Many B2B companies use white papers to generate leads. That’s because they’re still an effective tool for moving prospects through the sales funnel. According to an eMarketer survey of B2B marketers, white papers are the best marketing tactic for generating quality leads. Roanne Neuwirth writes for Content Marketing Institute that white papers still matter and will generate leads. In fact, white papers are still effective lead generators because they educate the reader, and provide statistically sound data. In other words, they’re not trying to sell to your prospect; they’re trying to inform them.

That’s why white papers still remain a powerful content tool for lead generation.

Here are 10 tips for creating compelling white papers that generate leads.

1. Focus on the target reader, not the company

A white paper primarily presents the company’s perspective on an issue or technology. Do not focus too much on the company, but the target audience who will read the paper. Present useful information that keeps the reader interested and meets their concerns. Does it solve a problem for the reader and how?

2. Make the title as specific and unique as possible

The title of your white paper must be very specific and unique to stand out in today’s cluttered marketing environment. If you try to cover too much ground your paper could lose its effectiveness. For example, a white paper titled “Money Management! How Financial Institutions Can Survive The Impending Financial Crisis” sounds a whole lot more appealing than “How To Use Automation To Improve The Performance of Financial Institutions.”

3. Consider using the job function in the title

You can often attract more attention by using the job title of your target audience. For example, if your target audience is sales managers, the title of your white paper could be, “How Online Training Programs Helps Sales Managers Reduce Training Costs by 65%.”

4. Use proper length based on the target audience

Your white paper should be five to eight pages if it is for a business audience. A white paper for a technical audience should be no more than ten to fifteen pages. If you can’t cover the topic in less than fifteen pages then you should break it up in to two white papers. Your audience is looking for good information, but it must be concise.

5. Deliver information that’s useful, practical, and relevant

Your white paper should offer valuable ideas, insights or techniques to help readers cut costs, increase revenue, grow market share, improve processes, or whatever is important to them.

6. Offer information that readers will want to keep and reference for the future

In many B2B situations, people don’t have a current need for your product or service when they download and read your white paper. It may take several months or even a year before they are ready to buy. Make sure your white paper is perceived as valuable enough to save until your prospect’s circumstances change.

7. Make it clear, precise, and engaging

Keep it simple. Convey in the paper why the reader should be interested. Overly long sentences, convoluted syntax, and complex words can make the paper seem incoherent and academic. Write direct and simple and you’ll create a white paper that is engaging and understandable.

8. Do not load it up with technical jargon

Some marketers feel the paper will not be effective without the latest trendy and technical words. Too much jargon can be confusing, can miss the meaning of the topic and key message of the paper, and make it appear like another sales pitch, turning readers away.

9. Know your audience

Do not try to make one paper be all things to all people. Business executives have different concerns about a product purchase than the IT staff or end user. Sometimes, a separate white paper is needed to meet these audience’s objectives and better support the sales process. Within the paper, use of subheads and sidebars can isolate and address the different audience’s concerns.

10. Make it accurate and error free

Errors of facts or omissions can cause legal problems. The information must be accurate and have proof to back it up. Forgetting a statement, a feature, or making claims of a benefit without proper proof can be a costly mistake. Have the engineers, sales and marketing departments check over the white paper thoroughly before it is published.

Prospects read white papers to get solid information, not a sales pitch. A white paper must be fact-filled and compelling with zero hype and written just like an informative article in a business or trade magazine.