High-Impact Gated Content Strategies for 2024 and Beyond

Apr 30, 2024 | Guest Author, Marketing Excellence

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By Patrick Schober, Founder & Creative Director, Poetica Marketing 

A writer at heart and a strategist by trade, I’m passionate about creating compelling written and visual content for SEO performance and social media. I started Poetica Marketing in 2018, and I’ve since helped companies and professionals all over the world enhance their online presence while increasing sales!

Years ago, the digital marketing world sounded the death knell for gated content, and then they never looked back. 

 

Big mistake. Big, big mistake. 

Gated content still holds huge lead gen opportunities for brands that genuinely care about their target audience. 

And I’m going to prove it to you—and also give you some tips for making gated content your number one driver of lead generation. 

The Secrets to Gated Content In 2024 And Beyond

As content marketers, we’re in the information business. Sure, there’s an element of entertainment for some of us (especially in B2C brands), but our talents ultimately come down to crafting engaging content seasoned with the 5 Ps of marketing. 

 

Our target audience wants information. They’re just used to that information being a Google preview snippet away. 

Everything else has to be worth their while. 

 

And here’s how to make that happen.

1. Create Content Your Audience Really Cares About 

Gated content “failed” because marketers gated everything—even things that were meant to be shared on social media, like infographics.

 

As marketing professionals, we undervalued email addresses while consumers learned they could get better answers to their questions with a simple Google search. 

SEO made gated content obsolete—or so it seemed.

 

Gated content still works really well when you create exclusive, hard-to-find-anywhere-else content developed specifically for your target audience. 

 

Here’s a quick example: I run a super niche music blog for the metal underground, and I developed a 16-page band marketing guide that covers everything from social media to album releases to advertising. 

 

Bands love it. 

Over the last few years, that little guide has helped me collect hundreds of email addresses from bands all over the world—and has also led to some cool marketing projects. 

 

But the only reason this works is because:

  1. It’s niche. 
  2. It fulfills a dire need (the metal underground is incredibly underserved). 
  3. It’s high-impact content. 
  4. It follows other gated content best practices (like inputting new subscribers through an automated email flow). 

 

If you want your lead gen strategy to work, create something that’s worth more than an email address.

 

2. Share Insights That Can’t Be Quickly Answered With A Google Search or ChatGPT Query

Like I said earlier, gated content “died” in part because a quick Google search became more valuable than most gated content pieces. 

And with the rise of ChatGPT and other AIs, we have even more competition. (By the way, check out our article on the pros and cons of GenAI in marketing.)

 

So if you want a steady stream of leads, your gated content should contain valuable, hard-to-find information that immediately benefits the reader. 

This means you might need to conduct your own research to develop heavy-hitting content that matters. 

 

As we’ll discuss in a moment, that could mean a pretty heavy lift from your team. 

But if you put in the necessary hours, you’ll publish a high-value piece of content that’s beloved by your target audience and that may even pick up additional promotion from industry insiders. 

3. Put the Work In

Years ago, I cut my teeth at an agency that would gate the equivalent of a blog post and sell it as a “lead gen” strategy.

 

It worked about as well as you’d expect. 

As marketers, we weren’t dedicating enough time to create impactful content. 

 

And that’s the real difference between good gated content and bad gated content. 

Good gated content can take weeks or even months to develop. 

 

Bad gated content is often created in a single afternoon, between a client discovery call and a trip to the kitchen for a 3:00 PM pick-me-up. 

There is, however, one important exception. 

 

If you niche down far enough, you can create content that doesn’t already have a ton of competition—and that can give your lead gen efforts a nice jump start in a short period of time. 

4. Focus On Your Copy At Every Stage

We’re getting back to our marketing basics here: Be compelling at every stage. 

After all, there are multiple stages to gated content, and a breakdown at any single stage can flatline your efforts. 

 

Place a heavy emphasis on:

  • Your promo copy
  • Your landing page
  • The copy and CTAs within your gated content
  • Your email drip campaign
  • Any other related marketing materials

 

A/B test as much as possible, and continue testing against your winners on a regular basis. Gated content is a tough business, and it’s only going to get harder in the coming years. 

Focus on winning copywriting for better results. 

5. Monitor the Right Metrics and Continually Improve

Look, I’m a big fan of gated content. But I’m not stupid. I know it’s tougher than ever. 

 

So keep an eye on the numbers. 

Data from WordStream shows:

  • The average landing page conversion rate is 2.35%. 
  • The top 25% of landing pages have a conversion rate of at least 5.31%. 
  • The top 10% of landing pages have a conversion rate of at least 11.45%.

 

With that in mind, focus on two things:

  1. Your landing page conversion rate. Aim for 3% or higher (though I’d love to see you obsess over reaching 10%). 
  2. Your landing page traffic. With a 3% conversion rate, you’ll need 33 page visitors for one lead. Are you generating enough traffic for that conversion rate to be meaningful? 

 

Of course, that’s just phase one. You still have a lot of work to do after pushing those contacts into your sales pipeline. 

But this is a good starting point. 

Be Bold For Gated Content Success

It’s 2024, and people everywhere are hesitant to give up their contact information. 

Unless you can really churn out great content they’re dying to have. 

Be bold. 

 

Dig deep into your audience’s wants and needs to create truly compelling content. 

The results aren’t just a fuller sales pipeline. 

 

It’s a streamlined sales process with better conversions on the other side. 

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