B2B Marketing Strategy

How To Avoid Serving Gated Content To Your New Audiences

Brett McGrath

July 13, 2021

How To Avoid Serving Gated Content To Your New Audiences

In a new relationship, trust isn’t immediate. You have to prove yourself trustworthy. 

Brands get this, which is why B2B brands do content marketing. 

To show they’re trustworthy, brands demonstrate their expertise on a topic, via content, so that new audiences know they’re legit.

But somewhere along the way, many brands’ content marketing programs got warped into a process that doesn’t align with the original goal: building trust.

Many B2B brands are sending NEW audiences to landing pages with gated content.

Gated content, secured by a form that captures email addresses & more, has a place, but it’s NOT meant for NEW audiences.

Gated Content for NEW Audiences Creates a Paradox

Asking for a new site visitor’s data before they can get a piece of content is a very paradoxical strategy.

As I said above, the goal of content marketing is to create and build trust. 

Content marketing is how brands show that they know what they’re talking about. That they’re industry leaders. That they can be TRUSTED. 

Giving up your contact data - specifically your email - shows that you TRUST a brand.

So the content marketing path that starts with getting introduced to a brand and leads to trusting that brand looks something like this:

  1. Person sees a brand’s content (once, twice, many times…)
  2. Person eventually trusts that brand
  3. THEN, that person feels comfortable giving that brand their contact info, whether that be for a regular newsletter full of the best/exclusive content or because they’re interested in getting a demo/trial/contract/etc

However, when a brand serves gated content to a new audience, they’re creating a paradox:

They want to build trust with a piece of content, but the content consumer won’t fill out the long form to get the content UNTIL they trust the brand.

 If the brand and the new site visitor had a conversation, I imagine it’d go something like this.

This happens because our marketing teams get too focused on lead volume and nothing else. We start sending ALL audiences to gated content, to get the marketing qualified lead (MQL) count up. We’re impatient and don’t want to wait for a new audience member to go through the trust-building phase before we get their email. Or, it’s not that we’re impatient, but maybe leadership needs to measure the productivity of content marketing and it’s hard to prove ungated content is working as effectively as gated content.

How do we eliminate this paradox?

We address the core of what each party in this exchange wants:

  1. New audiences need to engage with a brand, see what they know, read/watch/listen to their stuff, BEFORE they can decide if they trust them. That’s why they abandon most long content forms. They’re not ready to talk to your team. 
  2. Brands’ leadership teams want to know that they’re getting a return on the investment they put into content marketing - both human and financial resources. 

How do we address both measurement for brands and trust for consumers?

First, let content consumers CHOOSE when they have reached the point where they TRUST a brand and are open to outreach.

This is something we’re building into The Juice. We give our members the option to say “just browsing” when they want to read, watch, or listen to a piece of content on The Juice. This option gives content consumers the control over the relationship and the ability to let a brand know when they trust the brand enough to give their contact information.

Second, help companies see that the right kinds of professionals at the right kinds of companies are consuming their content, while those consumers move through the trust phase and are relatively “untracked”.

This is also what we’re hoping to accomplish with The Juice. Brands that claim their company pages, similar to G2, can see aggregated metrics on their content, for free! 

Trust is a journey, not immediate. There’s a lot that goes on between the initial point of Introduction and the point of Trust, just like in normal relationships. We’re aiming to make that trust-building phase smoother for both content consumers and brands.

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