By Mitt Ray published April 13, 2012

7 Ways to Launch White Papers with a Bang

Publishing a new white paper is a lot like publishing a new book — you need to do a lot of marketing ahead of time. Marketing beforehand can help create a lot of buzz and get people to line up to read it as soon as it is published.

But unlike marketing a book, you don’t have to market your white paper for months before you publish. If you start your marketing push a week or two before you plan to publish, you should have plenty of time to generate excitement and prepare to engage your readers.
The tips below will help you prepare for the big launch:

1. Have a distribution plan at the ready

Before you launch a white paper, you need to have a plan. You shouldn’t just publish on a random day when it’s ready. You need to make a plan and set a publish date ahead of time and stick to it.

Have your white paper ready at least a week or two in advance. Make sure it is proofread, edited, reviewed, designed, etc. This will ensure that when the day comes you won’t encounter any problems. You won’t need to postpone the publishing date, clean up any errors or oversights, or go through the stress of publishing your paper in a last-minute rush.

2. Create a landing page

Don’t wait for the white paper to publish to go live with your landing page. Rather, it’s good to publish your landing page about two weeks ahead of time. The aim of the landing page is to get the reader to provide contact details. It should be short and persuasive. This study by Website Magazine shows that 80 percent of the visitors to a blog are new visits, while only 20 percent are repeat visits. Which means that most of the people who visit your blog on a certain day will probably never visit it again, and they might never find or read your white paper. But if you publish your white paper landing page in advance and collect email addresses, you will make sure that your white paper gets read by more people.

The call to action for the pre-landing page should let readers know that if they register with their names and email addresses, the white paper will be sent to them as soon as it’s published. Using this technique will help ensure that you have a list of readers waiting to read your paper.
After the paper has been published, you can tweak the call-to-action to reflect the immediate gratification: “Register below to download the white paper now!”

3. Write a series of relevant posts to support and promote the paper

Attract traffic to your blog in preparation for your white paper launch by writing a series of relevant blog posts.
At the end of each post, have a call-to-action that informs the reader about your upcoming white paper and links to the landing page. This will increase landing page traffic and encourage more people to sign up to read the white paper.

For example, if you’re publishing a white paper on inbound marketing, write a series of four to six posts over two weeks covering related topics. For example, you could include an article on tips for writing blog posts, or one on using social media to generate buzz and interest. Some of the content you use in your blog posts can even be excerpted from the white paper itself. At the end of every post, be sure to include a link to your landing page and a call-to-action that asks the reader to register.

4. Write guest posts

Writing guest posts on popular blogs can be another fantastic way to help launch a new white paper. If you want this strategy to work, make sure you target blogs that focus on the same niche or topic as the one your white paper covers.

For example, if your white paper is on a technology-related topic, you can write a post for submission to popular tech blogs such as VentureBeat, Webware, and GigaOM. Just as with posts on your own blog, don’t forget to include a call-to-action and a link to your white paper to increase your landing page traffic and drive registration.

You will want to try to get some of these posts to publish before your white paper goes live and some on the same day on which your white paper is published. This can help boost your readership both before and on your launch day. This may require you to work with blog editors well in advance of launch, to make sure they can accommodate your launch schedule, but doing so can be highly beneficial, especially if you have specific days in mind for your guest posts to be published.

Writing all these posts will also have some long-term benefits — it will help establish you and your company as an expert on the subject and convince readers that they will find your white paper to be helpful.

5. Get reviews

One amazing way to gain traction for your white paper is to get people to review it. If you know an expert on the subject or someone who has a popular blog in the same niche, make a preview copy available and ask them if they would write a review and post it on their blog. The association with an established expert or thought leader can significantly increase your white paper’s credibility.

If your connections are too busy to write a full review, ask them if they would be willing to read it and provide a short, four- or five-line blurb. You can add these short reviews to your landing page, which can help make it more persuasive and add additional legitimacy for your work.

6. Invite experts to guest post

Publishing guest posts on your blog, written by experts on the same subject as your white paper, can help drive a lot of relevant traffic to your website. Posts from experts can help attract users to your blog who might be interested in reading your white paper.

Experts usually have a following on the internet who read their newsletters, tweets, social bookmarks, etc. When they write posts on topics they specialize in for your blog and share them, their followers will visit your website, read the post and notice your white paper. If it interests them, they will download it or sign up to receive it when it’s available.

7. Email it to your subscribers

Having a long list of newsletter subscribers can make it really easy to launch a new white paper. You can inform your newsletter readers about your paper a week or two before you launch it. You can let them know about the pre-publishing landing page and ask them to sign up if they are interested.

You can also send them an email on the day your white paper gets published and ask them to download the paper by visiting the landing page. If you already have their contact details, you can send them a direct link to the PDF.

