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Seven Tips to Writing Your First Whitepaper

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whitepaperLike other content marketing strategies, whitepapers are great resources to show your knowledge of the independent financial advising industry and establish yourself as a thought leader. But this longer form of content may have you wondering where to start. As a financial advisor, you might not consider yourself the most creative writer but that doesn’t mean you can’t produce educational, high-quality whitepapers like the marketing pros.

These seven tips will get you started on your first whitepaper in no time.

1. Choose a Strong Topic

This is the first, and probably hardest, part of writing – finding a good topic. When writing a whitepaper, you want to choose something broad enough to capture your reader’s attention but specific enough to make a point. Most whitepapers are 5-10 printed pages, which means you have plenty of space to fill. But make sure those pages are used wisely and not just there to take up space.

2. Start with an Outline

On that point, you should always start with an outline. Some novice “financial-advisors-turned-writers” may want to skip this step to save time, but outlines are a great way to organize your thoughts and figure out the direction your whitepaper is going to go in. There are few worse feelings than setting out to write something, only to get lost in the weeds. An outline will help you stay focused on the points you want to get across.

3. Write in a Fun and Professional Tone

Traditionally, whitepapers were produced by scholars and academics to convey very high level topics. But in the marketing world, whitepapers are a little more casual. Adapt a tone for your financial planning whitepaper that is friendly yet professional. This will help you gain the attention of clients and prospects while also providing valuable content.

4. Write First, Edit Second

Even the most seasoned writers often get hung up on self-editing and never get a piece completed. To avoid this mistake, try to get as much down as you can in the first draft and edit later. If you edit as you go, you might end up making very little progress and getting frustrated with the process. Instead, try to edit once you have a complete draft and just focus on getting words on paper in the beginning.

5. Write a Whitepaper as Part of a Broader Strategy

Like all content pieces, your whitepaper should be part of a bigger strategy. For example, if you are doing a big content push about tax planning during the beginning of the year, throw a whitepaper into the mix. All of your content should drive to the same message and direct traffic back to your website.

6. Recycle Content

If you’ve been implementing a content marketing strategy in the past, good news – you won’t have to start your whitepaper from scratch. You can easily repurpose blogs, emails, and social media content and turn it into a longer whitepaper.

One way we do this at FMG Suite is by deciding on a topic for a whitepaper and digging through our past blog posts for information we’ve already written. For example, our whitepaper The Financial Advisor’s Guide to Google Analytics pulls content from previous blog posts, including Google Analytics for Advisors in Only 3 Numbers and How Can I See the Traffic to My Website?

While we didn’t simply copy and paste this content verbatim, we took some of the same ideas that we saw were popular and repackaged them in a new way.

7. Market Your Whitepaper

Like the old saying “if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?” with any marketing asset if you take the time to create content but don’t market it, will anyone read it? To get the most traction out of your whitepaper, create a marketing campaign to drive more traffic and visibility to it. This could include pushing it out on your social media channels, sending an email to clients and prospects, and running some pay-per-click or social media ads to attract new audiences.

You might also want to create a lead generating landing page to house your whitepaper that requires some basic information from users before they download. With this gated content, you can keep track of who is consuming your content and use these pieces as a platform to reach out in the future.

Whitepapers are becoming the new norm in the world of content marketing and for financial advisors, they serve as a great way to get information across, establish yourself as a knowledgeable resource, and generate more web traffic and leads.

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