Gated Content versus Non-Gated Content: Which is Best For Your Marketing Strategy?

After creating a piece of content, one of the most commonly asked questions that marketers ask themselves is whether or not the content should be gated. Here's when to consider gated content.

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As a marketer, should you offer gated content? 

After creating a piece of content, you need to think about your content marketing strategy and decide how you will distribute your content and who will be able to access your content, and how.

Should the content be freely available to every site visitor? Or should there be a price to pay for accessing the content? 

The answers to these questions aren’t going to be the same for everyone.

Let’s take a look at which option could be best for your marketing strategy.

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    What is Gated Content?

    Gated content is content that can only be accessed after some action is performed by the reader. 

    In the vast majority, that action has to do with the reader providing some portion of their contact details. 

    In some cases, the action includes answering some questions. 

    In all cases, the marketer’s purpose in having gated content is to garner information about the reader that isn’t available otherwise. 

    Here are two classic examples of gated content:

    1. HubSpot
    1. Neil Patel

    What Kinds of Content Might be Gated?

    There are no hard and fast rules about what kinds of content might be gated. 

    It’s entirely up to you, the marketer. 

    Some of the typical content types that are gated include but are not limited to:

    • White papers
    • Webinars
    • E-books
    • Videos
    • Product demos
    • Legally restricted content

    In all these cases, gated content is content that has some sort of compelling attraction for the reader. 

    The content is usually something that isn’t offered elsewhere. 

    Note that legally restricted content usually only requires a yes or no answer to, “Are you over 21?”

    This particular kind of gated content is often used on gambling sites or sites that sell restricted products, such as cannabis.

    What is Ungated Content?

    Ungated content is content that’s readily available to anyone who visits your website. 

    For instance, if you have a cooking website, you may have recipes on the website that go along with your images of prepared dishes.

    Most websites offer ungated content. 

    Some, like many news sites, offer a mix of gated and ungated content. 

    In cases like this, the gated content is often marked with an icon of a padlock, so readers can know ahead of time which content is gated and which is not.

    In this example, all of the content is freely available, with no gates to entry such as this:

    In the example below, some of the content is gated and other content isn’t:

    On the other hand, all of Yahoo’s content is ungated:

    Why Would Marketers Use Gated Content?

    Content gates are a valuable tool for marketers. 

    Used with discretion, they can be a powerful tool. This is because marketers are trying to market to potential customers. 

    But they can’t do that as well—or as directly—without the readers’ contact information.

    The main reason why marketers use gated content is for lead generation or to grow their marketing list. 

    If you are a marketer and you need sales leads or you need to grow your marketing list, then having gated content might be a good marketing strategy for you.

    Benefits of Ungated Content in Your Marketing Strategy

    There are many good reasons why most sites offer ungated content available for their readers.

    Ungated content is intended to boost SEO and increase brand recognition, and it can do just that, very effectively. 

    Ungated content can organically attract readers with the use of keywords and other marketing strategies.

    Since it’s ungated, those readers are likely to return again and again, over long periods of time. 

    A perfect example of this is the Yahoo homepage. On Yahoo, site visitors have an abundance of ungated content to choose from, on a range of topics that includes entertainment, news, fashion, and more.

    Yahoo is a great example of a marketing strategy that works because its readers return daily or even multiple times per day. 

    And Yahoo’s revenue comes, not from readers, but from the websites that they link to on their site, which is also mostly ungated content.

    When Should Content be Gated?

    Depending upon your marketing strategy, you’ll need to decide internally when content should be gated. 

    But basically, gated content can be beneficial when you have certain goals that need to be met. 

    They include lead generation:

    • Increased sales
    • More precise analytics
    • More insights into site visitors
    • Email list segmentation

    In short, if you need the information that you can glean from your site visitors with gated content, then it’s likely a good idea to have at least some gated content on your site for marketing purposes such as marketing qualified leads

    Remember, though, just because some of your content is gated, that doesn’t mean that all of your content should be gated.

    Only in instances where the site information is legally restricted should you put all of your content behind a gate.

    Choosing Which Content to be Gated

    So how does a marketer choose what kind of content should be gated? 

    In essence, if your content is gated, it needs to satisfy these criteria:

    • It needs to be excellent content
    • It needs to be relevant to your readers’ needs or wants
    • It needs to be inaccessible elsewhere

    Run through this list and answer honestly with every piece of content that you’re considering putting behind a gate. 

    If it doesn’t satisfy all three criteria, then it’s probably not going to be worth it for your readers to give their contact information to access.

    If your content does satisfy all three of these criteria, then having it gated could be the marketing move that tips you over the hurdle. 

    Just be aware that you aren’t going to see instant results.

    A steady stream of fresh, ungated content is still going to be needed to keep traffic flowing to your site and keep visitors coming back for more.

    Where to Access Quality Gated Content

    When you need to create quality white papers, e-books, reports, and webinar scripts, go to the source for excellent writers, WriterAccess. 

    At WriterAccess, you’ll find thousands of quality writers who know how to create excellent gated content that your site visitors will be clamoring for. To get started, take advantage of a free trial at WriterAccess today!


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