Whitepaper marketing is the latest trend in the online advertising industry designed to market through trust and association rather than by direct reference to products and services. In part, it springs from the changes in the overall landscape of the internet, which no longer welcomes really overt advertising.
The web stopped being advertising free for all when the major search engines worked out how to counter obvious marketing tactics, both on and off specific web pages. Suddenly, online marketers were faced with a problem – how to get client brands in front of the people, who want to hear from them without being penalised for attempting to spam or market without due care and attention.
The first part of the solution was opt-in marketing, which requires members of business communities to choose to receive information from trusted sources. The second part was and is such marketing.
This marketing provides valuable business information to the people, who have opted in to receive it. So, rather than sending an advert for a product or service, a company might try to position itself as an industry authority supplying the latest news on industry developments and delivering information intended to help its possible future clients do better in business.
One of the easiest examples of this kind of marketing is the web design company. There are, these days, so many factors affecting successful web design that it’s technically possible to provide useful information to website owners, once a week, from now until the end of time.
The web company working in this way is able to prove its worth as a partner simply by virtue of the quality of its whitepapers.Whitepaper marketing in this sense effectively shows off the abilities of the company doing the marketing, by making it obvious how authoritative it is on the subject in question.
The difference between blind informational marketing and opt-in marketing is that the decision makers receiving the information have both requested it and believe it to be coming from an impartial third party source. Collecting several whitepapers together into a weekly business bulletin takes the “advertising” element out of the equation or appears to, by making the bulletin seem more like a magazine full of good tips than an actual advertorial.
Trust is a huge issue in all advertising and is particularly so on the web. On the internet, no one has a face. It’s impossible to tell who is genuine and who isn’t unless that person has been personally invited by you into a social media circle. This is why search engines give much more relevance to social media likes and recommendations than they used to. It is also why whitepaper marketing needs to be seen through the lens of a third party bulletin.
If the bulletin comes from a business information source that the recipient has opted into, he or she will treat the source as a legitimate member of his or her online social circles. Therefore, the information coming from that source is pre-censored for trust and so more likely to be accepted.