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How to Write an Affiliate Marketing White Paper That Will Engage People

Understanding how to write a white paper will help you position your affiliate marketing brand as a thought leader. In addition, a good-quality white paper will generate leads and boost future sales of your core products or services.

What Is a White Paper?

A white paper is a text-focused, long-form piece of content that addresses a business-related problem and presents a solution. Ultimately, it educates its readers on the industry and helps them better understand the problem and the solutions available.

how to write a white paper

In other words, a white paper is very similar to a blog, except it’s more extended and more educational. Sometimes, brands create a white paper from a collection of blog posts about similar topics.

White papers are more widely used to share business solutions in a B2B market. Compared to the B2C market, B2B buyers need an in-depth understanding of the problem and your brand’s solution before they become paying customers. A detailed and technical white paper is the perfect tool for educating your affiliate marketing audience.

Read Also: The 5 Stages of Demand Generation Marketing

Why Do You Need a White Paper?

A white paper can be a powerful piece of affiliate content marketing. It positions you as a thought leader and helps you build trust among your target audience. If you can share your expertise in your white papers, people will start to rely on you as a valuable source of information.

People who trust the information and advice you share are more likely to buy your core products or services in the future. In other words, creating a white paper is a powerful way to generate leads for future sales.

Different Types of White Papers

Before we talk about how to write a white paper, let’s outline the different types of white papers that you can write:

  1. Backgrounder: This white paper focuses on your core product or service. It addresses its benefits or how to use it.
  2. Problem-solution: This white paper discusses a business problem and presents a solution.
  3. State of the industry: This white paper comments on recent trends in the industry.

Here at Kontely, we prefer the problem-solution white paper format. This format allows you to discuss a common problem your affiliate marketing audience is experiencing and recommend your brand as a solution.

The backgrounder white paper should be used with caution. It can easily be seen as a blatant sales pitch, and buyers are very wary of blatant brand advertising. Using the backgrounder can make it hard for you to connect with your target affiliate marketing audience.

How to Write a White Paper

For your white paper to be effective, you must plan.

Your white paper’s readers are probably a B2B audience. These people usually have an apparent idea of what information they need. It also takes more effort to convert a B2B lead into a paying client than a B2C lead.

For these reasons, you must carefully consider all the content you produce for a B2B audience.

The last thing you want is to pour hours, sweat, and tears into creating the perfect white paper only to realize you didn’t correctly outline the solution. Worse still, you misunderstood the problem.

To produce an influential white paper, we would recommend following these three steps:

1) Choose a Topic

Before writing your white paper, you must choose a topic to focus on. You can get inspiration for this topic from your affiliate marketing audience, your area of expertise, and the knowledge gaps in the industry.

a) Your Audience

Understanding your target audience will help you create a white paper that people want to read. If you can study your audience, you will know their pain points and how to help them.

Sometimes, when you profile your affiliate marketing target audience, their problems aren’t obvious. If this is the case, don’t despair. You can always use a survey to help you understand what these people need help with.

Once you know your audience’s problems, you can propose a solution. This will help you produce valuable information.

how to understand your audience's needs

In-depth knowledge of your affiliate marketing audience will also help you write your white paper in an appropriate voice.

If your target audience is new to the topic you are addressing, then it is essential to use easy-to-understand language. If, on the other hand, your audience is already knowledgeable about the subject, then it’s safe to use more complex language and industry terms.

b) Your Expertise

Don’t just focus on finding a topic that interests your audience and declare it a genius idea. You must also know about the chosen subject to produce a valuable white paper.

Is this an area you have expertise in, or will you struggle to generate those 3,000+ words? If you think you’ll have difficulty writing about the topic you’re considering, then you should choose a different topic.

Don’t risk writing about something you don’t know much about. If you accidentally provide false information, you’ll lose the trust of your affiliate marketing target audience.

c) Knowledge Gaps in the Industry

Writing about topics not often addressed in your affiliate marketing niche can help establish your role as a trusted authority.

Try to write about something new or share a new perspective on a common problem so that your white paper can stand out.

Choosing a unique topic will add value to your white paper before you’ve even started writing.

2) Do Some Research

White papers are designed to be factual and objective. For this reason, it’s essential to research and gather supporting evidence.

Collect data that you can share to back up your claims. Ultimately, research data generates a more profound sense of trust among your affiliate marketing audience than unfounded claims.

In addition to researching supporting evidence, you should also read other white papers in your industry. These can be a good source of inspiration, especially if this is your first white paper.

3) Write the White Paper

Once you’ve come up with a topic and done your research, it’s time to start writing the actual white paper. You don’t want your readers to dig through your white paper for vital information. With this in mind, it’s essential to stick to the standard white paper format:

a) Title

Crafting an exciting title is essential to entice your website visitors to read the rest of the white paper.

