White Papers and Ebooks

The Ultimate Lead Magnet for B2B Content Marketing

These days white papers are expected by business buyers and looked on as a standard part of a marketing strategy by many B2B vendors. They go a long way toward positioning your company as an industry expert and impressing prospects.

They also offer opportunities for publicity given their unique content and can drive traffic via solar keywords. Your salespeople can use white papers to add gravitas to their presentations, keep communication open during the long deliberation process, and function as leave-behinds.

White Papers and Commercial Solar: Outdoing the Competition

The sales and installation process for commercial solar power can easily be delayed or derailed by confusion or misinformation. White papers help ensure that the research and implementation stages of a commercial solar project are understandable and transparent.

Given that there are often a number of company stakeholders with decision making power, white papers are essential because they can address a whole host of needs – from microinverter benefits for the lay person to solar’s impact on the balance sheet for the CFO. Both the facilities manager
and her boss have multiple questions when they determine whether or not to go solar. They look at issues like how to pay for it, how to find qualified contractors and how to assess competing bids.

If you distinguish your company as a source of detailed, fact based content that demystifies the process and steps through understanding the benefits of solar, you are much more likely to be top of their list of contractors to partner with.

Possible topic areas for solar    click to read

  • Laying out the various financing options for commercial solar, including information about local and regional offerings or a particular target industry
  • Offering a discussion of the features and benefits of the latest developments in commercial solar related tech or an in depth look at the benefits of solar + storage for businesses
  • Educating business buyers on how to conduct cost-benefit analysis for a commercial solar installation or how to pick a commercial solar contractor (complete with case studies)
  • Walking through a step by step description of all phases of a commercial installation, including discussion of the major types, storage, potential complications and special cases
  • Demonstrating thought leadership through discussions of issues like misinformation about solar, unethical company practices, and the advantages of making sustainable business choices

My White Paper Writing Services

  • Comprehensive information gathering regarding your company goals, audience, key ideas and format preferences
  • Conducting relevant research using your inhouse materials, interviews with subject matter experts and outside resources
  • Creating the plan, executive summary, and two drafts of the white paper in the most appropriate format to achieve your objectives
  • Effective draft revision in collaboration with your in house editor and reviewers
  • SEO keyword research and integration
  • Creation of completed SEO white paper draft as MS-WORD doc or final draft PDF with graphics and SEO metadata, as well as assembled sources file
  • Professional graphics and design – provided by my design partner

White Paper FAQ    click to read

What is a white paper exactly?
Gordon Graham, an authority on white papers, states that “a white paper is a persuasive essay that uses facts and logic to promote a B2B product, service, technology, or methodology.” It tends to be 5-10 pages long with a cover page, supporting charts and graphs, and company information at the end. It is often more detailed, technical and unbiased than other edu-marketing materials, emphasizing features, methods and specifications. The information, however, can be repurposed for blog, slideshare, infographic and social media content. 

Who publishes white papers?
White papers are usually published by businesses that have new, complex or expensive products in industries like business, consulting or technical services, environmental tech and heavy equipment manufacturing.

What is a white paper for?
A white paper is often used to show a prospect how and why to do something, help them come to a decision, or guide them toward a solution to a problem. It can be used as incentive to capture prospect contact information via registration on a website. A white paper can also offer detailed technical education on a topic relevant to a target audience and serve as quality content for social media and email marketing campaigns.

White papers are designed to meet your particular marketing goals. A white paper’s format can range from a soft sell persuasive essay offering a solution to a problem, a numbered list of insights about an issue or a hard sell description of your product’s technical or business advantages. These kinds of formats can serve to nurture your prospects at particular points all along the sales funnel:

  1. Generating leads and educating early on
  2. Demystifying the sales process and clarifying the benefits along the middle
  3. Locking the sales in at the very end with strong facts and figures about technical considerations and ROI.

Who reads a white paper?
A white paper is read by a number of people in various roles in a business looking to invest in a new, complex or high price product. These include corporate executives, financial administrators, technical decision makers in departments like IT and engineering, specialized readers and future users of the product. A white paper is often distributed around a company, up and down the command structure and even to other firms.

How does a white paper differ from a special report or an eBook?
A special report is usually just another name for a white paper. While it can share the same goals and uses as a white paper, an eBook tends to be more variable around length, formatting, and graphics and is primarily used early in the sales funnel. The public perception is often that a white paper is more academic while an eBook is easier to digest (though this is not always the case).

What are the advantages of offering a white paper?
A well written white paper can guide prospects through the sales funnel, generate leads, close sales, and drive traffic to a company website. It works to establish a company as an authoritative leader in its industry and differentiates it as a trustworthy advisor for a prospect. A white paper can also lower barriers to conversion by explaining a highly technical or complicated product to non technical stakeholders using plain language about business advantages, hard facts and persuasive arguments.

Note – A portion of the information for this FAQ came from Gordon Graham’s White Papers for Dummies

Solar Ebooks

An ebook is a terrific alternative to a white paper. The purposes for an ebook are usually similar in that it can educate your prospect or help them make a decision and can be used throughout the sales funnel. It is usually premium content that serves to capture contact information as well. And the process for creating an ebook is also similar, involving inhouse and outside research, subject matter expert interviews and comprehensive text and graphics revision.

However, ebooks tend to have a more casual tone and are formatted to break down the information into easy-to-understand, scannable pieces of text. They often have very visually engaging graphics and images as well as interactive elements like videos and outside links. You have more room to actively move readers to take action like subscribe to something or make a purchase.

Given that ebooks are generally perceived as more reader-friendly they are also a great option for your marketing efforts to homeowners.


Whatever your choice – white paper or eBook – add this premium SEO content to your marketing toolkit

Contact Me

Get my monthly reports on the solar industry & content marketing!

For the past three years, I’ve enjoyed receiving Sara’s emails that cover many subjects related to our mission of providing practical, affordable and reliable solar solutions for a variety of clients and applications. – Brandon Leavitt, Solar Service Inc., monthly subscriber