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  • Writer's pictureMike Goldberg

Gated Versus Ungated Content: The Great B2B Debate

Should we be locking up valuable B2B content?
Should we be locking up valuable B2B content?

There are two sides to the gated content debate, and both are right. And wrong.

If you’re in charge of demand generation, it’s a no-brainer to gate content. You want that sweet, sweet customer data that comes from gating a piece of content behind a landing page form.

If you’re the author of the content, you simply want people to read and share what you spent so much time carefully creating. You see a landing page form as a kiss of death, one that can send a perspective reader scurrying off the page faster than most pop-ups.

Unfortunately, there is no all-encompassing yes or no to the question, “Should we gate or un-gate our B2B content?” And, it’s a question that is always being asked. Determining whether or not to gate content must be made on a case-by-case basis, as what works in one instance may not apply to another based on the campaign, business goal or the content itself.

As the writer of most of the content we share on our site, I just want it to be read and consumed. But the marketer in me certainly understands the need to capture the information of someone expressing interest in something we produce. It opens the door to engaging with them in the future with even more content. But, only if that first piece was well worth their time.

It’s important to understand what happens after someone download a piece of gated content. Do they simply get a canned ‘Thank You’ page and are never thought of again? Be sure to have a strategic follow-up strategy in place – and not with product/solution content. Be sure to offer more relevant, top-funnel content based on what they downloaded and start building an engaged audience. Okay, you can start to introduce some mid-funnel content here as well, but don’t come out of the gate selling!

That said, there are some other things to consider when thinking about gating your own B2B content.

Questions that could determine gating content or not include:

·     What type of content asset is it?

·     Where is it being promoted/found (paid media, organically via search, etc.)?

·     What stage in the sales funnel is the content aligned to?

·     What is the goal of the content (drive leads, brand awareness, boost SEO, etc.)? 

Advantages and Disadvantages

Advantages of Gated Content:

·     Captures prospect information for future engagement

·     Builds pool of leads for sales to follow up with

·     Represents audience of highly engaged prospects willing to share info

·     Positions content as exclusive/valuable

Disadvantages of Gated Content:

·     Potentially limits reach of audience

·     Gated content behind a wall and in PDF form is not indexed by Google

·     Risk disappointing audience by gating content they feel was not worth their time to share their info in order to read (loss of trust, credibility)

·     Harder for content to go viral/be shared

To Gate or Not to Gate, these are the Assets

Never Gate:

·     Blog Posts and Articles

·     Infographics

·     Checklists and Tips

·     Short-Form Videos

·     Customer Stories

·     Video Teasers

·     Slideshares

·     Content shared in an email (you already have a prospect’s/customer’s basic info!)

Potentially Gate:

·     eBooks

·     Research Reports

·     Whitepapers

·     Webinars

·     Long-form Videos

·     Training Videos

Of course, this is just my opinion for gating your B2B content. There is no magic answer. At the end of the day, whatever you decide, it’s important to do what’s best for your audience first and foremost.

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1 Comment

Mar 25, 2019

Excellent points, Mike, especially that the follow-up strategy should not be product-/solution-focused right out of the gate.

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