White papers are excellent marketing tools for B2B businesses. They exist to inform, explain and educate, and there are a number of reasons why repurposing your long-form content into even longer-form content is a good idea... that said, this type of long-form, educational content takes time to create, so that’s why we want to look at how to create effective white papers by repurposing blog posts.
In this blog post and podcast episode we’ll explore:
- What a white paper actually is
- What a white paper is not!
- What types of blog posts are ideal for repurposing into a white paper, and
- How to create a white paper from your blog post
Hit the ‘play’ button below to listen to the podcast episode:
Or read on and find out more…
What is a white paper?
Interesting fact... the term white paper originated when government documents were color-coded to indicate where they were to be distributed – white was for public access.
That might explain why the name itself sounds overly corporate and boring... but they really don’t have to be. Because, when done right they are a brilliant resource for your sales and marketing team, and they help build trust and credibility with your audience.
Now, the true definition of a white paper can divide a room, because it does vary from industry to industry, but it is generally agreed that they are persuasive, in-depth documents on a specific topic, that presents a problem and provides a solution.
What is a white paper not?
A white paper isn’t a product pitch. Although they are often described as documents designed to promote or highlight a solution, product or service, they are not the place to promote your product or business. They are there to educate and inform and should stick to facts and evidence – they are not there to convince the reader that they desperately need your product or service!
Bearing this in mind, it’s important to be sure that a white paper is right for your current content and your audience.
What type of blog posts are best for repurposing into a white paper?
Chances are your B2B blog posts generally consist of a headline, an introduction where you introduce the problem and then the main body, which covers the solutions – they are basically mini-white papers in the making!
Solution-based blog posts are perfect for this type of repurposing and if you’ve been at it for a few years, or even months, you may well have the content you need already.
The structure does vary from industry to industry, but your end result will typically want to include the following elements:
- A strong headline
- An introduction that lets them know what will be covered in the body of the content
- A description of the issue or problem
- The solutions section
- The conclusion
And because it is a comprehensive, educational document you do need to include your references and sources too.
How to repurpose blog posts into a white paper…
1. Pick a topic
The first thing is to identify a problem you have covered in your blog posts that really resonates with your audience and use that as the topic. Do this by listening to your readers’ input and feedback, and looking at your website analytics to spot your popular posts – this way, you know that you are providing your audience with something they actually want, ultimately ensuring more demand for the end result.
From there it’s time to plan. Create an outline and review your current blog posts for content that can be repurposed.
You may discover that there are gaps that need to be filled. This provides a great opportunity to fill those gaps with new content… which of course you can then repurpose into other content and so on – the great circle of life!
You know your topic inside out, but a white paper is a different beast to a blog post and everything needs to check out against credible sources. Even though you know your information is 100% correct, checked and double-checked, you still need to prove that in a white paper, so collect and include all references and sources.
Some like a linear approach to writing – start with the introduction and work down – while others prefer to leave the beginning until last. There is no right or wrong way, as long as the end result is what you want it to be.
Once you are happy, it’s a good idea to get someone to look over it to check the flow, spot any typos, and point out anything that might not sound right. It’s easy to miss errors when you’ve been staring at something for weeks, so another pair of eyes will help to ensure you present your readers with the best possible end result.
5. Layout and finalize
If you have an in-house design team or a budget, it’s a good idea to get a graphic designer to complete the layout. The design should be on-brand and simple, as this is a professional document, but you still want it to look easy on the eye and intriguing enough to download.
So, by repurposing your blog posts you can create a really strong, persuasive white paper for your audience and customers.
As mentioned already, it’s not the repurposing plan for everyone, as white papers have a very specific purpose, but it could well be the right option for you, and if the shoe fits..!
If you have repurposed content into a white paper, or even written one from scratch then we’d love to hear about how you went about it. Please do let us know in the comment box below.
If your team needs some help with repurposing, let us know! Our content repurposing services fit in with your existing marketing strategy to help you get the best out of your content. To find out more on this, click here.
For more tips, why not check out our library of podcast episodes and blog posts. And you can get your hands on our book Content 10x: More Content, Less Time, Maximum Results for even more content repurposing guidance.