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When it comes to creating advanced content for your audience, considering whitepapers and eBooks is a step in the right direction to advance your content rich communications. Both offer their own distinguishing features, but deciding which one is right for your business can be tricky.

We hope this useful guide will help to clarify the differences in use and consumption of each medium.

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The role of a whitepaper

A whitepaper addresses one specific topic or issue, providing the reader with a resolution, much like a report or case study. The piece allows the reader to gain a greater understanding, have a deeper insight into the subject and obtain a more comprehensive explanation. The paper is written in a formal, intellectual tone and can range roughly from 5-15 pages, depending on the topic.

The role of an eBook

The purpose of an eBook is to teach your audience about a specific topic, in a way that is easy for them to understand and allows them to interpret the information in the form of a “how to” guide on a subject, making it easier to digest. Its tone, overall, can be very conversational and broken down to showcase the personality of the brand including imagery and interactive elements such as videos or animations. This can easily attract attention and entice people to read further.  

Generally, an eBook can range from 20 up to as much as 200 pages, but this depends on the specific project brief.

Whitepaper audience

The audience is usually professionals who are searching for more technical information to solve a specific problem they may have. A whitepaper allows your business to provide clear answers while helping you to become established as an expert in a specific topic or field.

This generally attracts an audience with a higher subject or expertise level. In this instance, the whitepaper would be easier for the professional to read and digest due to the familiarity of terminology, and because of the high volume of research/statistical content, generates trust and acknowledges a need for added value to ensure the already educated reader gains something from taking the time to read it.

eBook audience

The prospective audience is broader and more generalised compared to the whitepaper audience. An eBook is most effective for those who are visual learners. It also attracts an audience who are at the awareness/interest stage of the buyer journey because they are collating data around the business’ products and services.

What content is used in a whitepaper?

The content is made up of expert insights, facts and quantifiable research in order to support the research found. Many papers use imagery to support the research such as charts, tables, data and visuals. It should aid the reader’s decisions, allowing them to read content which is evidence to essentially convince them they are making the correct decision by using your company’s product or service, or trusting your sector specific knowledge and insights.

However, it is not the purpose of the whitepaper to be sales-driven. It should be seen as an educational resource to help educate an audience and help buyers to make the right decision for them.

What content is used in an eBook?

While it can be longer than a whitepaper, the content in an eBook has the potential to show more creativity than a typical whitepaper would. It is showcased in a way that is not overcrowded or overpowering for the audience to consume, broken up with imagery/creative elements to ease the reader’s flow through the digital document.

The pages are strategically designed for the reader to digest each component of a page – from the information on the page, to the supporting imagery; it offers the reader expert tips, facts, quotes and can discuss/dispel myths about a topic.

It’s important to understand what the differences are between a whitepaper and an eBook, but it is also essential to understand why one product would work for you more than the other.

You will need a whitepaper if your aim is:

  1. to educate your target audience in a text-driven way
  2. to position yourself as a knowledgeable leader within the industry
  3. to provoke confidence in a team/company’s expertise and up-to-date industry knowledge
  4. to position your company in high regard for future purchases

You will need an eBook if your aim is:

  1. to introduce an audience to a new service, product or concept
  2. to simplify a difficult topic in a way that is easier to process and digest
  3. to provide information in a digitally satisfying way, incorporating a mix of text and imagery/video
  4. to generate leads/next steps in a buying decision, such as contact to find out more

Our team of Narrators are experts in the field of visual communications – with creative expertise in our design studio plus content creation and copywriting from our PR team; get in touch today on hello@narrativecommunications.co.uk to discuss your whitepaper/eBook ideas.

This post was created on 4th August 2020
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