No one seems to know who invented the idea of “gated premium content.” That term describes forcing internet visitors to complete a form with their contact information before they can read the content. Many experts have suggested this approach as a way to get more and better leads. However, today we know that gated content is becoming a thing of the past.
Content Today is Almost Overwhelming
When Bill Gates said “Content is King” in 1996, he probably didn’t realize how often that saying would be repeated. But it’s still true today and is represented by the success of content marketing efforts by companies of every size and in every industry.
According to Semrush, 90% of respondents reported that they use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy. Evidently, you and many of your competitors are producing volumes of content on a regular basis, which means that finding information isn’t that much of a challenge for your audience. As content marketing accelerates, the audience becomes more inundated with information.
In the same Semrush study, only 17% of the respondents thought gated content was the format that performed best. Why is this happening? To a large extent, it’s because the amount of content is increasing, and the audience is changing.
Traditionally, businesses gated content such as white papers, e-books, reports, and on-demand webinars and other videos. Like many others, you may be finding that your audience isn’t signing up for gated content as often as they did in the past. Or, they may be using fake information or temporary email addresses when they complete the form. There are a variety of websites that offer temporary email addresses just for the purpose of filling in forms. The addresses self-destruct after a preset amount of time.
The fact is that your audience is getting tired of filling out forms for information they believe they can acquire elsewhere. They don’t want to become involved in your lead nurturing email campaigns or talk to you on the telephone.
Many people are suspicious of offers that require them to provide contact information. The visitor doesn’t know if the information they’ll get is going to answer all their questions, and they often think that the company making the offer is only doing so to fill their inbox with useless email offers.
The Benefit of Non-Gated Content
The purpose of most content is to provide valuable information to your audience that will help develop a trusting relationship that you can build on. Non-gated content gives you that opportunity. While it’s true that you can’t add everyone who reads your non-gated content to your database, you also don’t have to deal with following up on the fake information that many people use when completing a form.
Besides helping to build relationships with your audience, non-gated content has SEO advantages. Search engines can read non-gated information and it can contribute to your search engine rankings. Non-gated information will also have a much broader reach because your audience can find it during an internet search. Gated content isn’t visible to search engines, so you’re missing out on your audience finding some of your best work.
Should All Your Content Be Non-Gated?
Non-gated content will attract more traffic to your website, and a percentage of those visitors will be in your target audience. There may be pieces of content that you produce where using a gated approach is the most effective to embrace that target audience. Those situations meet the following types of criteria.
- The content is for buyers who are close to the point of making a decision in their buyer journey
- The content is proprietary to your company
If you have a tool or template that will help your audience conquer a challenge and you’re willing to give it away, it should be gated. If you’ve spent thousands of dollars doing research, your report of the results could easily be gated. When people are eager to give you their contact information to receive a piece of exceptional content, using a gate makes sense.
Refine Your Content Strategy with Synchronicity
There is still great value in creating a variety of content pieces to educate your audience. We can create a strategy that utilizes the right mix of content that provides your target market the information they need to engage with your company. Let’s get started.