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The art of advertising to online business is just beginning to take hold. If you miss the train, it may run over you.

Why Your White Paper Should Be Like Dragnet (The TV Show)

Remember the old TV program Dragnet? Dragnet was a very popular police drama based
on true stories which played on the CBS network in the late 1960’s. Actor/Executive
Producer Jack Webb starred as the low-key, monotone detective Joe Friday. Joe was
famous for his ultra-serious, almost dead-pan interviews of witnesses to crimes in Los
Angeles. If his subjects started adding in their own personal opinions or irrelevant
information about the case at hand, Joe would interrupt by uttering the signature line of
the program “Just the facts, Ma’am.” He wanted to learn only factual data so he could
evaluate the situation purely on the basis of real evidence.

OK what do Sergeant Joe Friday and Dragnet have to do with your white paper? Your
B2B prospects who download and read your white paper are also just beginning the
evaluation of your product or service. In effect, they are playing the role of Joe Friday in
trying to discover the best solution for their company. Think of your white paper
consumers as detectives looking for an education on a facet of your particular vertical by
collecting just factual information. Like the methodical Joe Friday, they do not want to
bias their research with your opinion (your specific offering). Therefore a true white
paper is a great giveaway as part of a B2B Pay-Per-Click campaign because it gives the
searcher exactly what they want most at that moment; objective data.

One of the most common mistakes made by B2B technology companies, however, is to
construct a white paper that really is a loosely camouflaged product pitch. Initially
believing they will receive an impartial perspective, the reader now feels like the victim
of a bait and switch marketing ploy. Another related error is to write a document that
starts out sounding like a white paper which then also includes a section from a company
product brochure. Both types of these documents are also very hard to promote in a B2B
PPC campaign because they lack the real, data-supported focal point of a true white
paper. Even when they are downloaded, these “mixed-message” faux white papers can
serve to confuse and sometimes irritate the reader.

Consequently white papers should never contain product or company information. In fact
one of the main goals of this type of a document is to position your company or
spokesperson as being the objective expert in your field. In summary, AVOID the
temptation to discuss your product or service in collateral labeled as a white paper. You
will have plenty of opportunity to logically present your side of the story when the
prospect is at a more receptive stage of their buying cycle.

Your potential clients will appreciate your company much more if you give them the Joe
Friday “just the facts” treatment in your next white paper. This approach should also
result in more legitimate sales inquiries for your business.

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