How to Use Content Gating Effectively

Gated content can help drive web leads for your business. But, understanding the right process, the right content to gate and how to properly gate can help you increase overall conversions. Outlined below are a few tips to set you on the road to success.

Who Are You Targeting

Before you answer the following questions, it’s imperative to outline who you are targeting. This will apply every time you gate a piece of content.  If you already have your target personas clearly defined, then this process should be simple for you. Just assign your piece of content to the persona that would most benefit from reading or engaging with it. If you don’t yet have your entire target personas clearly outlined, then you should most definitely get started on that exercise with your team. Here’s a handy tool from HubSpot that may help.

What’s the point of this? Well, each persona is going to react and engage with content differently. For example, a high-level executive may only prefer to read short one-page testimonials. They don’t have time to sift through an entire eBook or sign up for a webinar. However, if you’re trying to connect with new employees and provide training materials – then that one-sheet won’t necessarily be that helpful. But, a step-by-step guide or a how-to guide may prove more beneficial to the entry-level employee. By considering who you are trying to connect with, you can better cater your content to them and use language that resonates better to their position and experience.

What Content Should I Gate

As I began to explain above, the content that you can gate will vary pending on who you are targeting.  Some examples of gated content include: whitepapers, eBooks, studies/research papers, webinars, and templates.  When determining what content to gate there are a few things that you should ask yourself before:

  • Will my target audience be interested in this?
  • Is the information valuable and unique?
  • What purpose will this content serve?
  • What do I hope to gain from putting it behind a gate?
  • What is the process after they fill out the form?

You can also check out this neat flow chart to find out whether or not you should gate this content:


If you have successfully answered the above questions, then you are on the right track to having a successful campaign. When I’m preparing our gated content campaigns, the most important question I like to ask myself is “is this really valuable enough that someone would take the time to enter their information and download it?” If I can truthfully respond “yes” – then I get started.  You want to make sure that the value of the resource matches the effort that you are asking your customers or clients to make. And that leads us into the form….

What Form Should I Use

So I stated above that the effort you are asking your customers must match the value of the piece of content. What I mean by that is, if your content is high-level and pretty simple, then your form should be as well (name, email, optional telephone number). But, if you have an in-depth, research-heavy piece of content, then your form fill better match that – feel free to ask more detailed, business questions (title, business name, business needs, etc.).

In addition to considering the value of the resource, think of your entire content resource pathway. Is this the first in a series? Is it the introduction to a more complex problem or resource? Then keep the form simple. You can continue to get more information from your customers if you guide them along the content path. As you publish additional resources in the series or additional steps/guides for the complex problem – you can ask more probing questions to gather information. Think of this as an on-going relationship. If this is date #1 – then you’re going to keep the conversation fun and high-level and as you continue your relationship, the more personal you can get.

It’s definitely not a process that can be done without putting some thought into. Content gating is a simple way to drive leads, but be strategic and pointed with the questions you ask, the resource that you are offering, and the persona that you are targeting – because that will help your campaign be a success. And of course, we’re always here to help you along your journey.