Whitepapers are a popular content marketing tactic, especially among companies with a business-to-business focus.
In fact, the Content Marketing Institute reported 68 percent of B2B marketers use whitepapers in their content marketing campaigns.
While you know the content itself needs to be informative, sequentially organized and thorough, there’s a huge factor growing exponentially in importance that will make or break your whitepaper: it’s a mobile world.
Related Article: The SMB Guide to Mobile Marketing
The Shift To Mobile Consumption
In 2015, “creating a better mobile strategy” is 58 percent of B2B and 74 percent of B2C marketers goal. With the whole world going mobile, is it really any surprise? TextMarketer reports that 60 percent of global mobile consumers use their mobile device as their primary or exclusive Internet source. Why this matters for your business and its whitepapers is clear: customers consume content on their phones. So, if you want to reach them you better be mobile.
If you require further proof, look no further than Google’s recent algorithm update. Referred to by SEOs as “Mobilegedden,” this update aimed to serve users with “relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” Not only are users going mobile, search engines are recognizing this shift, and making the necessary adjustments in order to give the user what they want.
Related Article: Mobile Marketing: Growth Tactics from Google's Latest Announcement
Creating A Mobile-y Gorgeous Whitepaper
Let’s begin with the essence of a whitepaper. If you’ve created one before you’re probably familiar with these requirements:
Now, you can probably begin to see where the conflict arises with mobile viewing. Lengthy, detailed, informative information doesn't immediately signal the “mobile-friendly” alert in your brain.
Time to reprogram your brain alerts. Here’s how you should approach converting a typical whitepaper into a mobile-friendly, and a mobile-y gorgeous, whitepaper:
Create your content and ensure it answers the question(s) posed specifically and comprehensively. Whitepapers should well exceed 1,000 to 2,000 words. Brevity is not the goal here; tell your story clearly and with detail. You’ll find that editing and working through the text on its own allows you to proofread and edit with ease.
When it comes to viewing text-heavy content on a mobile device, there are a few keys to remember for formatting:
- Do provide illustrations and images for the majority of the concepts you’re explaining.
- Do break up the content into easy-to-digest and easy-to-scroll-through pieces.
- Don’t leave huge blocks of text.
- Don’t break up your content to the point where you’ve exceeded 50 pages.
The best way to bridge the gap between word document and final PDF is to format how you’d like the whitepaper to appear using PowerPoint, or any other presentation platform. Here’s an example of a page of text in a word document compared to how it would appear in your PowerPoint mock-up:
This draft serves as the perfect form to give your designers so they understand how the content should flow and appear in the final downloadable version. If you’re doing the final design work and creation yourself, still do this step. It’ll help the final product remain cohesive and you’ll avoid huge blocks of text.
As you’re creating drafts of the final PDF document that will become your whitepaper, pull them up on your mobile device and study them. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is the download time appropriate?
- Is the content easy to read?
- Are the images showing up appropriately?
Test it on your smartphone, tablet, phablet and/or any mobile technology you have access to.
After you’ve ensured your whitepaper is visually perfect, it’s time to set up your lead capture forms and distribute it. Whitepapers are a valuable content type to include in your content arsenal, especially when that content is viewed beautifully on the everyday device your customers use.