According to research by CMI, 90% of the most successful content marketers prioritize their audience’s informational needs over their promotional message.
That being said, the amount of time it takes to produce high-quality content is massive — especially for white papers. They are typically long pieces of content and thus require more work to create.
However, gathering information and creating a compelling white paper is only half the work. If your ebook — or any other type of marketing collateral you write — isn’t distributed for maximized reach, it runs the risk of getting lost among the many pieces of content you produce and never truly taking off.
"If your leads can’t find your content, how will they benefit from it?" - Tweet That!
This is where content distribution comes to play.
According to the 80/20 rule, you should spend 20% of your time producing content and 80% promoting it.
Your white paper’s success, whether you're aiming for brand awareness or lead generation, depends heavily on your distribution strategy.
This post is going to dive into ways you can distribute and promote your white paper to maximize audience reach.
Content distribution channels
Content distribution means promoting content to your online and offline audience in various media formats through different channels.
We can place these channels in three broad categories:
- Owned Content Distribution includes all online channels that belong to you and that you have complete control over, like your website, blog, social media, newsletters, presentations, etc.
- Earned Content Distribution includes every free third-party distributor of your content, like guest blogs, reshares on social media, mentions on external platforms, press coverage, etc.
- Paid Content Distribution primarily includes pay-per-click (PPC), paid social ads, paid influencers, and paid content promotion.
There are endless possibilities within those categories, especially given how quickly the digital marketing landscape changes.
What do I know about content distribution?
I’m a proud employee at Foleon, a digital content creation platform that empowers organizations to replace their PDFs with smart, responsive web publications. I have daily conversations with our client-facing teams who help customers with challenges regarding white paper distribution.
Furthermore, we do lots of white paper marketing ourselves and are keen to share best practices and tips on how to make the most of your digital white papers.
Below, we gathered 22 ideas to distribute your white paper for maximum reach and brand exposure:
On your website
1 Create landing pages
Content distribution starts with a landing page that converts. Create a dedicated landing page and give your visitors a peek of how your white paper will help them achieve their goals.
Pitching doesn’t belong here. You want to inspire your readers to give you their contact details to gain access to a piece of content that will help them.
With Foleon, it’s possible to add a lead generation form within your white paper and gate it after 2 or 3 pages. Your readers get a glimpse of your value proposition, they get excited, and then they fill in the form to get the full version.
Note: According to Demand Gen Report, an impressive 86% of B2B consumers prefer more interactive content that they can access on-demand.
2 Use the resource section of your website
Your resource section is dedicated to more detailed, long-form pieces of content, thus an excellent opportunity to distribute your white paper.
Enrich your resources page with a gated version of your white paper and an ungated pillar page with inline links to your white paper.
3 Add popups on relevant pages
In marketing, timing and relevance are key. Connecting and interacting with your audience at the right time with the right message is vital for engagement.
Add popups to relevant and industry-specific pages, blog posts, or your examples pages with similar use cases, and offer access to your white paper.
With tools like Sumo, you can add customized popups everywhere on your website and easily track conversions. For example, you can trigger a popup when visitors move their mouse to the top of a page, indicating an intention to exit. Or, one that triggers when they’ve read half way through a relevant blog post.
Tip: Adding the word “free” in the popup can work wonders with conversions!
Popups can also be used with customer service tools like Intercom or Drift. These tools help you construct predefined messages, build automatically routed conversations, and then track analytics such as clicks and conversions.
4 Put direct inline links in blog posts
Your white paper is part of an overall strategy on a specific value proposition. Write supporting pieces of content like blog posts and add your white paper as an inline link or a CTA to make your message more compelling and increase visibility.
5 Make use of your email lists
Don’t wait until after it's published to promote your white paper to your email lists.
Write a teaser email and build up interest before distribution even starts. A smart way to increase signups is to grant your subscribers access to the white paper before it’s published for the rest of the world (you can start with A/B tests to see how that’s helping out conversions).
Post-publishing, you can include it in your news update or newsletter email, and encourage receivers to read it, share it, and forward it to their friends.
6 Add your white paper to your email signature
Email signatures are a part of your email that’s often forgotten, however, it’s the one thing that everyone notices when opening an email. Nowadays, most email signatures have links, usually to the company’s homepage.
You can make use of that space to add links to your white paper and ask some of your employees to add it to their own signatures. Tools like WiseStamp make it easy to customize your signature.
7 Share it with your out-of-office autoresponder
Putting a little more thought into your out-of-office message can get you a long way.
A personalized autoresponder makes people eager to know what you’ve been up to, and adding a resource like your white paper link is an intriguing way to accommodate your readers even when you’re not around.
8 Include it in the footer of other automated emails and transactional emails you send
Like with your email signature and out-of-office emails, your white paper link can be included in every email communication you have with your leads, clients, and subscribers.
Adding your white paper to the footer of those emails guarantees that you’re making use of every single email distribution channel that is available.