These are a few ways to optimize the launch of your new white paper. If you want to launch with a bang, getting hundreds of people to read your paper as soon as it’s published, make sure you follow these tips.

How do you launch new white papers? Have you got any tips you would like to share? Please leave your comments below.

Author: Mitt Ray

Mitt Ray blogs about white papers on The White Paper Blog, where you can download his free guide on how to write a white paper. He is the author of the book White Paper Marketing. He is also the Director of imittcopy and the Founder of Social Marketing Writing, an online magazine on social media marketing, where you can download his free guide, How to Promote Yourself with Pinterest. You can follow him on Twitter @MittRay.

Other posts by Mitt Ray

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=690576069 José Antonio Sánchez

    In terms of software, http://www.Uberflip.com is a great way to enhance and distribute whitepapers. It automatically works on tablets and other devices. Probably the most affordable pro option… Only $29.95/month with a 2-month trial

    • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

      Hi @facebook-690576069:disqus !

      Thank you for sharing the link. I just checked it out – it seems like a really good software for white papers. I think I will try it out sometime soon. 

      Thank you for your comment. 

      Mitt

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=690576069 José Antonio Sánchez

        Awesome! Here’s Uberflip’s Twitter @Uberflip – In case you (or anyone) have questions.

        • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

          @facebook-690576069:disqus! Thank you for the Twitter handle. I’ll check it out. – Mitt

  • http://www.strucinfo.com/ Jerry Fireman

    I thought this article contained some great ideas on how to promote a white paper. I especially liked the idea of writing guest posts for sites with related content. I often do this to promote white papers I have written for my clients and find that it is an excellent way to boost traffic.

    • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

      Thank you @JerryFireman:disqus ! Yes writing guest posts on related sites can boost traffic and increase your white paper downloads. Like you mentioned – You always need to make sure that the site you’re guest posting on is relevant to the white paper topic. Otherwise, you will attract a lot of uninterested visitors who won’t download your white paper. 

      Mitt

  • http://www.aparcher.com Apryl Parcher

    Hi Mitt:
    Some good information about launching white papers here. I would add that having a longer time frame (pre-publication through publish date and post-publication) during which you add not only blog but social media editorial can significantly lengthen the shelf life of your white paper. It takes a little longer to plan out, but it’s worth it.

    One of my clients, for instance, had me write a white paper for her, and we set up a 3-month plan for launching it. During that time she made Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn updates in conjunction with regular blog posts on topics covered in the paper, and tracked response along the timeline–tweaking as necessary. After the white paper was published we scheduled a webinar and released a YouTube interview which also generated interest. The white paper ultimately increased her bottom line by 25% over that 3-month period. In fact, it still produces for her, even thought it’s been a year since it was launched, and she attributes this success to our “social launch” strategy.

    It can be very beneficial to start planning this type of launch as the white paper is being developed in the outline stages. That way, you can be thinking about which sections of the paper would make good blog posts, videos and updates as you’re getting it written. Planning it out early helps you parse the content along a broader timeline. You can view the YouTube video case study on the project at: http://youtu.be/cXXKS9fGqQM.

    • http://www.mittray.com Mitt Ray

      Thank you for the fantastic comment @Apryl_Parcher:disqus ! I really enjoyed reading it and I found it helpful. I think starting 3 months ahead sounds like a good idea. The way you planned everything and promoted it through blogs, social media, webinars and videos sounds good. 

      It’s also nice that you made tweaks in the white paper so that it suited your audience better. Thank you for the link to the video case study – I will definitely it check out. 

      Mitt

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  • http://twitter.com/hunterboyle Hunter Boyle

    Great post, Mitt. I especially like #3 and #5, because they’re easily overlooked. Creating a series of posts to re/market the paper is a must, and all too often the reviews and cover/landing page blurbs get lost in the rush to publish.

    Regarding #7, one way to make the email even more valuable is sending a “sneak preview” of the paper a couple of days before the blog series and other promotional ideas launch. That can help show the level of engagement for that source, separately from the other channels, for an even cleaner post-campaign analysis.

    Thanks for sharing these ideas!

  • http://www.shortcutblogging.com/ Dave Young

    “Related posts” is definitely one of those overlooked tactics. We’ve had people using our shortcut blogging service to develop this kind of content surrounding events and launches. It makes it easy for everyone.

  • majanna

    Do you think it could be a way to have “pre-papers” like short essays or alike published e.g. here at GRIN (http://www.grin.com/en) So far I only published my research results but still think it could be an option as I realized these papers with ISBN are liked alot by google.

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  • Viktor Kovalenko

    Thanks for these valuable tips about white papers. It’s interesting and educational info. I also wrote some about white papers in my blog at http://kovalenkomarketing.com/ and would appreciate comments.