EBooks vs. White Papers: Which Works Best?


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When it comes to advancing your content marketing strategy, you’ll find that white papers and eBooks are typically the “next higher level” of blog posts.

EBooks and white papers share some similarities, the most obvious being that they are usually much longer than your average blog post. But despite this, it can be a bit difficult to know which format to choose when it comes to posting long content.

We turned to leading industry experts to get an overview of the differences between the two content formats and also to find out whether one performs better than the other.

Related article: For dynamic B2B marketing, get out of the whitepaper rut

Differences between an eBook and a white paper

As noted by Nicolas Straut, SEO Associate at New York-based FunderaThe main difference between an eBook and a white paper is the audience for each format. Straut explained that an eBook often serves as a detailed guide on a topic for a general audience. “A white paper is more [of an] academic report on a particular topic that presents new research or information for a more specialized audience of experts, ”he said.

Another difference between eBooks and White Papers is the purpose they both aim to achieve. Mike Tirone, Digital Marketing Strategist at Baltimore MD.-based R2i shared the main goal of a white paper. A white paper aims to convincingly educate its target audience, according to Tirone. “White papers directly address a specific topic, [or a problem], and [then] provide a tangible resolution, usually written in the style of a report or case study. It is written in a persuasive, detailed and authoritative tone, which further strengthens the author’s expertise on the subject, ”he continued.

Tirone extended by saying that white papers are often used by marketers to highlight the brand’s value proposition – which can be a product, service, or solution – in a neat deliverable with visuals. and strong writing. “The structure of a white paper may vary, but the common components are still fairly consistent; [it starts with identifying] a problem, [followed by a] methodology, advice, [and then the proposed] resolution, ”he explained.

Since white papers are more data-driven and target more those familiar with the field around the topic, Tirone says content will be presented differently in e-books and white papers. “An eBook is structured more formally than a white paper and usually longer. An eBook can be easily read and understood without being contextually rich like a detailed case study or white paper.

Related Article: How AI Is Changing Content Marketing Today & In The Future

Are e-books better than white papers or vice versa?

Hubspot writer Emily Haahr paints a pretty stark contrast between white papers and e-books in her article “Why eBooks are Better than White Papers”. In the article, Haahr concludes that eBooks are inherently better because they are simple and cheaper to produce, the content is easier to digest, and they can “spread like wildfire.” She argues that this is due to the more laid back tone of an eBook, which makes it appealing to a wider audience.

However, Ketan Kapoor, CEO and co-founder of the Haryana-based company Mettl, does not share this point of view. Kapoor observed that e-books and white papers each have “distinct” advantages. “EBooks and white papers are information rich content properties that aim to advance the buyer’s journey. However, the difference [in performance] is between the stages they’re targeting in the buyer’s journey or funnel, ”Kapoor said.

“EBooks work well at the ‘awareness’ stage of the buying journey, where a person is trying to accumulate information about a particular product or service and wants to gain a holistic understanding first. [Consumers at this stage] are more concerned with the “problem” part of the equation. Kapoor said. “White papers, on the other hand, target people in the ‘decision’ phase of the buying journey. White papers are introduced when someone who knows the basics [is] looking for a “proven validation” of a concept to fuel their purchasing decision, “he continued.

Kapoor also noted that white papers tend to take longer to produce due to their more specialized nature, which also means they come with higher creation costs. “According to the research involved, e-books are quite easy to [make] and are good at capturing a person’s wit into your products. An eBook can educate a layman who has no expertise or experience in using a product or service, ”Kapoor said. White papers, on the other hand, are more aimed at providing a “data-driven solution to the user’s problem.” that’s why [producing] a white paper takes a lot of research and time, because you have to include a lot of data to convince a person to buy.

Is it a question of B2C vs B2B?

So, based on the idea that eBooks tend to suit a larger, less educated audience, and white papers seek to engage and educate more knowledgeable people looking for more data and With solid responses, CMSWire asked Tirone if eBooks were best suited for B2C audiences. , and white papers for a B2B audience. “I’ve noticed that more and more B2B marketers and businesses are turning to white papers because stakeholders want proven results and love their exclusivity. EBooks can be used as a simple guide to educate readers, and they tend to be more user-friendly, ”he said.

This view was shared by Straut, who said: “An eBook is best suited to a B2C or more casual reading audience, while a whitepaper is best suited to position your business as a business leader. opinion in a space and expose C-suite executives to a new technology or idea.

Which one should you choose?

We asked our experts to make a final call; Electronic books or white paper? Their responses, perhaps rightly so, come with caveats. “From a lead generation perspective, I prefer eBooks because they have a higher download and consumption rate for the audiences I’ve targeted. However, if I had to contact a group of experts and convince them of the value of a new technology proposed by my company, I would have a white paper written, ”said Straut.

Irene Malatesta, Head of Content Strategy in San Francisco Fund of funds, also advised brands to weigh their goals when it comes to making this call. “Which one you choose should depend on what you are trying to accomplish and the audience you are reaching out to. You may want to use both in your funnel. When choosing a format, consider the level of expertise of your target reader, the value you can add to the topic and the depth you want to achieve, ”said Malatesta.

What do you think of the eBooks vs Whitepaper debate? Share your views in the comments below.