White papers make companies credible. They help position companies as thought leaders, and they help the selling process by informing and educating the prospect base. The most highly-effective white papers follow the 3-30-3 rule.
Given today's pace of business, a white paper must make an impression and accomplish its objective in just a few minutes.
That's why the most effective white papers follow the 3-30-3 rule recommended by Knowledge Storm:
- Earn a browsing prospect’s interest within the first three seconds of glancing at your piece.
- Use your three seconds well, so that readers will move on to the next thin slice of their decision, and grant you 30 more seconds. In that time they will decide whether or not your message deserves more calculated consideration.
- Assuming you’ve written a succinct, on-target introduction, your prospect now will grant you three more minutes to make your point.
No matter how complex your product or service, no matter how challenging the business issue is, you need to build your case in the first three minutes. If you get more time, great. But don’t create a white paper that needs ten minutes’ time to make its point.
White papers have staying power. They rise above the general marketing noise because they contain substantive content that educates and enables. They open the door to follow-on pieces including high-value blog postings.
If you are not using white papers effectively, you are letting your competitors capture the prospects who are strongly interested in what you could have said, but didn't.
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