How to repurpose a white paper into blog posts

Here’s how to repurpose a white paper into blog posts, part 3 of our ongoing series.

See part 1 on the original white paper.

See part 2 on repurposing that as a press release.

graphic of keyboard with recycle key to signify repurposing a white paper into blog posts -That White Paper GuyA set of blog posts can work well with a white paper, as the two forms complement one another nicely.

For example, blog posts are a shorter and more informal way to publish ideas than a white paper. They’re basically here today, gone tomorrow.

A blog can be where a company tries out ideas and gets quick feedback. But once an idea is fully baked, the company can present it in a white paper where it will stand for a much longer time.

Creating the blog posts

The first post based on our sample white paper was done by the client. The company founder extracted it from the original text, and I think he did a good job.

Click the thumbnail or here to see that post.

Original blog post repurposed from a white paper - That White Paper Guy

At the bottom, you can see the call to action in blue: asking readers to download the full white paper.

Next, my partner Angie Gallop created three more posts for this article. Each took less than two hours.

We figure that means a copywriter can turn a white paper into multiple blog posts in less than a day. We didn’t even present these to the client; we created these strictly for research purposes.

You can click on a thumbnail below to see each post.

actual blog post #1 repurposed from a white paper - That White Paper Guy

Blog post #1

actual blog post #2 repurposed from a white paper - That White Paper Guy

Blog post #2

actual blog post #3 repurposed from a white paper - That White Paper Guy

Blog post #3

Experience and people-power

Turning a white paper into blog posts is a matter of experience and people-power.

With experience comes confidence. An intern or other beginner may feel squeamish about opening up a finished white paper and extracting its guts for another document.

An experienced copywriter, on the other hand, won’t worry about going in to extract a few posts.

The problem is: Even if they have the confidence and the know-how, most marketing teams are hard-pressed to spare anyone the time to work on extracting blogs from white papers.

That’s where an outside copywriter can provide a valuable service, by submitting a batch of blog posts along with the white paper they produce.

How much do blog posts go for?

The going rate for B2B blog posts is $250 to $500 per.

I think a copywriter who extracts four blog posts from a white paper can charge $500+ for their efforts.

And if you’re a marketing manager, doesn’t that sound sweet? You get your next four blog posts, each promoting your new white paper, all for $500?

A few tips on blog posts

The ideal length for a blog post is 500 to 600 words. You can go a little bit longer, but not too much shorter.

When you’re repurposing something longer—like a white paper—into something shorter—like a blog post—you’ll have to cut and compress.

The key to compressing text is to use fewer words, drop any side issues, and preserve just the key points.

If the blog posts run together into a series, it’s good to add links to the earlier and later posts… just as we’ve done with this series.

In all cases, the call to action is the same: to download the full white paper.

Of course, not all white papers are alike. Here are some specifics on how to handle each different type of white paper.

scoop of vanilla ice cream - That White Paper GuyBackgrounder to blog posts

To repurpose a back-grounder—aka a vanilla- flavored white paper—you can make each major section a post.

As you may know, I recommend organizing a backgrounder around a set of key features and benefits of the product or service being discussed.

So if you describe four major benefits of a certain offering, you could create four meaty blog posts by compressing each section down to 500 words.

Of course, your call to action after every blog post will be something like:
For more details on the [type of feature or benefit], download the full white paper here.

or

For more details on how your organization can benefit from a [key distinction of offering], download the full white paper here

scoop of chocolate ice cream -That White Paper GuyProblem/solution to blog posts

To repurpose a problem/ solution—aka a chocolate- flavored white paper—you can make each major section into one post.

That means three posts to cover the problem, the traditional solutions, and the new, improved solution.

You can sometimes make a fourth post out of the buyer’s guide, which covers what to look for in an ideal solution.

So without doing any writing, you can create three or four blog posts from any problem/solution white paper.

scoop of strawberry ice cream - That White Paper Guy
Numbered list to blog posts

The numbered list (or “listicle”) is also known as the strawberry flavored white paper: light, lively, and easy to digest.

To repurpose this flavor, you can go two ways. You can either use a skeleton of the whole list as one post, or you can use each separate point of the list as a post.

Let’s look at each approach in a little detail.

Method #1: Use the whole list as a skeleton

Let’s say your list is on “5 hidden gotcha’s before you sign on the dotted line” for a B2B service or product.

The simplest blog post would show the whole list as a skeleton: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 with each point stripped down without more than 100 words of detail.

At the end, the call to action would be:
For more details on these 5 hidden gotcha’s, download the full white paper here.

You might show the cover of the white paper. You would direct your readers to the right landing page.

The benefit of this approach is that you pack a ton of value into a single blog post. And anyone who requests the full white paper is very engaged with the topic.

The downside is that you give away all your key points in a single shot, so you may not generate as many leads. And a single shot gives you fewer chances of engaging a prospect than Method #2, which stretches the same material into a whole set of posts.

Method #2: Use each point as a separate post

With this approach, you take each numbered item and make that into a post and then make it a series.

It’s thing 1, thing 2, thing 3, thing 4, thing 5, and so on. And make sure that each post points to the previous one and the next one.

All those posts would pretty much write themselves. So in very short order, you’ll have five blog posts out of a numbered list of five items.

Work with these ideas and you’ll soon be getting far more bang for your buck on each of your white paper projects.

 

Here’s part 4 of this series on how to repurpose a white paper as a slide deck.

 


Have you ever repurposed a white paper into a set of blog posts? Do you have any other tips or suggestions to share? Please leave your comment below. 

 

About Gordon Graham

Author of 275 white papers on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients everywhere from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, for everyone from tiny startups to 3M, Google and Verizon. Also wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned 50 5-star ratings on Amazon. Reviewers call it "a must-read... fantastic... outstanding... terrific... phenomenal... the best book of its kind."

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