Professional services firms have overwhelmingly embraced content marketing. According to legal marketing statistics, the majority of law firms have some form of content marketing strategy in place. Out of the approximately 33% that lack such a strategy, 25% anticipate putting one in place within the next year.
Clearly, firms have realized through real-world results that purchasers of legal services are influenced by quality content. The keyword here is quality. Volume should not take precedence over value. And for many client-side decision-makers, there is no more compelling form of content than the white paper.
White papers are ideal vehicles for professional services marketing content largely because they are viewed as relevant and useful. Their main purpose is to provide in-depth insights and explanations on topics of concern to their target audiences. Surveys have shown that in-house counsel and C-suite decision-makers are strongly drawn to content that has a high degree of utility.
If your firm has implemented or is implementing a content marketing program, you should strongly consider adding white papers to the mix. But what makes a good white paper?
- Consider length: White papers, by their nature, are more substantive than blog posts, but they also shouldn’t read like a novella. Your readers are busy people, too. Try to limit your paper to no more than 10 pages.
- Create an executive summary: Some readers are just going to want the highlights of your white paper, while others are going to want a taste of what’s inside before investing the time to read the document in full. To target these readers, create an executive summary.
- Use section headings: Nobody likes reading a wall of text. Break up sections of your white paper with section headings. This also aids your readers in skimming the white paper so they can find information most pertinent to their needs.
- Add some flair: It used to be standard practice to make white papers as dry as possible. While you still need to write with a voice of professional authority, contemporary content marketing practices let you take some liberties with language so your analysis is an enjoyable read.
- Go soft on the sales pitch: A white paper is not meant to be an overt sales tool. It is meant to convey your experience and educate your audience to help usher prospects through the sales funnel so when a need arises, you’ll be top of mind.
How Can Jaffe Help You with White Papers?
Jaffe takes the integrated marketing approach to professional services marketing. We understand how all the varied pieces — including strategy, branding, digital, content and business development — come together to create a powerful, cohesive whole. Our team of consultants can work with your firm to develop a comprehensive content marketing strategy that incorporates white papers, reflects your brand and drives your firm toward its business development goals. Our strategists will work with you to parse out your key audience segments and identify relevant white paper topics, while our branding and design experts will ensure the look of your final product reflects the quality of your brand. Finally, our digital strategists and publicists can create a distribution plan that incorporates both social and traditional media channels.