B2B Marketing Blog

Whitepaper Vs. Article – What’s the difference and when should you use each?

Dec 5, 2016 10:30:00 AM / by Lisa Shepherd

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We’ve all heard it before; in the world of marketing, content is king! But is all content created equal? Are there some forms of content that are better than others and should they be used differently in different situations? In this blog we will look at two different forms of content, the whitepaper and the article and we will uncover the differences between them and when you should use each in your B2B marketing plan.

 


Articles

An article is a written composition in prose, usually nonfiction, on a specific topic, independently forming part of a publication. It is an essay or a report with varying scopes from narrow to wide. An articles purpose can vary too; it can be educational or entertaining, it can inform or persuade and it can have any point- of view.

Whitepapers

A whitepaper on the other hand is an authoritative report on a specific topic. It informs readers concisely about a complex issue by presenting the publisher’s point of view or analysis of the topic. Its main purpose is to inform readers on the finer details of the topic or issue that the whitepaper is covering.

What’s the difference?

So while an article is supposed to provide an overview of a topic, a whitepaper, on the other-hand, can be expected to give an in depth view. Readers expect much more research to be done when a whitepaper is being written versus an article in order to provide the detailed information that a whitepaper provides. There is also a difference in length, articles tend to be shorter while whitepapers are longer, owing to the in depth nature of the information they hold.

According to DemandGen Report in the past 12 months B2B organizations used whitepapers to make 82% of their purchasing decisions. Other forms of B2B marketing content used to make purchasing decisions include: Webinars (78%); Case Studies (73%); eBooks (67%); Blog Posts (66%); Infographics (66%); Third-party/Analyst reports (62%); Video/Motion graphics (47%); Interactive presentations (36%). DemandGen also reports that B2B buyers are 79% more likely to share whitepapers with colleagues.

Articles on the other hand are one of the top 5 B2B content marketing tactics according to IMN Inc. being the third most popular with 81% of B2B companies using them.

Articles can be generated quickly and can be composed of opinion and entertainment so extensive research isn’t required. Therefore, articles are a good B2B marketing tactic to keep your audience engaged and to refresh your website’s content for better SEO.

Whitepapers serve to generate more credibility and trust for your business. It will make readers more curious about what you have to offer and thereby increase your sales. Problem solving information always has high conversion with readers and online users are always looking for quality content. Therefore, you should probably turn to a whitepaper when you are an industry expert on a particular topic and you have a wealth of information on a problem that a lot of your customers experience or run into. Provide the answer to that question in great detail and customers and online users will be drawn to your site through your whitepaper.

That being said, a good whitepaper, once completed will be full of ideas that can each be developed into individual articles and blog posts. To find out how to get a whitepaper, article or any other kind of B2B marketing content for your business, contact us today.


References: 

[1] Dictonary.com | http://www.dictionary.com/

[2] 2016 Content Preferences Survey: B2B Buyers Value Content That Offers Data And Analysis |  Demand Gen Report | http://www.demandgenreport.com/resources/research/2016-content-preferences-survey-b2b-buyers-value-content-that-offers-data-and-analysis

[3]Third Annual IMN Content Marketing Survey - Executive Report | IMN Inc. | http://www.imninc.com/lp/content-marketing-research-report-2

Topics: Marketing Strategy and Planning, Marketing Tactics, B2B Marketing, marketing strategy, B2B Marketing Strategy, content marketing, B2B content marketing, B2B marketing tactics