Gated content – what is it and can you benefit from it?

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Do you run a company blog and publish articles regularly, but you don’t see any real benefits from it? Readers come, read your content and leave, but sales still remain at the same level? Sharing knowledge for free has its advantages, but what if you don’t have to give it away completely free of charge? What can you do to make the content you publish more effective? Gated content may be the solution!

What is gated content?

Gated content is closed content to which the web visitor can only access after completing an additional task – filling out a form or subscribing to a newsletter.

This is a kind of content sale, but in this case the currency is not money, but potential customers’ data.

Gated content is a widely used marketing strategy. Companies regularly publish content on their company blogs. Some of them are open and available to everyone, and some only to those who decide to pay for them with their data.

Closed content may have various forms, most often they are: e-books, webinars, podcasts, white papers (guides, tutorials, instructions), case studies, e-learning or free samples and demo versions.

Gated content – benefits

Marketers have been arguing for years whether gated content is really a good strategy. Supporters argue that it is a quick and effective way to acquire leads and increase sales. Opponents, however, believe that closing content discourages readers, reduces website traffic, and consequently limits the reach and visibility of the brand. Both sides are right – gated content has its disadvantages, but it also has many advantages, which we’ll discuss below.

Acquiring new leads and increasing sales

Gated content is, above all, a good way to acquire new leads. Thanks to valuable content, you can interest potential customers, gain their trust and become an expert in a given field in their eyes. You will build a lasting relationship with them, and with the aid of systematic interaction, you may be able to convince them to buy your products.

Mailing list segmentation and readers profiling

Another benefit is the appropriate profiling of potential customers. Thanks to the forms on the website, you will not only obtain an e-mail address, but also obtain other information that is important from your point of view, e.g. where s/he found out about your offer or what his/her interests are.

Verification of the value of content posted on the website

Gated content is an opportunity to verify the content posted on the website. The number of downloads will allow you to clearly determine whether the content you publish is actually valuable and desired by customers, or maybe on the contrary – it has no value for them. This way, you will quickly examine the market and find out whether what you are doing is bringing the intended results or whether it is worth changing something.

What content should I close?

Now that you know that gated content can bring a lot of benefits to your company, you also need to know what content to close so that your actions bring the intended effect. So what content should you close?

It all depends on what effects you want to achieve. If you want to increase your newsletter readership base, you can close general content that will be of interest to a wide range of readers. They should be well-developed and visually attractive, and may take the form of reports, presentations, e-books or educational films. This content will improve your image, provide you with a large number of new leads, but unfortunately it will not make your sales suddenly skyrocket.

If your goal is to increase sales, do not close content that may be of interest to people at the beginning of the sales funnel (i.e. people who do not yet know whether they need your products at all). However, limit access to content that covers a narrow scope. Prepare a product guide, consultations, a demo version, something that will be valuable for them and help solve a problem. This way, you will gain data from people who are actually considering purchasing your product, which may translate into tangible profits in the future.

Features of good gated content

Simply closing relevant content is not enough. Gated content must be original, unique and attractive to the recipient, otherwise they simply will not buy it. It should raise and explain a problematic issue in a way that no one has done before.

Good gated content must respond to the real needs of the readers and present high visual and editorial value.

Summary

Only the combination of all these elements will help you establish a lasting relationship with your readers and make them come back to you not only for good and useful content, but also for your products.

Maintaining gated content is not the easiest task. You need knowledge, experience and a good plan for the future. It’s also worth paying attention to a few things:

 

  • the form cannot be too long – it is best if it contains 4 short questions. Forms that are too long discourage readers from downloading materials or cause them to provide false information,
  • responsiveness of forms – most people download content using smartphones, so make sure that they are displayed correctly on all devices,
  • prepare a plan for the future – plan your next actions and design future interactions with the reader, decide whether it will be a series of emails or direct contact, send valuable content and build a lasting relationship with him/her,
  • do not inundate your customers with advertisements – valuable content should not contain advertising spam, because you will quickly discourage your readers,
    make sure you have appropriate data analysis tools that will help you measure the effectiveness of your activities.

Lordson Okpetu

I'm many things rolled into one; I'm an ex-journalist, a content strategist, digital marketer and 'rockstar' direct response copywriter. I've written tons of copies to sell thousands of products and services across diverse industries in Nigeria. In my occasional spare time, I play chess or spend time with my family. I am the Chief Operating Officer of Content Writer, Nigeria.

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