Gated Content | The Journey

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

James and Dan provide behind-the-scenes documentation of the journey to turn B2B Growth into every B2B marketers’ favorite media property. Today's discussion: When gated content can be useful and how we are using it. 

Sponsors: 

If you’re hiring, you need Indeed.

Sign up and get a $75 credit to sponsor your first job for better visibility, more applications and quicker hiring times. Stay in control with payment billing options, no long term contracts, pay for only what you need and pause spending at any time.*

Claim Your Credit 

*Sponsored Job credit offers available only for new U.S. accounts posting a job that expires one year after account creation. Upon expiration of credits, users are charged based on their Sponsored Job budget. Terms, conditions, and quality standards apply.

Conversations from the front lines of marketing. This is B two B Growth. Welcome back to the journey here on B TWOB Growth, where we're documenting our journey of turning this show into every BDB marketers favorite show and hopefully showing you how you can do the same. So, Dan, we're talking about gating content. This is a hot topic. We've talked about it before, probably gonna talk about again. You have a pretty contrarian take. I feel like it kind of seems like the sentiment of modern marketers is stop gating your content. And you disagree with that hot take. So you know this series we're talking about, you know how we're building a media property in BtoB growth, and so gating content is part of our journey we're having to wrestle with, Okay, do we gate content? Do we not get content? Talk to...

...us about the decisions you've made around what we're gonna get, what we're not going to gate for bb growth and and uh, I think this is gonna be a helpful, helpful conversation. Coming from the BBC world where I was using gated content effectively, I came into the B two B world They're like, oh, this is the game. These are what this is. Where I found out about gated content was from B two B Let's go. And then all of a sudden, everybody was like, no, gated contents the devil, you can't be doing that. And I was like, what why did it? Hub Spot like invent this game? Like what's going on? I've always you can, I've I've looked up to you guys forever. Where did the turn happen? The farther I've gotten into it, the more I've realized why B two B marketers hey gated content because the people who are gating the content one are usually spending a lot of money to get people to, you know, give them the email so they can give them what ends up becoming a really crappy report, and then they follow up not with good content. It's at best commodity content and at worst just straight up sales like they just sent straight to the sales team. And then you get don't even get...

...called by an account exact. You get called by a b DR who's just trying to qualify you and then get you to try to meet with an account exact later for something you don't even know even what they sell here alas like, wait, oh yeah, it's a horrible experience, and then you just get pounded in your email with sales message after sales message. Yeah, that's a hobby experience. So I can see why people hate gated content, but I'm here to take a stand why gated content can actually be good. And I have a little bit of a story. Like my first experience, at least my first memory with gated content was back when I was trying to become a graphic designer, like early in my career, and I ran into this blog called just Creative Design. He was writing a lot of blogs that ranked on Google. It's how I found him, and I had read a few blog posts because I kept finding his blog on Google, and I really liked his stuff. His name was Jacob Case. He's kind of retired because his blog came so successful. I think he's kind of like, you know, put that thing on autopilot now. But in the day, he was working really hard, and he was only he wasn't so far ahead of me. That is, his content wasn't like too too hard for me to put.

He was only a few steps ahead of me, like a few years ahead of me. So it was really helpful when I was reading his articles and he had a gated piece. It was this nice little designed PDF on typography and how to use them, and the only way you could get it was if you subscribe to his RSS feed. This was pre like before email took over a blogging and the only way you could subscribe to a blog was putting your or clicking the RSS icon. And then in Google Reader he had an unlock code to come to a page that was password protecting, of course, like you subscribe, and then you'd get the little code at the bottom of the RSS reader that you can only get a few were subscribed, and it's like password loyal. Kind of corny, but at the same time it actually worked. I not only liked the gated PC set me and I kept it for a long time. I reviewed it multiple time because it's really handy in my career at that point, but also I had already been reading a bunch of his blog, and now he introduced me to even how to read it consistently. So every time you updated the blog, it ended up in my reader and I would read it like a digital newspaper. I missed those days.

