Our conclusion: there’s no wrong answer. There are potential challenges and opportunities with either path. This post gives you the highlights of our conversation – and will help you figure out the right approach for your organization.
A few things to consider as you get started.
|Open access content|
Informed by Moz pioneer Rand Fishkin
Whether or not you gate your content depends on many factors, including your business, audience and strategy. The goal is to get consumers through the sales funnel (or for non-profits, the giving funnel) by building up trust, engagement and loyalty. Some customers want to be convinced and will consider your content valuable enough to offer their information in return. Other customers will bolt if you make the process difficult.
And in an era of the cloud and social media, if you don’t give prospects relevant information to help them engage or buy, they’ll just get it elsewhere – probably from a competitor or a non-expert within their circle of influence. This is especially true of millennials.
We think that asking smart questions helps inform your gating approach. The more “yes” answers you give, the more appropriate gated content may be.
The Signal team liked the idea of an organization’s having a balance of gated and ungated content – known as the content pillar approach, defined as:
“A substantive and informative piece of content on a specific topic or theme which can be broken into many derivative sections, pieces, and materials. Examples of content pillars include eBooks, reports, and guides.”
It’s all about supporting your meaty central “pillar” of gated content (such as a white paper) with related, lighter ungated pieces (blog posts, videos). Customers enter the funnel through the ungated pieces, which drive traffic to the pillar content and to the gate that helps up the chances of converting traffic into leads.
Ungated content to support gated premium content could include:
The smart approach is to assess the needs of your audience and target content specifically to that audience – then offer it to them in the format they need it. Gate when it makes sense, but lean towards open access to cast the widest net possible.