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Content: To Gate Or Not To Gate?

Are you pro-gated content like Mike Volpe CEO of Hubspot? Or anti-gating like Neil Patel, Co-founder of KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg? To gate or not to gate would have to be one of the biggest questions asked by content marketers today. And there is no one size fits all answer, writes Rachel Kurzyp. 

 

Gated content is content that requires a customer to give personal information in order to see, read, or interact with the content. For example, most brands require you to share your email address to access their webinar. 

Many brands find themselves making decisions based on what their competitors are doing. And marketers think if they put their content behind a gate customers will look for free alternatives. So they do nothing, or gate the wrong content. This way of thinking forces marketers to overlook important considerations – their own content marketing goals and sales funnel. Address these areas – then you’ll know if gated content is right for you. 

What measurements matter to you?

There’s a time and a place to gate your content but it’s up to you to know where to draw that 
line for your brand. You can determine which content assets to gate or leave un-gated based on 
their purpose. When you publish content – a blog post, case study, white paper, e-book, webinar, or video – what are you hoping to achieve? 

If you value traffic, SEO ranking and inbound links then you’re better off not gating 
your premium content. But if you need regular leads you may want to consider gating your 
content at the expense of your traffic. 

What content does your customer need?

You should be creating content to help your customer navigate down your sales funnel. Some 
brands are putting the wrong content behind walls and are preventing sales. Generally, content 
assets associated with the first and last stage of the buying cycle – ‘Awareness’ and ‘Purchase’ – 
can be gated if the content marketing goal is to generate a consistent volume of leads. If not 
these can remain gate free. 

 

In the ‘Awareness’ stage, content assets should be educational and not promote the company’s product or service. You want people to like you, not be put off. It’s common for brands to keep blog content gate free but place long form content like an e-book behind a wall.

Content assets created for the ‘Evaluation’ stage, which discuss your product or service, should be accessible to everyone and never placed behind a gate. For example data sheets, FAQs and case studies. Customers expect to have access to general company information to help with their decision-making.

You should be offering high-commitment content such as a free trial or estimate in the ‘Purchase’ stage. This stage often requires the exchange of information so it can sit behind a wall. Most brands find customers are willing to part with their personal details at this stage of the buying cycle.  

If you do choose to gate your content you need to deliver remarkable content assets. Otherwise your potential leads will be less willing to part with their personal information. And if you prefer to keep your content gate-free you won’t be disadvantaged. Remember, it’s about making gated content work for your brand not the other way around. 

 

Rachel Kurzyp is a writer and communications consultant helping businesses build their digital story. 

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