To gate or not to gate your content - that is the question
It’s a tricky one. You want their details because it’s all about getting leads. Once you’ve got their details, bam - you can reel them in on a dedicated marketing automation path. Or so goes the theory.
But the question is – will you put them off by asking them to ‘commit’ too early?
What with the silent growth of SlideShare, not to mention scribd, there is a growing ‘hippy’ mentality of free love... information.
This counter theory clearly has merits
Prospect is looking for in-depth information. Prospect finds it. AND can do so without any barriers. Provided the content is good, that prospect has a positive experience of your brand. And provided it signposts other relevant pieces, they can guide themselves to learn more about your business specialism, all the time making positive judgements along the way until they actively seek to sign up to your information.
The alternative scenario
Prospect is looking for in-depth information. Prospect finds it. She / He wants to read it but to be honest, do they want to submit their details for it? Well they may – to save time in the long run but the chances are they’ll unsubscribe before your first follow up sequence has even warmed up.
Follow the YouTube example
Then there’s the rogue one. Videos are probably more expensive to produce than any single written content asset, yet everyone happily gives their videos away for free thanks to the domination of YouTube. So why then, not other content assets?
So what’s the answer?
The truth is, in these climes, it takes a brave marketer to invest company budget in creating a great piece of content... only to give it away, no strings attached. So here is what I advise to strike that balance:
1/ Don’t put all your eggs in one content basket
Invest in content themes with multiple layers of content (think blog posts, infographic, slide deck, video snippets, white paper / e-book). And don’t forget to repurpose them – they don’t all need to be original but they do need to offer a different take. Pull out different angles but re-use the images to tell a story.
2/ Decide what your free / gated split is going to be
70 / 30 or 80 / 20 always seems to work according to Pareto I would err on the side of more freely available content, which is good for SEO, site stickiness and customer smiliness. A select few pieces of high value can then be gated.
Note: don’t hog the free content on your site. Distribute it freely in SlideShare, YouTube, Scribd etc. Google may still be the king of search but people are gravitating more and more to content channels to search direct. And that means a wider potential reach.
3/ Make sure it’s all heavily interlinked
Don’t forget the upsell. Whatever you trail freely in your social channels, don’t forget to signpost and link back to other quality assets within your main site. And vice versa [or use embeds and feeds].
4/ Consider a content hub
If you don’t already have a comprehensive resources area (and I don’t mean downloads area, listed by format – see the bacon principle for reasons why), get one now! Use it to showcase (and signpost) all your valuable content in one place [as per above you can use embeds and feeds to avoid duplication]. Think magazine front cover – with bite-size elements plus more in-depth features, round-ups, feeds and more.
Lastly, if you really don’t want to give anything away for free you might at least consider the following.
5/ Think of them as content retirement homes
Content has a limited shelf-life. Especially in the world of technology. So if you’re not prepared to surrender your latest content. Fair enough. How about you gate the new stuff and agree to publish it freely after say 6 months. That way all the channels are freshly updated. The information is no doubt still useful to some and you can at least signpost viewers to your site for the latest versions.
What’s your take on to gate or not to gate?
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Submitted by Lucinda on Fri, 01/27/2012 - 12:19