9 Post it on all major social networks
Your audience is probably scattered across different social media channels, and it’s your responsibility to reach out to them regardless of the medium.
Your social media must be updated and aligned with your overall strategy. Post teasers about your forthcoming white paper to build up the hype, and repeat after it’s online.
10 Schedule a series of social posts
Sharing your white paper once after it’s published isn’t enough to leverage your distribution.
Create a series of scheduled posts focusing on different pages of your white paper and address the various issues covered within in more detail. Eventually, you’ll reach out to more people.
This won't be possible if your white paper is in PDF format, but with Foleon, you can send people directly to individual pages of your white paper.
11 Post your white paper in industry-specific groups
Post your white paper in relevant groups on mediums like Reddit, Quora, LinkedIn, Slack, and Facebook, where your leads are searching for solutions to their pain points. Before posting, make sure you’ve been active for a while and you’re part of the community, or else it may come across as spam.
12 Republish portions of your white paper on Linkedin Publisher and Medium
Write an article that complements your white paper and post it to Linkedin Publisher or Medium with links to your original publication. If you have gated it, you will end up with valuable leads who have gone through two stages to download your white paper.
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13 Advertise your white papers with paid ads
Perform keyword research and create highly targeted social advertisements on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Quora redirecting to your white paper’s landing page.
14 Social monitoring
Search and identify what’s being discussed around the topic of your white paper on places like Quora and Linkedin and engage in conversations where you could mention your white paper. Remember to provide solutions with your answers and avoid pitching.
15 Tag influencers
If you have quoted influencers in your white paper make sure you tag them and say a kind word when promoting on social. Every once in a while they'll repost you to their audience and promote your white paper to a new pool of potential leads.
16 Add share buttons within your white paper
Leverage your distribution strategy and enrich your lead list by including share buttons within your white paper.
With Foleon, it’s easy to add customized share buttons. Also, Foleon lets you embed lead generation forms right inside your white paper, meaning all those 2nd degree connections will encounter the lead form too.
17 Submit guest posts to relevant blogs
Guest posts are a great way to gain exposure to a broader audience, earn credibility within your industry, and grow your lead list. Find relevant blogs and propose a collaboration for guest posts that will include links back to your white paper.
18 Leverage relationships with content marketers in your network
Remember all these networking events you attended and your Linkedin connections from people in the same industry as you? It’s time to make use of them. Reach out to content marketers from your network via email, social media, or groups and ask for a collaboration like a cross-post on your blog or content mention. A well-drafted email goes a long way and could open the door for mutual benefits.
19 Develop media partnerships
Building and maintaining successful partnerships with media channels from your industry helps you gather valuable leads from your target audience. This form of affiliate marketing is a powerful way to increase your revenue and build brand awareness at the same time.
At Foleon, we have partnered with many well-established platforms like Marketing Week, Frankwatching, Marconomy, Folio, and Adweek.
Below, we gathered a few ideas on how to build a successful long-term media partnership:
1. Discuss the foundation of your partnership and the distribution strategy beforehand.
2. Define your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) to ensure that the incoming leads will meet your criteria.
3. Share your white paper link, a title, short description, and any required designs (e.g., for social media and newsletters).
4. Collaborate with your media partner and co-host a live webinar on the topic of your white paper. After being introduced as the guest host, do a live Q&A to engage your audience.
Bonus tip: add a quiz to the webinar and give away branded swag to the winner (free branding!)
5. Before the webinar takes place, write guest posts, including links to the webinar and your white paper form.
Your media partner will be responsible for distributing your collateral and ensuring that those qualified leads come in.
Press and media
20 Do exclusive interviews
Take your distribution strategy up a notch with interviews where you share useful insights and data from the research conducted for your white paper. Reach out to well-known media channels in your industry like website owners, bloggers, podcast producers, or YouTubers and mention that you want to grant them the exclusive rights to the white paper insights before it’s published. Ask them to include a link to your white paper form and a mention to your website page.
21 Be a guest on a podcast
Today, there’s a podcast for everything. If you’ve researched a topic and created a white paper about it, there’s likely a relevant podcast on that topic as well. Reach out to the creators and request to be a guest on one of the future broadcasts. Don’t forget to tell the audience where they can find your white paper and ask the broadcasters to add the link in the podcast show notes.
22 Create a press release
A press release is an easy way to drive interest to your white paper from multiple outlets like blogs, websites, and news networks. Issue a press release when your white paper is published and communicate it within your industry.
Creating content that gets lost in the shuffle results in lost opportunities and a negative content ROI.
Content distribution is vital and must be included in your overall content marketing strategy. Make sure that your white paper is user-friendly, responsive, and easy to share and read through.
Before you plan your distribution strategy, identify your audience’s interests, and experiment with various distribution channels and ideas to find what performs best.
Get our free checklist for your white paper distribution!
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Interested to know how to maximize the ROI of your white papers? Have a look at our latest blog post here!