White papers continue to top charts and surveys as effective content marketing tools.
They help you generate leads, explain your relatively complex offerings and create hunger for them in the minds of prospects, help you build thought leadership and so on.
However, generating leads is the primary function they’re tasked with, because readers would have to submit their emails and become your leads before they get to read them.
But you know how this works, if your white papers don’t get to prospects, they’re never going to generate any lead.
So without further ado, here are 5 effective ways to promote your white papers and generate loads of leads.
1. Expanded guest posts (EGP)
Guest posting has built buzz for lots of companies and their products. Startups like Buffer used the tactic and earned over 100,000 users. Renowned online marketing company Mirasee (formerly Firepole Marketing) also became known virtually everywhere using this same strategy. And so forth.
Guest posting can do the same for your white papers. But what’s more is that its expanded version, Expanded Guest Posts, can do even more.
Bryan Harris of Video Fruit used the EGP formula and generated 503 new leads in one day. That’s quite interesting because those are actually 503 prospective customers who have just read his content on a blog that they mostly follow and love and decided to submit their emails to him, just to get more of he has to offer.
You simply need to write guest posts on popular blogs that are related to your white paper’s topic and encourage their thousands of daily readers to explore it.
The idea about this is that your guest post’s content hooks them so much so that they become eager to find out more about it in your white paper—assuming your guest post’s topic is related to your paper. And it should.
Just like what’s the norm when you’re watching a series like The Flash. Barry Allen loses what makes him the hero of the movie—his speed—in episode 20. And you can find out if he got it back only if you watched episode 21.
So what happens? You’re hooked, and really looking forward to the next episode.
In the same way, you can hook prospects to your white paper using EGPs. Somewhere in the middle of your guest post, tell them there’s a report that can help them with something very important as regards your guest post topic and they can access it at the end of your article.
And generally, the more Expanded Guest Posts (EGP) you write on popular blogs that have your prospects as readers, the more relevant eyes you get on your paper.
2. Influencer marketing
Influencers have followers who see them as trusted experts that they look up to for pioneering and reliable information. Getting them to share your paper (and I’ll show you how in a bit) can get you a lot of readers and leads.
For example, DrumUp—a social media and content marketing app—created a blog post titled 100 Top Books On Social Media Marketing.
Apparently, the post features over 100 different authors and co-authors, and many of them happen to be influencers.
The article could have been DrumUp’s usual 20-shares-per-post experience until renowned marketer Guy Kawasaki tweeted the post just a few hours after it went live.
Lots of his followers retweeted and many of them also checked out the post.
After experiencing the impact that just one influencer had on their post by sharing it, they reached out to other featured authors and asked them to increase exposure for the useful resource.
And they did.
Long story short, they achieved some brilliant results:
“…the result was a viral post shared and liked by over 1300 people and counting. The effect trickled down to DrumUp appregistrations too, which increased by almost 600% and continued at the same rate for the next 5 days.”
So if your white paper were in DrumUp’s blog post’s shoes, you have a good chance of getting similar results. But remember, your influencer needs to have your prospects as his followers.
So how do get influencers to share your paper?
Simply make them part of the content creation process. You don’t need to ask too many questions. That can easily push them away.
Sometimes, the conversation could begin with a simple tweet, such as:
“Hey John, can I send you a quick line on a report we’re creating on [a topic in your field]? We’d like to have your expert opinion on it”
Personally, I’ve gotten positive responses from influencers and editors of popular publications using a simple tweet like this.
On the other hand, email outreach can also be of great help. I rarely use it, but there are several others who have had success with it.
Email outreach example:
My name is John Michael and I’m the CMO at Joe Inc. I read your article (or e-book, etc) on ‘Storytelling for Marketing Success’ and really loved it. I especially loved the part where you mentioned that… [FILL IN THE GAP WITH SOMETHING YOU LOVE IN HIS BOOK].
So I thought your expert opinion would be really helpful in a report we’re creating at Joe Inc. What do you think about [A SPECIFIC QUESTION UNDER YOUR REPORT’S TOPIC]?
Your thoughts will be highly appreciated. However, if for some reason you won’t be able to answer this question, please let me know.”
Then once your white paper is ready, give your featured influencers a timely heads up about it, and encourage them to share.
But what if you don’t you don’t get their replies?
- Go ahead and include a quote from their previous work in your paper.
- Once the report is ready, tweet them individually. E.g. “Hey James, just showed you some love in our latest white paper [link to report]”.
- Give them a heads up via an email with the following subject line “Showed you some love in our latest white paper”.
3. Gate with UberFlip
Uberflip is a tool that helps you put all your content (blog posts, infographics, case studies, white papers, videos, etc) in one place—thereby making it easy to engage and convert readers.
And then prospects have to fill out a form before they can access your paper. The problem here is, those requirements you’re putting in naturally make people feel hesitant to read the paper.
Uberflip pretty much solves this problem. It also allows you to collect emails and other details, but it does this without a landing page.
So, prospects won’t have to see a gate that stands between them and your content. And in many cases, some change their minds at this point and postpone reading your report—just because of the stress your gate poses.
With Uberflip you can direct people straight to your paper. But just before they begin to read it, a form pops up in their face with just one field that requires their email address.
Naturally, readers would see this “one requirement” as an easy task, as opposed to the long list of requirements in the traditional landing pages we know.
But, it doesn’t end there.
Since you’d mostly need more details than just emails about your leads, once they put in their emails, another set of fields (if you like, and depending on how many you choose) shows up.
4. Facebook Ads
Before you totally conclude that Facebook is only for B2C businesses only and so your b2b prospects don’t hang out there for work, allow me to introduce you to 5 case studies from marketing expert Brian Carter that might change your mind.
And who’s Brian, by the way? Well, he’s a 15-year digital marketing veteran and popular social media speaker (with clients like NBC, Microsoft, etc).
In a guest post on Convince and Convert, Brian shared the results he and his team have gotten for their B2B clients using Facebook Ads over a 12-month period
5. Twitter Ads
Several success stories have proved that people have earned really interesting returns from their Ads on Twitter. In fact, if you Google Twitter Ad Success Story right now, you’ll see loads of them.
But here’s one from Digital Marketer, a well-known marketing firm, which reveals some pretty interesting and actionable insights into how you can drive leads to your white paper from Twitter.
How Digital Marketer Earned 198% ROI From Their Twitter Ads
Digital Marketer wanted to drive people to a course called ‘Authority ROI’ on their site.
So they employed Twitter Ads, but decided to not pitch the course they wanted to sell right from them. Instead, they enticed prospects by promoting three helpful articles (as shown below)—which would afterward introduce people to their course after offering the value promised in their promoted tweets.
Their ads looked like the usual Twitter promoted tweets that we know, just that they weren’t selling anything. They didn’t mention any product or service or ask people to sign up for a course, but only offered value.
Isn’t that Native Advertising? Exactly. When an ad follows the form and function of where it’s placed, it’s called a Native Ad.
People use Twitter to find useful content (that’s the form and function of Twitter) + an ad that follows the same function = A native ad.
And so, that’s how Digital Marketer generated 198% ROI.
Your white paper can follow the same route since it’s not directly selling anything. It’s a helpful content that offers nothing but value to its readers, and then introduces prospects to your problem-solving offering.