Should content ever be gated?

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1 min read

Whether you know it as paywalls, information walls or registration walls, gated content is everywhere these days - especially on B2B websites. If you’ve ever followed a compelling link from LinkedIn, Reddit or Google, you may have been faced with a content offer pop-up that looks a little bit like this:

 

Annoying, isn’t it? 

Nevertheless, gated content has its place and is everywhere in B2B right now where, it’s estimated, 80% of content marketing assets are gated. Gated content can generate leads, and give you valuable insight into your prospects. Here we’ll discuss the pros and cons of gated content and offer up some tips on how to use gated content to grow your business. Need help with creating some killer content – both gated and non-gated – for your business? Get in touch today.  

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What is gated content?

Gated content is the term marketing bods give to content – whether that’s blogs, ebooks, videos or the other of content formats out there – that’s hidden from view until you jump through the hoops set by its publisher. This could be (and arguably, should be) as simple as giving your email address in exchange for access, but some marketers use this as an opportunity to learn as much as they can about a prospect – whether that's their name, job role, phone number, inside leg measurement… you get the idea. Once you’ve provided this information, and (usually) given your permission to be marketed to, you’ll be emailed a link to the content or taken straight there. 

Why should you gate your content?

Let’s be clear: you shouldn’t gate every piece of content you have. It’s not only annoying to your audience, but it can affect your organic visits if you gate web pages that would otherwise be crawlable by Google. 

That being said, gated content has its place. HubSpot experienced a 30% jump in leads and overall traffic when it started to gate its content. Gated content is a worthwhile effort. It gives your traffic a purpose, turning that walk-up visitor into something far more valuable: a lead. Gated content can even help you to pre-qualify your leads. There’s the argument that if your visitor is willing to fill in a form, they’re potentially a stronger, or hotter, contact for you to market to. But there’s a wrong way to do it, and a right way… so, how do you know what you should gate and what you shouldn’t?

CONTENT FORMATS THAT SHOULD NEVER BE GATED 

Video - This may seem counterintuitive since video also happens to one of the most expensive content formats to produce – surely by gating it you’ll get some kind of return on investment? 

We’re going to go out on a limb here and argue that video content should never be gated. Why? Because video is the single most important content format for increasing your engagements and organic visits. Your landing page is 53 times more likely to index on Google’s first page if it includes a video. Trust us, leaving videos ungated and instantly sharable and indexable will result in a bigger pay off, in terms of traffic, leads, reach and engagement. 

Blogs - These shouldn’t be gated, but for the opposite reason to video. Put simply, blogs aren’t valuable enough to gate. Case in point: this very blog that you’re reading now. There’s some useful points for sure, but would you really be willing to fill out a form to read it? Probably not (no offence taken!).

Infographics - These are typically super-shareable on social media and the like, and are a great way to get your name out there to new audiences in spaces that you don’t own (like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit or other websites specific to your industry). Gating infographics defeats the purpose. 

Content formats that absolutely could  be gated 

E-books - These and other longer-form articles provide real value to your audience and, unlike a blog, will help them to feel like they’ve just downloaded something that’s of real value to their buying journey. 

Templates - Again, another content format that offers real value to your audience. This could be anything from an editable calendar showcasing your most important industry events and webinars, or a process template to help your prospect to streamline their workflow. The possibilities are endless. 

Original research - We ummed and ahhed over this one, for sure. On one hand, original research is a great way to reach out to new audiences and encourage them to engage with your brand, so why would you gate it? On the other hand, original research is a great way to reach out to new audiences and encourage them to engage with your brand so why WOULDN’T you gate it? 

But there is a third way. Pull out the most exciting findings from your research and include these in a landing page or blog that’s ungated – then you’re free to gate the full report. This is a useful tactic as it helps you to gauge the interest of your audience. Perhaps if they go no further than the highlights of the report, they’re early on in their buying journey? If they’re invested enough to download the report, they might be further along and ready to be reached out to. 

For tips on how to create some great gated and ungated content, get in touch with the FINALLY team. 




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