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30/04/2011 by

Is It Time To Shred The Whitepaper?

Tell a marketing team to ditch the whitepaper and you might get your head chewed off. Companies have relies on the power of the whitepaper to not only educate buyers, but also to serve as that first step in building a relationship.


Want to download our whitepaper? Fill out a form first with your contact information. I think that whitepapers can be valuable, but the majority are thinly-veiled sales pitches that do not appeal to modern buyers who are smarter and have shorter attention spans. Companies need a new way to reach the buyer 2.0 without pitching them too early on or boring them to death.

Software Advice recently did a post on Marketing Automation Software Guide hilighting alternatives to the whitepaper. You can view the original post here, below I give a brief description of each.
Twitter #chat

In a study published by Edelman, we discovered that only 22% of Americans trust traditional media. Alternatively, they put the most trust in their peers and peer groups. Twitter is an excellent place for peers to interract, and now there are specific types of activities that can be targeted to the B2B space. Twitter #chat is a series of tweets that occur at a designated time, all focused on a specific topic. A vendor could host a chat on a specific topic and designate a unique hashtag for the chat so that others can follow along and participate. This tool has a lot of potential for building relationships, sharing information, finding out what potential buyers are interested in, and developing possible leads.



What if your whitepaper became a living document, with real-time updates and the most current news and information on a specific product or topic? Enter the microsite. Microsites function like normal websites, but they have a much more narrow focus. Launching a microsite allows a vendor to create a much more tightly-focused message for the target audience and enhance user experience and engagement. Marketing automation software typically has landing page or microsite building modules that make it easy to create, monitor and measure activity on your microsite. Marketers can see what works and what doesn’t, and make updates accordingly.

Dynamic PDFs, eBooks

No one is interested in flat media. In order to grab your audience’s attention, you need dynamic content. Advances in technology make it easy to incorporate multimedia elements into your PDF documents. This will increase reader interactivity and engagement. Some examples include adding video, presentations, polls, music, etc. Another option is the eBook. Some people refer to whitepapers as eBooks, but the two terms are not one in the same. The eBook is more interactive, with more multimedia elements. Additionally, it is presented in a landscape format that makes it more easily digestible for online readers.

These are just a sampling of the available alternatives to the traditional whitepaper, and it is important that marketing teams look into them. The whitepaper may not be dead, but it has one foot in the grave. In order to stay competitive, marketers have to explore the options available in the Web 2.0 world that their customers live in. If not, they might be buried right along with their whitepapers.


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Lauren Carlson
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