The email days aren't nearly as good. Google killed the RSS reader, and that's a different story for a different time. Rest in peace, RSS. But I ended up becoming a loyal reader of his because I was reading now not just every reading a post every once in a while as needed, but now regularly. I was consuming the content, and I became a huge fan of his for a while, until it is eventually my career, my objectives changed and I didn't need that anymore, and I started reading other stuff. I started reading stuff going in and you know it's changed. But that gated content was a step in the relationship, just like you have a step in the natural relationship with when you're getting on the dating scene. Eventually you need to get their number, right, or at least their names, so you can go look them up on Facebook and connect with them and stock them for a while, right. So there's just a natural step in the relationship where you need to have an exchange of information so that you can start going out more regularly. It's the same thing with marketing. I mean that analogy breaks down eventually, but it's kind of that same thing. You need to...

...have another formal step in the relationship, not just coming casually checking things out as needed. It's subscribing to your LinkedIn profile, to the YouTube channel. But I like to get it just even farther down by subscribing via email or podcast. But you want them to take that next step, and incentivizing it with a gated piece of content is one of the best ways to do it. And your point is it has to go beyond that initial gated piece. You have to actually follow up with more really high quality, non commodity content. The thing that I think, the reason I think gated content has gotten such a bad rap is and I'm not That's why I like all the conversation about, you know, stop getting all your content, stop getting all your content, because what it's done is it's released much higher quality content into the ecosystem because uh there there was just this kind of ethos and thinking that, like you had to give up your email for everything. I even notice it...

...now with like big media companies, I don't know if it's Forbes or you know, one of the biggest business insider, Like even when you they rank for like a keyword, you can only search like your you can you search for it, you see the article you type of I think New York Times did this too. You can only view like a certain number of articles before you like have to subscribe and pay twelve ninety nine a month to see their stuff. And I get it, it's a business model, Like there's harder and harder to get eyeballs and attention, so they're having to monetize in different ways. So not hitting on them for it, but the pendulum swung so hard to where like if you wanted to get anything quality, like there there was nothing quality. As we strolled our feeds, it was all like, oh, goun sign up to my webinar or sign up to this or sign up and it's that's not a good experience. That that's not what you want to experience where you're scrolling your feet looking for helpful insight. And so I just love that this movement of like the anti eight has opened opened us up...

...to saying, no, we have to just we have to put out our best insights, our best thoughts, our best ideas. We have to put them out freely into the market. And what you're essentially saying is, yes, you do, like you do need to freely put out your best ideas into the market, But there's nothing wrong with also putting stuff out that you put behind the gate and nurture it with more really good content that makes somebody want to even pay more attention to you whenever you're putting out your your organic stuff that doesn't cost an email to access. And so that's how I'm kind of translating what you're saying, and it goes back to what we always say. I mean, there's so many ways to win. Can you win by not getting your content and taking a hard stance on that. Probably can you win by gating content. A lot of brands have done that too, And I think that this doesn't make for you know, a sexy micro video headline, because there's nuance in it. It's both and it's it's doing gated content...

...well and doing undated content well. And I think that's probably, I would say, the most effective way to do it. And ultimately I actually think you should for all your gated content, it should probably be also on gated. Take your best performing blog posts and then send it to a designer to like clean up, make it more succinct, and design it up into something really awesome. It's already proven to work really well, and resonate take it another like level up that thing, and then put that behind the gate. It's like all the contents they're undated. So it's still doing its working s e O. It's still did its splash and social it's doing its thing. Get some more mileage out of it by making it a gated piece. It's not like when you it's presented as like, oh, get this here, like they're gonna think, oh, this is on gated somewhere. I'm just gonna go find it. Usually they don't know, just like because it's it's more work to do it than to just give up the email. And of course some people are gonna give you fake emails. That's cool. I probably, I don't know. Some some people like make them confirm their emails. So there's a debate on that. I'm I'm okay with either way. I...

...mean to give it to them on the welcome page or the confirmed subscription page. But I think you're right. It's all about your intent. And in this case, we're talking about building bTB growth into a media company. The goal is not to sell them on sweet fish. We will do that at a different point at some time they'll hear about us. I'm not worried about that. The goal is to build affinity. The goal is to get them to consuming content. So I'm going to gate some content in order to increase the content consumption. Now it has to be good otherwise the unsubscribed turn becomes way more important. Into a media company, like the way we're thinking about it, I want people to recontinue reading the emails I send them, so they have to be good. Right, The newsletter has to be good. The content that gate it has to be good. Otherwise we turn, and if we're thinking like a media company, each turn is bad. Right, we want to keep them reading as much as long as possible, and of course some turns gonna happen, that's okay. The way we're gonna be approaching this a BDB growth is eventually, like when we start establishing the multiple multiple categories of content. This is across the podcast on the website as well as...

