Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tried and True B2B Promotional Strategies - #1

A “White Paper” – defined as “an authoritative report or guide that…addresses issues and how to solve them” -- is a remarkably effective way to position a company as a thought leader in its industry and raise its profile with potential customers. “Sponsored” by a company, a white paper should take a completely neutral approach to an issue, exploring all sides, and never directly promoting the company’s products and services in so doing. Incorporating comments from unbiased experts, including educators, scientists and government officials, is a key way to emphasize impartiality and strengthen the study’s overall credibility.

But drafting the white paper is just the first step. From there, with the help of a skilled public relations practitioner, a company can:

• Issue a press release on the paper’s availability to trade and business media, directing interested readers to download it from the company’s website (providing contact information should be a condition for receiving it to generate potential customer leads). Promoting the paper in such a way reinforces the company as a leading expert in the subject area.

• Use the overall themes of the white paper to create articles and case studies that can be offered to appropriate trade media -- with company officials receiving “byline” credit and, again, positioning the company as a thought leader. This approach can be used with the company’s own trade media as well as with vertical media its customers read.

• Position company officials as quote sources on the subject with trade and other media as they develop relevant articles

• Use the white paper as a reason to”touch” customers with direct mail campaigns, at industry trade shows and in other promotional efforts

• And more

In summary, a white paper is a relatively inexpensive way to position a company in such a way so that it stands heads and shoulders above its competitors. Developed and publicized properly, it can be a “gift that keeps on giving,”with seemingly endless promotional variations.

For an example of a white paper authored by M. NICHOLS, click here  -http://www.mnicholscomm.com/pdfs/VR-WhitePaper-FINAL.pdf

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