry. After all, isn’t that the kind of information business buyers turn to trade journals for?

You might even be able to double down on your investment.

Many trades offer free article space for regular advertisers. If you’re placing an ad to advertise your white paper, use the free article space to briefly discuss some of its key points. Be sure to include a link to your landing page in the resource box at the end for those who want to learn more. That way, you’ll get two promotions for the price of one – in the same precisely-targeted publication.

Google AdWords

If you think prospects are likely to search on terms that match your white paper, Google AdWords may be a good way to promote it. Be warned, however, that AdWords isn’t easily mastered. But if you have someone who has a good handle on AdWords, then by all means, give it a shot. Just be sure to cap your monthly budget to avoid any ugly surprises.

Tip #11: Make Face-to-Face Conversation

Don’t underestimate the power of personal conversation in promoting your white paper. Prospects are more likely to read content if it’s offered by someone with whom they’ve made a personal connection. You and your marketing and sales teammates should be prepared to talk about your white paper in face-to-face encounters with prospects at trade shows and other events.

Be sure to have copies to hand out at those events.  Also, have your landing page address memorized, so you can write it on the back of your business card when you run out of hard copies or when carrying copies just isn’t practical. If your budget allows, copy your white paper onto flash drives emblazoned with your company logo. But don’t leave them lying out on the counter for anyone to grab. Hand them to serious prospects you’ve had a conversation with.

Of course, you’ll also want to get your white paper into the hands of your sales force. White papers make good conversation starters for salespeople, giving them a perfect reason to reach out to desired accounts and touch base with existing leads. They also help position your salespeople as helpful advisors (rather than pushy pests).  And white papers make good leave-behinds following face-to-face sales calls, especially if the topic of the white paper was touched upon during the call.

Tip #12: Try Something Unusual

So far, we’ve covered the most widely-used tactics for effectively promoting a white paper. But often, a less common tactic can provide great results, because its novelty attracts prospects’ attention. Here, we’ll look briefly at five unusual or underutilized tactics you might want to consider when promoting your white paper.


Do you have two or three subject matter experts or executives who can talk on the subject of your white paper in an interesting, engaging way? Why not get them together for a chat and record the conversation? Using a talk radio format, you can pull together a 10-to-15-minute podcast, which you can distribute on your website as a streaming and downloadable MP3 file.

At the end of your conversation, encourage your audience to download the full white paper for more details. And be sure to repeat the URL of your landing page several times.

Video Chat or Vlog

A video chat, or Vlog, is similar to a podcast, but in video form. You’ll use the same talk show format with your SMEs, but a video chat should be shorter (5 to 10 minutes) and a bit lighter in tone than a podcast.

It’s also more involved. You may want to hire an experienced videographer who can also help with lighting and makeup, so everyone looks their best. Luckily, this type of help is now cheaper and more readily available than it was just a few years ago.

As with the podcast, the purpose of this video chat is to promote your white paper. So be sure to mention the additional benefits the audience will gain by reading the full white paper, and run your landing page URL across the bottom of the screen several times throughout the show. Edit out any slow bits to keep the pace brisk, and then post your video to YouTube and your website.


If you’ve repurposed your white paper in a slide deck, as suggested in Tip # 9 of this series, you’ve got the presentation materials ready for an online webinar. This is a rather ambitious tactic, but a highly effective one for squeezing even more ROI out of your white paper.

Naturally, you’ll need certain infrastructure for taking registrations, sending out time-and-date reminders, and enabling participants to view slides, hear the audio, post questions to chat, etc., all of which is available through webinar services like Cisco Webex and GoToWebinar. Plus, you’ll need to promote the webinar heavily for a few weeks to generate registrations.

Also, be prepared to accommodate prospects who can’t attend at the scheduled time. You’ll get more sign-ups if you assure registrants they’ll receive a recording of the webinar to view later. You can also post that recording to your website and your YouTube channel to further promote your white paper.

Conference Presentation

If your white paper addresses a nagging problem in your industry and provides a fresh, innovative solution, ask to have it put on the agenda at your next industry conference. Once again, if you’ve put together a slide deck (Tip #9), you’ve already got your presentation ready. Take along printed or flash drive copies of your white paper and hand them to audience members afterward – in exchange for their business cards.

Direct Mail

Do you maintain a list of leads, prospects and likely suspects? Does that list include mailing addresses?

If so, why not send a direct mail promotion for your white paper to that list? And if not, consider doing a little research to add mailing addresses. Then target your list with a direct mail campaign.

Compared to email, direct mail is obviously more expensive. So it’s far less used. But because it’s less used, it’s much more likely to be noticed by the recipient. Well-targeted direct mail typically garners much higher response rates than email, especially if the recipients already know your company.

To keep costs down and ensure higher ROI, you can trim your lists to high-value targets. But do be sure to re-send to non-responders: a single mailing won’t hit every interested prospect at just the right time.

Tip #13: Repeat What’s Working

Regardless of which tactics you use to promote your white paper, keep track of your results. Define metrics for determining the efficacy of each promotion, and monitor those metrics regularly. Then, tweak your promotions to see if you can improve results. Repeat what’s working. Abandon what’s not. Try new tactics.

And above all, keep pushing that white paper. Don’t just promote it for a couple of weeks. A good white paper, well promoted, can keep bringing in returns for quite some time.

Be aware, however, that results typically vary according to the type of white paper you’re promoting. With backgrounder white papers, buzz usually dies down shortly after product launch, after which it can be relegated to sales support. A helpful (or controversial) numbered list, on the other hand, can often generate results for several months. And a solid problem/solution white paper, if it addresses a nagging problem in your industry, can be updated with new findings and keep bringing in leads for years.

So keep promoting ‘til the creek runs dry. Squeeze everything you can out of your white paper investment.

Take-away Points

A good white paper is an extremely powerful marketing tool… if it is well promoted.

To get the most out of your white paper investment, treat it like a product launch: promote it wisely.

Consider the following tactics when setting up your white paper launch (along with those described in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series):

1. Use only “precision-targeted” (direct response) advertising.

2. Promote your white paper in face-to-face conversations with prospects and encourage your sales team to do so, as well.

3. Don’t be afraid to try something different, like a:

  • Podcast
  • Video chat or vlog
  • Webinar
  • Conference presentation
  • Direct mail campaign

4. Repeat what’s working for as long as your white paper generates results.

Next Steps

As mentioned earlier, if you missed the first two installments in this series, you can catch up by clicking these links:

Need help planning, writing or promoting your next (or first) white paper?  Call CopyEngineer at (+39) 011 569 4951. Or email me at


[i] Eccolo Media 2008-2014 B2B Technology Collateral Surveys,

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