“Should I gate my content?” Many content marketers wrestle with this question. It’s the question they ask when offering any content on their website, from an eBook or white paper to a video or webinar.
The benefits of gating content are clear — you gain valuable contact information you can use to improve your B2B content marketing strategy. But non-gated content has its advantages as well. Because it’s open access, more people view and share your content. So, how do you decide between the two?
It doesn’t have to be a case of either/or. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. And many B2B marketers use a combination of these tactics to reach a larger audience.
Keep reading to learn about the difference between gated and non-gated content and how to make the right choice for your B2B content marketing.
What is gated content?
Gated content is online content that requires users to fill out a form before they can access it. Examples of gated content include white papers, guides, checklists, webinars, videos and eBooks. The main purpose of gated content is to capture a lead’s information so that you can continue to send them content and nurture them throughout the buying cycle. Gating content is a great way to generate more qualified leads, but it can come at a cost to engagement.
Because gated content requires filling out a form, it can turn away potential visitors who don’t want to provide their contact information. It also greatly diminishes the SEO value of your content. If your content is sitting behind a form, it won’t receive as many social shares or inbound links — two elements that influence your SEO rankings.
On the other hand, form submissions can be a great indicator of a lead’s level of interest and the value of your content offer. If a contact fills out a form for a white paper, webinar or demo, it shows they are interested and helps you discover where they are in the buying process. You can also use this data to segment your contacts for better email marketing and B2B content marketing.
- Gain valuable contact information
- Qualify leads
- Easier to segment leads
- Reaches a smaller audience
- Reduces SEO benefit
What is non-gated content?
Non-gated content is exactly what it sounds like — content that is freely given without asking for something in return. Examples include blogs/articles, curated content, press releases, podcasts, testimonials, lists and infographics. Non-gated content removes roadblocks to valuable information and gets your content in front of more people. Research shows that un-gated content receives an estimated ten times more views than gated content. And the more eyes on your content, the more people that will share your content.
However, it can be difficult to convert these viewers into leads. More people are consuming your content. But these people may never give you the information you need to send a follow-up email or connect with them. You can gather analytical information from these visitors, but it won’t be as valuable as the information collected through a form.
- Increase brand awareness
- Reach a larger audience
- Improved SEO (more traffic and inbound links)
- Can’t capture valuable lead information
- Lose qualified leads
Which is right for you?
Ok, now that we’ve discussed gated vs. non-gated content, one question still remains: Should you gate your content?
Ultimately, it depends on your B2B content marketing goals. What is more important to your business — visibility or detailed leads? If you want to improve overall brand awareness and reach a larger audience, go with open access content. If you want to capture more leads, gate your content behind a form.
It’s all about striking a balance between gated and non-gated content and creating a B2B content marketing strategy that fits your specific needs. What works for one company may not work for another.
In addition to marketing goals, you should consider the value of your content. Is your content worth handing over information for? There are many elements to consider when answering this question: design, content quality, format, etc. When in doubt, don’t gate the content.
So the next time you get excited about a piece of content, stop and think about what you want to achieve with that white paper, eBook or video and its perceived value. If you need help deciding, we can provide expert tips and create a B2B content marketing strategy that meets your needs.
Courtney Feairheller is a Digital Content Specialist at Schubert b2b. She graduated from Lafayette College with a B.A. in English. When she's not working, you can find her re-reading Harry Potter or taking way too many photos of her 4 cats and 3 dogs.