There are two sides of the debate when it comes to sharing content: To gate or not to gate. The goal of your gating strategy is to obtain qualified leads. I would also argue it is to create the best content experience for an intended audience. Whether we do that with a gating strategy or via other means (i.e. retargeting, live chat, thought leadership), it’s interesting to watch this conversation unfold. Here’s how I see it:
THE GATERS: A gating strategy allows for an explicit thumbs up from your audience, acknowledging that you have something of value. (yay!) With technology like lead scoring, progressive profiling and personalization, the value of someone filling out a form is a fantastic insight you are on the right track with your marketing message and overall strategy. (double yay!)
The trick here is to not go gate happy. It is OK to give away your content. You need to trust the content you provide is worthy of your reader’s time. The more consistently you deliver a high level of perceived value within your content, the more trust you will build with your readers and therefore the more information they will share with you and about you with others.
THE NO GATERS: While it may be perceived as lost opportunity, a non-gate strategy makes you work harder at having a more simplified, consistent message in the market. The less confusion around who you are, what you stand for, what you deliver, and how you measure it all, the harder your content will work for you. (And the easier it is to create valuable content, but that’s another story.) This takes a unified, aligned front. And it takes a simplified message. And those things are hard.
The rub here is that technology is not foolproof. Relying on inferred data, AI and cookies does not provide accurate data 100% of the time. (Not yet anyway.) A no gate strategy will rely heavily on attention to keeping data clean and having other “hooks” to create two-way engagement. And this will only take you so far. Having a strong brand, sharing your expertise and discovering the right distribution channels for scaling your content are also musts for those who want to ditch the gate.
What say you? Want to continue the conversation? Drop a comment. I know we really only scratched the surface here.
For further reading:
- Forbes highlights these 5 content marketing trends for 2019. Bottom line: Content is a secret weapon. It is the new marketing and the need to figure out who and how to deliver content is essential.
- Why you should kill gated content once and for all via Search Engine Journal. This article is a deeper overview on the history of gating and why it’s losing its mojo. Bonus: Great alternatives included.
- What should you know about observed vs inferred data? This article from Exchange Wire will help you know the right questions to ask when you’re looking to enhance and enrich your data.