For word nerds like me, writing a white paper or ebook is one of the best parts of being a content creator. I get to dive deep into a topic my audience cares about, organize it into a coherent structure, and jazz it up with engaging language and little dashes of personality. I love it.
It’s also time-consuming and resource intensive, and not everyone loves that process like I do. For all of us, we need to make sure we get as much out of those long-form investments as we can.
Many content creators finish a white paper, send it off to their promotion team, and get started on the next one. Before you do that, think about how you could amplify the impact of your work into multiple pieces of content that pull readers in at any stage of the buyer’s journey.
Intrigued? Here are 4 ways to get more out of your latest long-form asset.
1. Host a webinar
Now that you’ve literally written the book on your chosen topic, you could talk your coworker’s ear off about it–so why not put that expertise out in the open?
A webinar is an engaging way to share detailed information your audience is looking for. Your listeners will appreciate you saving them the time it would take to read through the whole white paper and will enjoy listening to the key points over a web conference.
Webinars also give prospects a chance to ask questions of the presenters, so you can show your expertise and help your audience solve a problem in real-time.
Bonus: These audience questions are fertile ground for future content. Take those questions and answer them in a blog post, which promotes the core asset or the webinar recording. The content amplification options are endless!
2. Create a best practices assessment
If your long-form asset has something to say about best practices or industry benchmarks, you’re in luck: that’s exactly what you need to create a compelling interactive assessment.
Ask your audience how much they know about best practices in your industry, or show them how they stack up against their peers based on your benchmarks.
Benchmarking tests answer questions like “What does this data mean for my company?” and “Am I on the right track?” Answering these questions for your audience positions you as a trusted advisor who solves problems – well on your way to being a considered vendor.
As an example, RSA added interactivity to an infographic to give their users the chance to benchmark their incident response systems. Each question comes after a section of the infographic detailing RSA’s findings in different categories. At the end, users are bucketed into categories based on their answers and offered follow-up content to learn more about RSA and incident response.
For your own report, break out the findings into low, middle, and high performers. Then ask questions relating to the three or four key findings that are of greatest interest to your audience. Offer up the answers alongside related assets to keep your users engaged.
3. How about a pop quiz?
Your long-form content probably contains a few key findings, recommendations, or takeaways. Chances are, you have plenty of material to pose four to six questions testing your reader’s knowledge.
People love to prove how smart they are, especially when it comes to their area of expertise. In fact, our brains love sharing information about ourselves–especially when we know other people are listening. A 2012 study found that the reward centers of our brains respond when talking about ourselves:
“[The] effects were magniﬁed by knowledge that one’s thoughts would be communicated to another person, suggesting that individuals ﬁnd opportunities to disclose their own thoughts to others to be especially rewarding.”
– Time, 8 May 2012
So take that pillar content and, rather than pushing it to your leads out of the gate, consider working it into a multi-touch campaign. Use the content to create a quiz that draws suspects in, makes them realize they need to learn more, and then drives the prospect back to the white paper or a webinar.
At the end, let your reader know how they did, and include explanations for the questions they got right or wrong. Pop quizzes are great as teasers for the full white paper–have users fill out an in-app lead form after they receive their results leading to the white paper download.
4. Turn your content into an email course
A white paper or ebook can easily be broken into shorter, snackable written pieces to build out a drip email campaign.
How many times have you gone and grabbed an ebook and then not read it? I have an impressive library of free ebooks I’ve downloaded and never read.
An email autoresponder is a bit different. It’s not the full deluge, it’s not a 42-page PDF. It’s your best information, fed out in a steady drip, like an information IV. And, even better, it arrives in their inbox, the place they spend most of their day anyway. You meet them on their turf on their time.
The best part? You already have the content created. You can break your white paper into six or seven chunks (detailed process and cadence recommendations laid out here), set up the emails in your marketing automation system, and voila–a brand new way of engaging with your audience.
Don’t stop at publish
You put a lot of work into that white paper or ebook–keep the returns rolling in by extending that content into multiple forms.
Writing a white paper or ebook is a serious commitment of resources–time, energy, and money. Maximize your pillar content's value by starting conversations with your readers. That conversation might be live, in person or on a webinar, or it might be virtual–in the form of assessments, quizzes, or email courses.