WHEN TO USE GATED VERSUS UNGATED CONTENT
Often, companies question if gated content truly works. I mean, why would anyone give their information away for a piece of content? Remember, people use the web to gather information and to find answers to their questions. By providing high-quality content, you can be that answer. So yes, content truly works when presented the right way.
Gated content is any piece of content that requires a user to provide their information to get it. There is usually a form for that person to fill out, and it is used to generate leads. However, there can be several reasons why you may be creating a piece of content other than for generating leads – to gain maximum exposure or to demonstrate yourself as a thought leader.
Content is an important part of inbound marketing, which is about creating a valuable experience for your audience. It attracts, engages and delights. By presenting gated and ungated content in a strategic way, you can demonstrate value and take your audience on a journey by further qualifying them down the conversion funnel.
SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION AND PRE-GATED CONTENT
Even if your content got thousands of engagement and views, it really doesn’t matter if it didn’t impact the bottom line, which is to generate leads. Inbound marketing isn’t about getting everyone’s attention; rather, it’s about getting the right attention.
The keywords that you are using within your blog posts or pillar pages must be strategically presented to the web. It’s important to understand the intent for why someone may search with those keywords, and your web pages should be feeding that intent for the search. Your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts need to include concepts that are based around your customers’ pain points. The keywords you use within the pages should be their questions.
You’ll want to provide your audience answers without giving too much away. Companies that only do SEO are missing out on huge opportunities to generate leads and business. Give your audience enough answers that they see you as a credible source, so they’ll want to provide you with their information for downloading that bigger answer to their pain point. People will determine whether your gated content is worthy of giving up their personal information.
RESOURCE AND E-LEARNING CENTERS ARE KEY
Content is used to attract leads and gather intel about them. It can also present you as a thought leader. Content created around thought leadership can be presented to many stages within the buyer’s journey. Your resource and e-learning centers are key for presenting yourself as a thought leader and for gathering information about your audience.
Most companies are lacking when it comes to creating and using personas effectively. Your content can help you to see what each person cares about. E-learning, in particular, is expected to be gated. Your audience knows it’s a place to gain education and training. This is a great place to identify gaps within the marketplace. Some content can spark unexpecting interest while others will come and go without much notice. When you see a piece of content increasing in popularity, elaborate on it with another piece of content.
CONTENT MAPPING AND LEAD NURTURING
Lead nurturing is crucial to bringing a user down the funnel. Research shows how 50 percent of leads are qualified but aren’t immediately ready to buy. They need you to build a relationship with them, establishing credibility.
The best lead nurturing campaign will include gated content. But before you decide what to gate, you should do content mapping. In order to create an excellent content map, you need to have a solid understanding of the modern-day funnel, which consists of many stages – awareness, consideration, etc. Your audience needs different types of content to where they are at in the funnel. Content mapping consists of buyer personas and an audit of your content assets. It’s a structured outline on the types of content a user is getting and when.
Once you’re familiar with this, you’ll be able to understand when to use gated versus ungated content. There are ways to gate content for maximum returns without hurting the conversion funnel. A strategic and integrated approach to your marketing and communications efforts is essential for meeting the demands of today’s internet searchers.