We expect that in B2B marketing, white papers are going to be replaced by topic microsites. It won’t happen overnight, but there are so many advantages, both to the reader and to the authors, that it will happen eventually. (You can read a full explanation of this point of view here)
Some of the things you can incorporate into a point of view on a web page that are difficult or impossible to do in a pdf or hard copy white paper include:
- Animated and Interactive Graphics
- Several Articles Grouped around a Theme
- Reader Comments and Responses
- Videos / Podcasts
- Reader Point of View Development
- Post/Article/News Feed(s)
- Reader Polls and Surveys
- Self-Diagnostic Tools
- A Community
Microsites are beginning to appear that do some of these things. Here are a few examples:
- FedEx Access
- Accenture Sustainability Performance Management
- McKinsey Globalization
- Enterprise Mobility Forum
But they have each incorporated a different combination of elements. A quick review of which has what components gives this chart:
They all have collections of articles and they all have videos or podcasts (mostly videos in fact). But after that they diverge.
So what is the right combination of elements for an effective topic microsite? Of course it will be different in different circumstances, but we believe that there are always some a components that are essential to driving traffic, reader engagement and ultimately, new business.
Which would be a good topic for my next post.