Another form of content you can share with prospects and clients is an eBook. Growing in popularity as a business tool, eBooks are another opportunity to bridge the formality gap between a White Paper and a Case Study.
But how do White Papers and eBooks differ?
First and foremost: white papers are not about your business. They are not about you. In fact if you are the business owner or leader I want you to repeat: “It is not about me“.
A white paper is purely educational.
It will address a specific topic. Usually a known problem or concern in your target industry and offer an in-depth analysis of the causes of the problem, its symptoms and discuss new ideas for solutions. This is a research piece, so it needs to be authoritative. Statements made must have demonstrable data to back them up. Research must be performed and explained, or referenced.
The outcome is a brand- and vendor-agnostic, formal research piece of writing.
eBooks will prove easier to produce and to publish, and potentially achieve a wider reach.
They lack the formality of a white paper. Having said that, an eBook does remain a marketing tool and it represents your brand, so you want to create a high calibre product. The difference is in the content and presentation
When writing an eBook you can keep the tone conceptual. You can share your ideas and your views without having to add the confirming data. It is understood that an eBook is sharing theories – behind which the author must stand, but which he or she need not prove quantitatively. It is, in essence, an opinion piece based on experience.
As such it is often shorter (in terms of word count) and stylistically casual. The format will often be visually designed as well, taking on the form of a magazine article perhaps, with stand-out quotes or commentary, and include images and infographics. As opposed to supporting charts or tables as in a white paper which are essentially data citations, an image or infographic wants first of all to be engaging.
These two formats serve different purposes and both are often necessary, in particular (but not exclusively) in a B2B environment.
A white paper will often play a strong part in educating your market as to the need for a solution such as yours. In a consensus buying environment where not everybody on the buying team is on the same page, these are a vendor-neutral way to help improve agreement.
Later in the process, an eBook can more directly point to your own company’s product and personality.