Video White Papers?

By Michael Stelzner

Just when I thought podcasts were the hot new wave in white papers (think sound), along comes the video white paper.

What? Video?

Tony over at Success from the Nest says:

A video white paper is all about the customer and it tells a story. It combines solid copywriting techniques, good storytelling, learning (particularly e-learning) concepts, and interesting supporting visuals to demonstrate your expertise and your story to a potential customer.

Brian Clark’s Tubetorial site is mentioned as an example.

What do you think about video and white papers? Is this viable? What are the pros and cons?

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  • Jack T.

    Video for white papers? Come on. Really?

  • Jonathan Kantor

    Call me ‘old-fashioned’, but I have my doubts about this one.

    1. You must be tethered to the handheld device, laptop, or desktop and it requires your complete attention. You can’t do anything else simultaneously. At least with an iPod you can exercise, drive your car, etc., while you are listening to the podcast.

    2. The high cost associated with executing a very professional presentation will result in fewer participants or a lot of unprofessional content. Just as there are some podcasts out there with nice bumper music on the in and outtakes, others merely speak into a microphone.

    But then again, I could be wrong. After all when the PDF format was first developed, I’m sure many probably said, “what could this be used for?”

  • Tony D. Clark

    Mike – Thanks for the link to my series.

    One thing I want to point out is I definitely don’t feel that video will replace white papers – it’s just another tool available for marketing. Particularly for someone who’s essentially selling their expertise – coaches, consultants, designers, developers, etc.

    The reason I chose the term video white paper is that I feel one of the best examples of how to use valuable information to both educate and market is the white paper. The basic premise is to use that model when developing video info products as a marketing tool – rather than the infomercial model.

    My bet is you’ll see a huge surge in online video info products this year, as well as video marketing. Using the model of the white paper when developing these types of products, is a good basis to start from.

  • Michael Stelzner

    This is a repost from a parallel post over on CopyBlogger

    I think ALL of this falls under a category I label “educational marketing.”

    Simply put, you educate someone doing research and they will build affinity and trust. That is the first step towards a relationship and ultimately a sale.

    Bob Bly calls it Edu-Marketing in his book “The White Paper Marketing Handbook.”

    I call it educational marketing in my book.

    Now to video…

    I think both video and audio are just different ways to get a message across.

    This is why I think what matters most is the message.

    Tony Clark might be onto something.

    Because the term “white paper” is so well known in the world of b2b (esp. high-tech), it may resonate with many people.

    What say you?

  • Rob Everton

    To me, video white papers have been common for some time. I receive far more invitations to video webcasts about a topic than I do white papers. They have similar purpose in B2B marketing – positioning the content creator as a thought leader. They’re shorter, but the combination of video and slides makes it impactful and content-rich. You also get the benefit of body language from the presenter which is a big part of their credibility.

    A study from Leapfrog Innovators of Natick, MA a few years ago indicated that we retain 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, and 50% of what we see and hear. It goes on to indicate that we retain 70% of what we discuss with others, 80% of what we experience, and 95% of what we teach others.

    But clearly video isn’t suitable for every case. It’s relatively expensive, has less reach than a podcast and much less than a paper.

    I like a mixed solution – a white paper with accompanying unabridged podcast, and a video synopsis where it makes financial sense. This synopsis fits into the youtube generation of smaller bites.

    On a related note – I would love Podcasts as a white paper delivery media a whole lot more if you could segment the podcast into chapters. Scrolling through a long podcast on an iPod is tortuous.

  • Bill

    Check out the video white paper IBM created with Accela Communications. It includes delivery on the IBM website, via rich media banner ads (yes, the entire 25 minute video within a banner), promotion at a site called, and was localized into a number of different languages. Pretty cool I say! It allows the viewer to watch the video, download the podcast, or download the pdf white paper. I also like how the viewer can click on the different topics in the paper so I don’t have to stare at the video for the entire duration!

  • Michael Stelzner

    Hey Bill – Really very interesting. Thanks! – Mike

  • David Lance

    The video white paper definitely has its place. Doesn’t the popularity of white papers trace directly back to the video white paper that NBC broadcast in 1980 entitled “If Japan Can… Why Can’t We?” (…_Why_can’t_we%3F)

    The medium has strong potential – if used correctly. Video has the capability of combining strong argument with audio and visual elements, that can get the point across perhaps with greater impact than white paper and black text alone. The example that Bill shares above is simply a talking head that drones on endlessly for nearly a half hour, with minimal visual elements. It is a nice augmentation to a paper document, but hardly an improvement, let alone a replacement.

    I think one of the best uses of video, combined with an audio presentation is this one:

    Granted, this is a keynote address, but check out the presentation style. It successfully combines video, audio, humor, Power Point, technical information and a persuasive argument. I think anyone who endeavors to produce “video white papers” would be well served to study it. And emmulate it.

  • Cindy

    Educational Marketing is exactly what we have in mind….I need to learn the how-to’s of white papaer with video. Suggestions on where I can find details?

need someone write my paper