Gated content: getting the best of both worlds

“Gated” content is anything which gets hidden from the website visitor until they do something in return, usually providing their contact details. I’ve written before that I’m not a fan, in general, because you’re also hiding the content from the one thing which will publicise your content to everyone: the search engines. But there might be a good reason to protect the content from the world, even if it’s only because a sales director or MD insists on it (“why should we just give all that information to the competition for free?”). If that’s the case, how do you reconcile rationing the information with setting it free?

The answer is to publish a substantial part of the content on a free-to-read web page, but hold enough back that interested parties will complete their details to get hold of the rest. If the content which goes on the page is substantial enough, you might find you get almost as much credit within the search engines as you would for publishing the whole thing. I’ve seen companies publish the first half of a white paper, including the summary, for example. Also, make the “gated” version much more pleasant to print out and read (i.e. a nicely formatted PDF), and you should have as compelling an offering as you can. Indeed, by whetting the reader’s appetite with so much content, you might even find that your conversion rate increases.

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