When To Put Content Behind A Wall: Gated Content Strategy

One common content marketing strategy is to give away a lot of free content and put more valuable content behind gates to entice people to go deeper into the funnel. Most ebooks that are online, including ours, have a gate, even if it’s just an email address.

Gated content is any content that requires someone to give you something before they can reach it. But what content is worth gating, and which isn’t? How do you gate content in a way that doesn’t turn off your clients? We will offer some suggestions.

The Wrong Way

Accessing gated content is a powerful signal that you’re interested in that content, but many companies use that signal as an excuse to hard-sell the lead. Gated content will filter out many of the people who visit the page. The last thing you want to do is harass those who take the time to go through the gate.

When someone downloads gated content, that means they have a strong interest in the content’s topic, not necessarily your brand. For instance, if someone downloads our book on content strategy, it means they want to know more about that. Sales can use this information to gear their pitches toward the strategy benefits of Concured, but it’s not an excuse to pitch on its own.

In most B2B cases, most of your engagement comes from your un-gated content. What is the use case for gated content then?

Delivering value.

Giving To Get

Gated content is like a bartering exchange. You give me information about yourself, and I give you information you value. We believe that gated content works best to deliver exclusive content to an audience over a span of time.

This makes turning over information easier to swallow because it makes sense to get that contact information. If you’re releasing an educational course, for instance, people who sign up will need to know when new modules are ready.

If you’ve ever received a good high-value email newsletter over time, it’s the same concept. The subscribers get ongoing value over time for their email address or whatever the exchange was. An example of high-value content might be access to video chats.

Gated content can even be a one-time thing if it is valuable enough. Let’s say you’re an SEO company and you have a tool that can look for improvements. You could ask for a lot of information about a company who wanted a demo of that tool. In exchange, you’d give them a customized report  that’s useful only to them.

Look at your metrics and see how your gated and ungated content drive leads. You’re likely to find that it’s your ungated content driving most of them. Unless you have information they can’t get anywhere else (think case studies and self-generated research), or you have a high-value ongoing content offering, it’s time to remove the gate.

You don’t have to use gated content to have an effective content marketing strategy, but if you use it, these tips will help you.