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Contentgate: Should You Gate Your Content or Give it Away?

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One of the questions we are often asked is when content should be gated. Do you give away the house for free in hopes of boosting your SEO or do you guard your content behind a series of lead generation forms?

A common mistake is assuming that flooding the internet with blog posts is the magic answer to site traffic and lead conversions. Sounds great in theory, but not always successful in practice. Not all content should be sent into the blogosphere.

The next most common mistake is being too protective of your content. If your content is locked behind lead generation forms and buried in the depths of opt-in emails, downloads and subscriptions, you run the risk of serious customer abandonment -- you’re playing too hard-to-get.

There are arguments for both strategies - the answer is two-fold:

What is the purpose of your content?

What is it worth?

If your goal is to drive brand awareness, increase site traffic, establish thought leadership, have your content shared across social media AND your advice is of some value to your customer (i.e. you can’t find the same information on ten different sites) - Don’t gate it.

If your goal is to generate leads, capture data, keep it exclusive AND your download is of some value - Gating is the way to go.

Value is always the determining factor. If you are going to ask your consumer to provide you with their personal information, the value of your content must be worth the exchange.

If you are still wondering which side of the gate your content belongs, here is a general guideline of types of content you will generally protect vs. give away.

What not to gate – Content that builds brand awareness and thought leadership.

Blog posts

Press Releases

News Items

Infographics

What to gate – Premium content that has value.

Case Studies

Product Demos

eBooks

Whitepapers

Webinars

Your Content Gating Strategy

Determining exactly when to gate vs give-away requires a bit of marketing savvy and understanding your customer. Just keep in mind that the golden rule in digital is the same as it is in real life – treat others as you want to be treated yourself.

Think of your content strategy like the stages of a new relationship. You wouldn’t lead with “Can I have your email address?”… Would you? Make a good first impression, find out their wants, needs and desires-- then win them over with your witty banter and wealth of knowledge. This is how you establish thought leadership, gain the trust of your customers and build your brand following.

Once that trust is built, you can start asking for a little in return.

Your users are human beings, not robots. We forget that sometimes.

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