In the world of content marketing, there’s more to play with than just a landscape of static text.
As a reader, you may have come across content in the past which required you to input your email address before viewing or downloading said content.
Did you know that this is a form of gated content? That’s because you’re only able to view specific content after completing the desired action or providing detailed information.
The real challenge lies in understanding where gated content can work best, and if it might be right for your website. We’re going to discuss this form of contnet and if it’s worth including for your business!
What is gated content?
Gated content is usually hidden behind desired information on a form, known as the ‘gate’. Without providing enough information to complete the form, you can’t access the content behind the ‘gate’.
Some gated content examples include entering your email address for an eBook before it begins to download, as well as signing up to a website because you can only read an article’s introduction without registering.
As a reader, you can think of a content gate as an information ‘gate’ – it’s a method of providing information to the company in exchange for their content. Some businesses may even require subscriptions or payments before their content becomes available.
This type of content is popular for many businesses, but bear in mind that this has different impacts when comparing gated vs non-gated content.
Understanding gated vs non-gated content
Firstly, content behind a gate is vastly different from normal content like social media copy, or scheduled blog posts that anyone can stumble upon at will. This difference is because the main aim behind gated content is lead generation for sales-oriented businesses. Leads are prospective customers for a company, and they have expressed an interest in the offered products/services.
The forms used to access this content are, essentially, a new kind of lead generation tool. Gone are the days of mass-emailing forms hoping that a few people may buy your product!
Something else to consider when deciding on gated vs non-gated content is the value added by each piece of content. Gated content is typically used for premium, high-authority content that fits a niche market. You should also know that Google does not crawl content behind a gate, meaning that it won’t help as much with your SEO content as readily available content.
As a result, your content should add a lot of value to your audience, as well as allow you to gain qualified leads at the same time.
The best time for using gated vs non-gated content
Therefore, the question of whether to use gated content or not should lie in the intentions behind your content marketing strategy.
Suppose you’re looking for more page views, better brand awareness and trust-building. In that case, you should opt for non-gated content, such as articles, curated content, lists, images, press releases, testimonials and more. These types of content can also create a lot of engagement.
However, if you require higher-quality leads that can ultimately become paying customers, then gated content is an excellent strategy to start using.
With that said, bear in mind that many people may not complete the form or information ‘gate’ behind your content and could be frustrated by the experience. You may face a higher bounce rate on these pages for this reason. They are also not shared as easily amongst readers. Despite these negatives, they are still a valuable way to gain new information about prospects.
The truth is that choosing to use gated vs non-gated content will depend on what your business needs are. Ultimately, most brands can benefit from increased leads, so it’s probably a good idea to use a combination of both forms of content in your strategy.
If you’re going to start putting some of your content behind a gate, here are some of the best practices to understand first.
- You will need a highly-effective landing page to anchor your content. This landing page can help to lower bounce rates and increase form completion rates.
- Within gated content best practice, your landing page should entice your audience, set clear expectations, include a clear and simple lead capture form and have a concise call to action.
- The content behind your gate needs to be, well…’gate worthy’. You need to include high-quality content that adds a lot of value to your audience. Some ideas include re-optimized content, webinars, whitepapers, reports, eBooks and more.
- Use attractive visuals together with your content. Especially if you want conversions, it’s going to take more than just text to succeed. Creating a good version of your lead magnet is crucial to an excellent gated content strategy.
- Take a look at your competitors. Are they offering similar content in either gated or non-gated forms? Adding a content gate where a competitor is offering non-gated content may put you at a disadvantage.
- Before you start, consider the information you need to create a qualified lead. Longer forms create friction for your audience but will provide you with more details. What is the minimum information that you need?
- It’s crucial to understand which part of the marketing funnel can work well with gated content. Using it too soon can scare prospects early on in the customer journey. By waiting a bit later, you can instead use gated content for brand visibility while still gaining qualified leads.
To gate, or not to gate?
When deciding on whether to use gated content or not, you should consider the main intention behind your content strategy.
Adding it to your content marketing strategy can be an insightful way to gain valuable leads while providing high-quality, authoritative content to your prospects.
Gated or not, do you need help creating top-notch content that adds value to your audience? Chat to us – our SEO marketing strategy can enormously help you out.