...across the blog, we will come up with, you know, a gated piece or a lead magnet per category. And they're not for m q wells, they're not for s q wells, they're not for things that will be brought over into sweet fish will just be bTB growth specific and so every like, let's take the cat topic of category creation. We'll have a bunch of content and category and we already do from B to B growth, but will add blogs around it too that are ranking. And at the bottom of all those blogs will be advertising the lead magnet. That will be probably some of our best performing content on category creation that's been perfected and maybe even more assistinct to designed and as eye Candy now into a lead magnet, a greater fraction of people will now opt in and probably see more BDB growth because they'll want that piece. They'll give their email for it. We'll send them that and then we'll follow up with them probably a few times on topics related to category creation. So we the gated pieces the best piece of content, but this the second and third piece we follow up with, is our second and third best pieces of category creation. Right just because they landed on a specific thing...

...of like BDB category creation examples, maybe they land on that blogs from search, but then they see this ultimate guide as the PDF, and then they have a two like things that people don't consider when considering category creation. Following up, it's going to be highly relevant because they're thinking about it right now. We know because they came in through this blog post or this podcast episode. It just makes your content more relevant, and of course you can string them into the newsletter later after you deliver some of that automated nurture sequence, which is what we're planning on doing. I've done it before for other organizations and it works remarkably well. You'd be surprised how many what the open rates on these automated emails are because it's relevant, because it's timely, because you don't want to automate them into Kingdom. Come Like remember Digital marketer dot com. Dude, if you got on their list, you just it was just you had to unsubscribe eventually because you just went for the ride. And I've read Bryan Dyce's book The Email Marketing Machine. It's the most impressive email marketing machine I've seen it. It's just too much. So where's the line though?...

Like, So, if if folks are coming to a blog post about category creation examples, they find our lead magnet on category creation, they get two, three, four emails about our you know, second third, fourth best piece of category creation content. Do we just automatically put them then on the B two B growth newsletter? Do we ask them like, hey, do you want to join it or if you don't, if you don't want to be on the newsletter, feel free to unsubscribe now, Like, what's the best way to play that? This is what I would do, And I think I could go either way on one particular choice, and I'll I would send them two to three automated emails again that are our best content on this, like, hey, if you like this, check this out, also this, you know. So it's like two to three and that's they get those within seven a seven day period, and that's just based on the time they download the guide. Again, I'm optimizing for consumption. And then I put them into a different campaign that's delivering the newsletter. It's like, hey, if you like these, you will love this. You'll get it in Sunday. If if you don't want it, just smash unsubscribed before you...

...even get it right here, and then I want to make it easy for people to unsubscribe to the B two B growth newsletter. Probably put it at the top. I saw him Smashing Magazine, which is a design website, a big design newsletter, actually put their subscribe button at the top. They're like, you don't like this newsletter, we don't want you to get it unsubscribed right now, keeps the list clean. And guess what, your email delivery is better the people you know getting that list is way remark is just remarkably better. And if you actually honor the unsubscribed, then you should be good to go because now you have a real audience, not a fake one that you pedal to advertisers because you have a loost of fifty and only five thousand open, right, you have a real audience. So that way, Yes, you're putting people in there automatically. No, they didn't exactly opt in to get the newsletter. I mean I probably put that in the copy you get the lead magnet when you opt in for the newsletter, so that they kind of know there in their minds they might have decided to unsubscribed. If they do, then that's great. Again, It's like asking a girl for her number and she's like, I don't think so, no harm,...

...no foul, you just you just don't go on a second day, or maybe you go on the second day and you don't go on the third day. It's so cool. It's cool. Make it easy for them to unsubscribe, But I'm still gonna put them in the newsletter. I love that, all right, So we hope you enjoyed this little sneak peek behind how we're thinking about dated versus a gated content. That is it for today's episode of the Journey. Remember there are a lot of ways to win commodity content as the enemy. I want you to focus on affinity over awareness. You can find all things me too, be Growth tot bb, Growth Show dot com, and make sure we connect with Dan and myself over on Lin Dan, Dan Sanchez, James Carberry. We're out.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (1805)