Every marketer wants to know the next best practice for creating and optimizing their white paper content. Truth be told, it all starts with the title of the white paper.
Your white paper title is used to sell your idea to the reader. And a lousy title is good for nothing more than doing the exact opposite. I see it all the time: marketers dedicating hours of writing an research to creating white paper content that is worthy of any reader’s attention. But how do they sum it all up? With a crappy title that keeps readers saying “Well… this doesn’t sound like information I would need”.
It sucks, honestly. Because there’s nothing more heart wrenching than knowing your marketing content is pretty much going to waste. It took me well over a year to realize how this one -seemingly small- aspect of my white paper document was preventing me from seeing the results I wanted to see. Eventually, I overcame this challenge and have since perfected my craft.
So, how’d I do it? I came up with the perfect “test of success” for testing my titles. I am loyal to this test and refuse to be diverted from this practice!
I’ve shared it with other marketers and they’ve reported upwards of 50% increases in readership since implementing this strategy. It’s also being used among my team to make sure every brand that invests in our white paper writing services are experiencing the same level of success.
It takes all of 15 seconds to test each title. Now, you try it:
Pretend you are running a small advertisement in a magazine. The only content in the ad is the title of your white paper and the phone number to your business. Will your title provoke readers to call for more information?
If so, you’ve got something! If you said “No”, all hope is not lost. Go back to the drawing board and try again.
Since the test of success won’t get you a win 100% of the time, I want to share 4 simple tricks for helping you create a killer white paper title each and every time. After all, white papers are becoming a central pillar of most all B2B marketing strategies.
That being said, let’s begin.
1. Reference to your Insider Secrets
No one person is an expert in every aspect of business. And by using the phrase “Insider Secrets to…” in your title, readers will flock to learn what could potentially be something they don’t already know. Professionals are always looking for the next best way to get ahead of the competition and if your white paper’s content lives up to its title, the benefits of your document are pretty much self-explanatory after reading this eye-catching intro.
2. Tell Readers How to do Something
To readers, a “How To” title implies that they will learn a solution to an issue they currently have. Readers are compelled to invest time into learning what they don’t already –but need to- know than reading about stuff that doesn’t benefit them directly. Think of it as a form of applied research. The information they gather has an immediate effect on their actions, hence they are more attracted to it.
3. Reference to Well-Known Brands
While every reader may not be familiar with your brand, there are brands out there that have a universal appeal. If you could somehow use these brand names in your title, it’s almost guaranteed readers will flock to read your content. Try using something like “Pinterest 101: 12 Tips for….”Easy, right? Just make sure you have the content to back it up.
4. Capitalize on Current Trends
New trends are emerging as we speak. Why not use knowledge of these trends as an opportunity to create compelling white paper content? In the example above we used Pinterest as a hot brand name. Using this same approach, your white paper could address the essentials for operating a Pinterest Business Account. Don’t sleep on these opportunities.
We also found that using the words “your” and “you” works well in titles. It adds a personal approach and helps readers relate to the content they are preparing to read.
Of course, there are 1,001 more tricks for helping your white paper titles make a statement, but if you’re just starting out you probably want to exercise these tips first. Trying something as simple as using numbers in your title is another way to help you grow your readership.
Remember, white paper readers can assume any role within a business structure. Exercise diversity in your white paper content as to appeal to various audiences simultaneously. Take these tips and do what you will with them. I’m confident that your future titles will be as interesting and powerful as the content in the document itself.