White papers are a big investment of time, resources and money. So why not repurpose that white paper into content that just keeps giving?
Your white paper is most likely a substantial document, chock full of research, quotes and persuasive copy about a solution only your company offers. Yet after the initial promotion, it sits behind a gated landing page or in a resources section, waiting to be activated into life.
Done with a bit of finesse, however, your white paper can be presented like your best dish at a dinner party. Over the next few days (or in content terms, weeks and months), it can be served up in multiple ways, with each offering as delicious as the first.
Who cares if that turkey chili or fried rice originated in some other form? It’s still tasty!
You can plan to repurpose your white paper from the get-go, especially if it’s time-sensitive. Or you can tackle the task after the white paper has been out for awhile, using the opportunity to update the content.
Either way, the point is to squeeze every last bit of value from your white paper. Here are a few options.
Blog posts are an easy, natural fit to repurposing your content. After all, your white paper is made up of sections. Why not take some of those and turn them into additional content? Blog posts can also help drive your audience to – what else? – your white paper!
Take a look at your white paper and see if you can get three meaty blog posts out of it. They may not be the 1,200-word content beasts that are so common now, but they should be substantial.
For example, I had a client take the first third of a 3,500-word white paper I wrote for them and use that as a blog post. The call to action (CTA) directed the audience to request a magazine in which the white paper appeared.
You might need to make some adjustments, of course, when turning that white paper into a series of blog posts. Keep the following in mind:
Headings in white papers may have SEO, but their job isn’t to get eyeballs for the first time. That’s the job of the landing page. Instead, headings break up the text of a large document and provide signposts to the audience.
For a blog post, you’ll have to rewrite headings into headlines that will draw the reader in, from list titles (e.g., “5 Tips to Writing Effective Blog Posts “) to fear-of-missing-out titles (“The Only Cybersecurity Tool You Need to Make Your System Secure”). If you don’t know how to write headlines, I strongly suggest you download Jon Morrow’s guide to headline writing.
You most likely (as in should) have a CTA at the end of your white paper. But not for each section. Now that you’re repurposing your white paper into new content, each blog post must have a CTA.
Your CTA can direct someone to download your entire white paper or it can be something completely different. You might have a new offer that’s applicable. Whatever you decide, make sure you tell your audience what to do next at the end of each blog post.
Your white paper may have a few graphical images, but chances are, it doesn’t have large, horizontal images above each section. Best practices for blog posts, however, dictate an image at the top, not only to create visual appeal (and therefore clicks), but also to provide SEO.
Therefore, you’ll need to hunt down or create an image for each new blog post.
Bonus tip: Choose your image with social media in mind. The images you add to your blog posts can also be used for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social platform you prefer. See? You can recycle everything!
No doubt your white paper includes SEO so your audience can find it in the first place. But that SEO is limited, especially if your white paper is gated content. Your audience will find your white paper via the SEO on the landing page, not the multiple keywords in the white paper itself.
But when you repurpose your white paper into a series of blog posts, you need to take a fresh look at the SEO. Be sure to add SEO to the headline, the first paragraph and throughout the rest of the post.
A blog post gives you the opportunity to update existing information. You could add new research, fresh data, a relevant news item from your industry, or even a quote by a client from a recent case study or testimonial.
This is particularly true if your white paper has been out for awhile. If you published your white paper recently, though, it’s still worth taking a look at what new information you can add to a blog post so it’s current.
White papers are often full of data. They cite outside research, important studies, and possibly statistics from research conducted by your own company.
If you’re following best practices, you’ve highlighted that data in charts, tables or pull quotes in your white paper.
So if you’ve got the data, why not repurpose your white paper into a new piece of content that puts those numbers front and center?
Infographics don’t have to be long and complicated, but they should be eye-catching and useful. The cybersecurity infographic pictured is one I wrote based on a longer slide presentation.
You’ve got all this great content in your white paper. Why not turn it into a slide deck to get more eyeballs?
The most effective way to do this is to use SlideShare. It’s a social media site owned by LinkedIn, and it gets more than 80 million visitors a month.
Not only that, but it’s a highly targeted audience that has low competition, according to marketing guru Neil Patel.
If you go the SlideShare route, however, you’ll have to up your design game. SlideShare is not the place for dull, black-and-white presentations.
For starters, you’ll need strong images and tell a good story with your deck. Neil Patel offers a great post on how to effectively use SlideShare.
Just like your blog posts, you can take the content from your white paper and repurpose it into short videos. Any of the sections in your white paper are fodder for video.
Keep in mind that videos should be short. Whether you’re talking to the camera or you’ve got an animated, explainer video, the message has to be brief and to the point.
Don’t try to stuff the entire white paper into a video. Instead, use snippets. I’ve done this myself. You can see an example of a video here, which I repurposed from an earlier blog post on white papers.
Or create a series of videos. Say, for example, you have a white paper about the different ways cyber attackers can steal data from small businesses (and the solution is cybersecurity software). Create a video about the top three cyber attacks and how to prevent them. Or create three separate videos and explore each idea in more depth.
Repurpose your content in even more ways:
If your white paper is focused on introducing a new product, then you can take this content and repurpose it into a sales sheet your sales team can use.
Sum up your white paper in a press release and publish it on PR Newswire or send it to trade magazines. This is a great way to highlight what’s in your white paper and promote it to a targeted audience at the same time.
You don’t have to cut your white paper to get additional use out of it. Put a nice cover on it and offer it as a take-away at your next trade show or conference or as a leave-behind after sales calls.
Of course, you’ve promoted the heck out of your white paper already, sending people to your landing page. But with your content, you get to promote it all over again, only in different ways.
See? It’s the gift never stops giving!
Have a white paper you want to repurpose but no time to do it? Let’s talk! I’d love to take it off your hands. Feel free to contact me.