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Written by Lisa Shepherd
on December 05, 2016

 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.

Whitepaper vs article - when to use eachArticles

In the world of marketing, an article is usually a 1 - 2 page piece of content.  It can take the form of a press release, an editorial (an article that educates about something), an opinion piece (an article that takes a position and tries to convince the reader), or other variations. Articles can be formal or informal in tone.  They can be educational or entertaining or both. Articles can be pitched as guest posts on other blogs, posted to sites like LinkedIn, offered as content to major publications like Inc Magazine, and posted to the company's own website.   

 

Whitepapers

A whitepaper is usually 6 or more pages. It is an authoritative and impartial report on a specific topic, and informs readers about a complex issue. Its main purpose is to educate readers on the finer details of the topic. In the world of marketing, whitepapers are usually professionally designed and can be downloaded as PDFs. 

 

What’s the difference?

While an article is supposed to provide an overview of a topic, a whitepaper can be expected to give an in-depth view. Readers expect much more research from a whitepaper than an article.

According to DemandGen Report, in the past 12 months B2B buyers 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%).

 

Pros and cons

B2B buyers are 79% more likely to share whitepapers with colleagues than articles. Whitepapers generate credibility and trust for their publishers, and they can generate direct traffic to a company's website by making readers curious about a business and what it has to offer.  

On the other hand, articles can be generated quickly and can include opinion and entertainment - so extensive research isn’t required. As such, articles are a good B2B marketing tactic to keep your audience engaged and to refresh your website’s content for better SEO.

 

The best of both worlds

We've found the best way to get the value and credibility of a whitepaper, combined with the lesser-investment and speed of an article, is to make both out of one. A good whitepaper, once completed, is full of ideas that can each be developed into individual articles.

Want to make the most of your marketing investments?  Download Winning at B2B Marketing.  

Make the most of 17 B2B mraketing tactics


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