In early 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay entitled Content is King. Twenty years later, and after the explosion of content megacarriers such as BuzzFeed, Facebook, YouTube, and many of our own company websites, his prediction is eerily prescient.
“Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting,” he wrote. “No company is too small to participate.”
With all the available content out there, and more on its way (including this blog post), an often-asked question is whether or not to gate that information in exchange for personal contact information such as someone’s name, email, or phone number.
Within marketing circles, it’s been a relatively big debate over the last six or seven years. However: forget all the arguments; the questions are when and how to best gate content. I believe the answers lie along the customer journey.
What does it mean to “gate content”?
But first, let’s agree on a common definition for what I mean when we say “gated” or “ungated” content: To gate means you are requiring some specific information from the viewer, usually via a form fill, in exchange for getting access to the content.
You see this all the time, including on the Act-On website. There is a white paper or ROI template or video that you – the consumer – are interested in, and when you click on “Get It Now,” or whatever the call to action may be, you are prompted to fill a form with your first and last names, your email address, and then maybe your company name, or your phone number.