A good title is both concise and descriptive. When in doubt, brainstorm a few ideas and run them by your coworkers. They should be able to tell you which title would convince them to read the rest of your white paper.

b) Executive Summary

A summary is a sneak peek of the key takeaways from your white paper. It helps both you and your affiliate marketing readers. It keeps you focused and gives your readers a good idea of what they should expect from you before diving in.

Your executive summary is where you can convince your readers that this white paper is worth reading. For this reason, you should include some interesting quotes, data, and visuals from the main body of your document.

c) The Problem

Every single part of your white paper is indeed essential. It would be best to write more about the problem and the solution than anything else. After all, your audience has come to you to be educated; these are the most educational parts of a white paper.

Take time to outline the problem and explain how it makes life difficult. You will help your readers feel understood by approaching the issue this way.

d) The Solution

The solution is where you present your social proof – evidence that the audience should trust you. Ideally, the solution is where you introduce your brand’s product or service – a solution to the problem above.

It’s more effective to avoid directly linking your solution to your affiliate marketing brand immediately. This way, your white paper won’t seem like a sales pitch. Warm your audience first by telling them there is a solution to their problem.

By presenting a seemingly neutral solution, you will disarm your audience. If they don’t suspect you’re trying to sell something to them, then they will be more open to your solution.

When you’re done discussing this solution, your readers will wonder where to find it. That is the perfect segue for your white paper’s call to action section.

e) Call to Action

In your call to action, you explain to your audience where to find the solution to their problem. With you!

The call to action is where you introduce your affiliate marketing brand and tell your readers how to get their hands on your solution.

Do they need to sign up for something? Do they need to pay for a product? Give them all those details here so they do not have unanswered questions.

f) References

An excellent white paper doesn’t simply use research data. It also lists the sources from which this data was pulled. Being transparent about your sources helps to encourage your affiliate marketing readers to trust you.

How to Write a White Paper: Best Practices

As a content creator, your job doesn’t end when you understand how to write a white paper. To make your affiliate marketing content stand out, go beyond this.

Here are some things you can do if you want to produce a white paper that people will be excited to read:

1. Include Your Research

Facts and figures are great, but even better if they come from your research. Your audience doesn’t want to see the same data they’ve seen hundreds of times before.

Take time to conduct your research to offer your readers new findings.

2. Include Quotes From Thought Leaders

Another way to differentiate yourself from competitors is by including quotes from thought leaders in the industry.

People always want to hear from industry experts, so quoting them will add an exciting dimension to your white paper and support your claims.

3. Make It Visual

A common misconception about white papers is that they must focus on texts and numbers to be professional and convincing.

However, adding visual content to your white paper will help you explain complex concepts and break down figures in a fun way.

4. Make It Engaging

Speaking of fun, just because your white paper is aimed at professionals doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make it engaging. We know you’re excited to educate your affiliate marketing readers, but paragraph after paragraph of dry content will only turn people off.

You can educate your audience while also being engaging. A white paper that is fun to read will be more enjoyable and memorable.

How can you make it fun to read? First, you can use a conversational tone. Second, you can make your white paper interactive instead of static.

An interactive white paper is more enjoyable because people can actively engage with the content. Some brands create white papers whose pages can be turned, for example, while others include interactive quizzes.

5. Make It Gated

Another way to harness the power of a white paper is to make it gated. With a gated format, you can provide a sneak peek at your white paper using the executive summary. This will encourage website visitors to give you their email addresses so that they can read more.

A gated white paper is an excellent way to generate leads, which could become future sales for your affiliate marketing brand.

6. Include Case Studies

Case studies will help make your white paper more interesting. While numbers are an excellent way to back up your claims, storytelling convinces your audience to trust you.

If they read about how your solution helped another client, your readers can put themselves in that client’s shoes and imagine how your solution can help them. Case studies will make your solution more relatable to your affiliate marketing audience.

7. Invest in the Design

As we’ve just said, visuals matter as much as your text and figures. Design an appealing white paper. This way, you can stand out from your competition immediately and stand out in your audience’s memory later on.

8. Follow the Buyer’s Journey

Your white paper is an effective tool for the awareness stage of the buyer journey. At this stage, the client has just become aware of their problem. They want to be educated on the issue and potential solutions; your white paper does just that.

However, it’s not enough to educate your audience and send them on their merry way. If you do this, they might disappear, never to be heard of again. To move this client to the next sales funnel stage, you must keep in touch with them long after they have read your white paper.

This is why collecting email addresses in return for your white paper is a good idea. If you have someone’s email address, it’s easy to keep in touch and send them more educational material later.

Once this person has moved on to the interest stage, you can entice them with the other elements of your B2B content marketing strategy.

AIDA sales funnel

Writing a white paper can be daunting, especially when you still have a blank page. However, with the steps outlined above, you should know how to write a white paper that will engage people and convert leads.


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