White Papers, Video & Infographic Best Practices

Posted by on April 15, 2014

Yesterday, I covered five quick tips to develop content that resonates with prospects whether they’re just researching, narrowing down their options, or justifying a purchase decision. But wait, there’s more! Here are some best practices for making whitepapers, videos, and infographics more engaging.

White papers (and other written reports)
To make a white paper resonate, follow guidelines 1-4, then consider these additional points:

  • White doesn’t have to mean gray. Just because it’s called a white paper doesn’t mean it has to be visually boring. Color, images, call-outs, charts, graphics, diagrams, sidebars, and headings keep readers engaged with the material.
  • Keep it snappy. With so much information competing for attention, prospects appreciate materials that are easy to scan and to the point. For most white papers, four pages (1,800-2,000 words) is an ideal length. You’ll be able to cover most topics in enough detail to provide value without losing the reader halfway through. You can always create a series or point to additional materials if you have more to say.
  • Make it practical. Give readers concrete actions. Provide checklists, guidelines, evaluation criteria, and other useful suggestions where it makes sense.
  • Don’t forget a call to action. Point to additional relevant resources; invite them to participate in a community discussion or live event; suggest they join your LinkedIn or Facebook group.

Videos
Interest in visual formats is exploding. Done well, video can lead to engaging and entertaining stories. But the abandonment rate for video is high. Here’s how to keep the right eyes on the screen.

  • Keep it short. Keep your videos under two minutes, and most viewers will watch to the end. Any longer, and you risk losing the audience before you’ve given them a call to action.  
  • Choose the right on-camera talent. If your video features an executive or SME, make sure that person is comfortable with public speaking in general and with being in front of a camera. Choose someone with an energetic, conversational speaking style.
  • Remember that video is visual. B-roll, animations, and other visual flourishes ratchet up the interest and keep viewers viewing. Remember to entertain as you inform.
  • Demos. These can be very effective ways to show the value of your solution if you keep them succinct and highlight only a handful of the features.

Infographics
An increasingly popular and shareable format, infographics are a great way to highlight research statistics and other data. Here are some tips on doing them well.

  • Tell a story. The best infographics lead readers through the story around the data, providing context and value to the statics.
  • Let pictures tell (some of) the story. Let images do much of the “talking” wherever possible. Distill the words of the story down to the bare essentials.
  • Use a framework to present the story. Frameworks help organize and create a path for readers to follow. Examples include timelines, flow charts, checklists, numbered lists, countdowns and more.