Content marketing is often about selling products or selling services. But certain forms of content marketing are instead about selling solutions, strategies, or techniques.
The two main ways to market a strategy is with a white paper or with an e-book. Which option you use depends entirely on type of strategy or solution you are offering.
As the name suggests, an e-book is a significant quantity of writing. The average e-book has multiple chapters and at least one hundred pages.
You write an e-book when you are offering advice, strategies, or solutions that are generally applicable to an industry or specific subsection of an industry.
For example, an e-book designed for lawyers might discuss strategies for maximizing asset splitting in divorce procedures.
White papers are more focused than e-books. As a white paper writer, you identify a very specific problem and then offer a single solution to that problem. Your white paper is a focused and efficient piece of writing.
Most white papers are relatively short, usually maxing out at about 10 – 20 pages, and potentially only a page or two.
An example of a white paper designed for lawyers might be the discussion a specific strategy about how to win possession of the family home while minimizing the compensatory assets during a divorce procedure.
Marketing White Papers
Despite the growing prevalence of e-books, white papers are still marketable, and actually offer numerous opportunities. The most effective way for a white paper writer to take advantage of these opportunities is on an industry blog.
An informative blog engages readers and sparks interest. Use a blog entry to introduce the problem and frame the solution, placing the full solution, your white paper, behind a pay wall.
Alternatively, a white paper is actually a rather ingenious way to market an e-book. If you've written an e-book, simply excerpt a single chapter or idea from the e-book to create a white paper.
Offer this white paper for free via social media, an industry blog, or other marketing vehicles. This will interest readers who you then direct to your e-book, hidden behind a pay wall, for additional information on the subject.