Imagine you’re searching for content on technological trends in 2018. You find a whitepaper that’s based on the same topic. You visit the website and start reading, only to find the first few lines available and the rest ‘locked away’.
A prompt asks you to fill in a form, subscribe to a newsletter or make payment to gain access to the content. This type of content is called ‘gated content’ and it’s one content format that content marketing agencies love to use.
Why? Gated content is one of the highest sources of leads, especially for B2B organisations.
Some statistics about gated content
Companies around the world have been experimenting with gated content and have experienced great results:
- Photography marketing services website Photowebo used gated content to generate leads and conversions. Within a few months, the company had increased conversion rates by 3806%.
- Website design company Unbounce experienced up to 45% increase in contact and conversion, after implementing gated content.
- Digital marketing solutions provider Whole Whale had a 100% newsletter subscription success rate when they began using gated content on their websites.
Numbers like these are quantitative proof that gated content work. If businesses wish to improve their lead generation activities, then it’s important to include gated content in their campaigns.
How to create quality gated content?
Creating top-quality gated content is super easy. Here’s what you need to do:
- Select a topic your readers will be enthralled with
Gated content becomes worth-the-read only because readers expect it to be about a topic they’re dying to know about. Trending topics and topics replete with statistics work well as gated content.
If you or your client have conducted an experiment and are posting the results as a blog, then gating it would increase the legitimacy, authority and appeal of the content.
- Follow a sturdy content format
As a rule, gated content should encourage readers to do three things:
- Become aware of the topic
- Consider the importance of the topic in their lives
- Decide the helpfulness of your product/service with respect to the topic
This is why you need to structure your gated content to inform readers about a topic, address important problems and questions and finally, solve these problems by positioning your product/service as the solution.
Here is an example which illustrates how the gated content is structured and what readers can expect out of the report.
- Include a mix of content
While the traditional long-form blog post works well as gated content, the best way to add value to your readers’ experience is to include content forms which your readers do not anticipate. For example, include case studies, slide share presentations, original artwork and links to webinars and eBooks in the content.
When your readers see the value addition they receive from your gated content, they will be more than willing to subscribe to newsletters and pay to read your content.
- Design a relevant and easy-to-fill subscription form
The subscription form you use to gate your content is the most important element of your content. This is the primary tool that you will be using to find leads and drive conversions.
The design of the subscription form depends on your content strategy. If, for example, your blog posts and newsletters are the main arsenals in your content marketing campaign, asking for readers’ email ID is sufficient. However, if you want to drive people towards your website and generate more product views, then a comprehensive form is required.
Research shows that more than 80% of all B2B content that is accessed online comes from gated content. To leverage this, you need to ask visitors for information like name, job profile, the organisation working for, email address and telephone number. It will be the best way to find the primary decision makers in B2B organisations.
Take a look at this great example of how B2B organisations can seek lead information from their website visitors using gated content forms.
- Implement relevant plugins
Content management systems like WordPress offer a host of gated content plugins for users. Using these plugins can help you create superior-quality gated content. Some of the best plugins you can use are:
- Membership & Content Restriction
Types of gated content readers are willing to pay for
Some content forms that work best as gated content are:
Expert interview podcasts
Slides and presentations
8 super-easy ways to promote gated content
- Give readers top-quality ungated content
Filling in forms and making payments are tasks that require a lot of thought and effort on the part of readers. The only reason someone will pay for your content is if they are aware how valuable it really is.
Establishing the authority of your content is essential to promoting gated content. This is where ungated content works wonders. Curate/create quality content you know will be a hit with readers and make it available for free. When you see high engagement for the content, make the next one a gated one.
Southern Tide Media does a great job at providing high-quality content for free.
In the next point, you’ll see how Southern Tide Media turns their ungated content into gated content.
- Include downloadable PDFs and templates
Downloadable templates and PDFs are a great way to introduce your gated content to first-time readers. Southern Tide Media knows this. That’s why they reserve some of their best content as gated content.
When readers download free versions of your content, they get to see the quality of your content and data. Additionally, downloadable PDFs and templates serve as constant reminders of your brand, once downloaded into the prospect’s system. They may entice prospects to take a look at your brand at a later date.
- Use a small intro-video or webinar
Research shows that 40% of all webinar attendees become high-potential leads and at least 3% make a purchase after watching the webinar. Using an intro-webinar in the form of ungated content can help increase audience interest in its gated, wordy version.
Most companies follow what software provider TIS has done here to promote their gated content and webinar simultaneously.
- Provide a checklist of contents
A checklist can act as a small glimpse into the exhaustive pool of information that the gated content contains. When readers see a checklist or a content slide before the gated content, they are enticed into filling forms or making payment, just to be privy to the powerful, conversion-assuring information that the gated content promises to offer.
No one uses gated checklists better than digital marketing company Wishpond.
- Promote through authorship
A lot of times, gated content sells due to authorship. Let’s say you have an article written by social media influencer-cum-blogger Tim Ferriss or management guru Tai Lopez on your website. An article written by them adds authority to the content and acknowledges the superior-quality of the content.
Ion Interactive discovered the benefits of gated content when they started gating all of their articles by social media influencers and industry experts.
- Use a powerful stand-alone description
Sometimes, you don’t need a star author to sell your gated content. At times, using just a single interesting and engaging tidbit of information from the content will be enough to entice people to try your gated content.
In her blog, writer Belle B. Cooper gives a great example of how a powerful description can elevate the quality of gated content and entice readers towards signing-up for the same.
- Create compelling CTAs
Apart from your content’s headlines, the CTA is one element that most website visitors often read. Studies show that CTAs increase CTRs by 371% and improve conversion rates by 167%. An effective CTA can increase the number of people who view your gated content. Make the CTA to your gated content engaging and illuminating.
Social media marketing company Razor Social gets straight to the point by using an engaging CTA to promote their content.
- Implement an AdWords campaign
Google Adwords campaigns work wonders in content marketing. To promote your gated content, you can start by including rock-solid keywords. Research shows that 50% of all searches online include 4 words or longer. Instead of using single-term keywords, start using long-tailed keywords instead.
Blogger Anthony O’Donoghue shares an example of how a descriptive gated content intro, replete with keywords can help companies rank high in search results.
You should also design an engaging landing page and SEO-optimise it to rank high organically on search engines. You can do this by giving readers valuable ungated content like PDFs and whitepapers either for download or social sharing.
This WordPress landing page uses the right SEO and action words to encourage visitors from taking further action.
The more you provide quality content and the less you use PPC campaigns, the better will be the results obtained by your AdWords campaign.
Benefits of including gated content in your marketing plan
- Helps you segment your market and target specific types of customers
- Is a great tool to capture verified and interested leads, prone to conversion
- Gives your brand an air of exclusivity and makes it a niche
- Helps you showcase your thought leadership in an obvious ways
- Gives marketers a lot of scopes to improve their link profiles and make their website SEO-friendly
- Helps create highly-targeted content marketing campaigns due to market hyper-segmentation