5 Data-Backed Steps to Better Content Marketing Results

No matter how long you’ve been doing content marketing, you’ve got more to learn. We all do. And not just because there’s always room for growth, but also because the industry keeps changing.

Every year brings new trends, technologies, and tips. It’s hard to keep up.

But every year also brings us the original research from MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute that takes the industry’s pulse and packages it for us in a collection of useful insights.

While the full report is 44 pages, there are five main takeaways I think every business doing content marketing can benefit from.

  1. Fully commit.

Content marketing isn’t something you can dip your toe in and hope for the best. It requires a significant investment in time, money, and energy. And the research shows that commitment is key to content marketing success.

Of the businesses that said their content marketing was successful 93% say their company is at least very committed to content marketing, and 92% say there’s buy-in at the highest level of the company.

content marketing commitment

A good content marketing strategy includes devoting time to:

  • Understanding your audience
  • Developing a strong strategy
  • Creating high-quality content
  • Actively promoting your content
  • Tracking how it performs

It also involves a financial investment in talent and technology. All of it adds up. If your company’s lukewarm about the idea of doing all that and only does a little, they’re unlikely to see much of a result.

But if you do fully commit, you’ll gain more customers and build better relationships with them. 76% of successful content marketers say it helps them nurture leads. 73% say content marketing inspires more customer loyalty, and a full 96% say their audiences view them as a trusted resource.

  1. Document your content strategy.

This insight isn’t new to this year’s research. Every year, the research finds that a content strategy is one of the main keys to content marketing success. It helps you organize your efforts and make sure you’re putting your time and budget toward the content marketing tasks most likely to pay off.

content marketing data

This year’s study found a couple of notable additional benefits. 81% of respondents said that having a documented strategy aligned their team around common goals. And 81% said it makes it easy to decide the types of content to develop.

documented content strategy

With so many different channels, tactics, and content formats to consider, sitting down with your team to develop clear content strategy can help you all get on the same page and make sure your efforts all support each other. And writing it all down gives you something to refer back to throughout the year to stay on track.

  1. Talk to your customers.

Content marketers devote a lot of time and energy to trying to get inside the heads of our target audience. The only way to create content that will connect with the people we want to reach is to make sure we’re basing it on what they care about. That’s content marketing 101.

Which is why it’s a little surprising that only 42% of content marketers are taking time to actually talk to customers to understand their needs. That’s a huge missed opportunity!

content marketing data

This was also one of Margaret Magnarelli’s top tips in her talk at Content Marketing World on being an empathetic communicator. Before you can empathize with your audience, you have to listen to what they have to say.  And really listen. Don’t interrupt or try to steer the conversation. Sit with them and listen to their complaints, their pain points, their experiences, and the way they say it all.

Instead (or in addition to) investing in social listening or audience research tools, invite a few of your customers in for a conversation and spend time listening.

Then revisit your content strategy and look for ways to incorporate what you learned. Rework your personas based on the new information. And get your insights in front of everyone on your team so they can keep the audience’s actual concerns top of mind when creating content moving forward.

  1. Start using paid distribution for your content.

You may already use paid advertising channels to promote your products or services, but fewer businesses think to spend money promoting their content in the same way.

Every year, as more businesses get in the content marketing game, it gets harder to get your audience to notice your content to begin with, much less engage with it. Creating great content doesn’t accomplish much unless people actually see it.

For that, paid distribution methods have become an important part of the content marketing equation. 71% of the most successful content marketers use paid distribution methods to get their content to new audiences.

content marketing paid distribution

Paid distribution includes:

If you’re disappointed with how few people are finding the content you work so hard on, add paid distribution to your content marketing budget.

  1. Have a customer content marketing plan.

Marketers tend to think of their job as bringing in and nurturing leads. Once a lead converts into a customer, they can fall off our radar. But content marketing is a rich opportunity for strengthening the relationship you have with your current customers—which can really pay off. Increasing customer retention rates can increase profits by anywhere from 25-95%.

High-performing content marketers focus on their customers as well as leads. 73% say they use their content marketing to successfully build loyalty with their customers. But as of now, that’s only true of the best content marketing programs. Out of the full number of marketers surveyed, the total is only 54%.

That means for many people reading this, customer content marketing is currently a missed opportunity. If you develop a content marketing plan now that helps you nurture your relationships with customers, you can start to see some of the improved results that top content marketers already enjoy.

 

The data will only help you if you put it to use. Let the insights from the research guide you toward a better (documented) strategy that enables you to bridge the gap between your business and the content marketers at the top.

 

 

5 Actionable Tips from Content Marketing World Speakers to Improve Your Marketing Now

austin copywriter content marketing world

Everyone walks away from Content Marketing World inspired. Many of the talks provide fascinating insights and share good ideas. But in my opinion, the real holy grail of a good conference talk is a specific, actionable step I walk out of the room knowing I can take when I get home.

This year I was lucky to sit in on a few sessions that provided such gems. Here are a few great actionable tips that are now on my to do list and you might want to put on yours as well.

  1. Write down your goals (and read them every day).

The first keynote talk of the conference came from Joe Pulizzi, the Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, and it covered a subject he’s written about before and clearly believes strongly about: writing down your goals.

He provided examples from his own life of how meaningful it is to set clear goals and remind yourself every day what they are so you hold yourself to them. He recommended the goals you write down be ambitious, tied to specific dates, and serve others in some way as well as yourself.

And he named five categories that he urged attendees to write goals for:

  • Career/wealth
  • Family
  • Spiritual
  • Mental
  • Giving

I’m still working out exactly what my goals in each category will be, but I plan to put them at the top of the to-do list document I consult each day so I have a solid reminder of where I want to be and keep working to get there.

  1. Create (and use) your mission statement.

Does your company have a content mission statement? It should. If that sounds intimidating though, don’t worry. Andy Crestodina makes it easy with a simple template:

Our company is where [audience X] finds [content Y] for [benefit Z].

content marketing mission statement

Plug in the relevant info for your company and you’ve got a line you can do a lot with. Andy recommends sharing it far and wide. Make it the tagline for your blog or even your whole website. Put it next to your email signup form. Add it to your social media profile. Tack it onto your email signature.

Your mission statement tells people why they should care about your brand’s content. It’s a good, concise way to pitch everyone that encounters your brand on why they should follow you.

  1. Create a spreadsheet of microcontent.

Lee Odden gave a talk on influencer marketing which included this useful tip. Every interview you do with an influencer is full of quotes and insights. Why just use a quote from it once and be done? Instead, he suggested organizing all the valuable nuggets you get from your interactions with influencers over time into a spreadsheet.

In the spreadsheet, fill in each influencer’s details (name, company, position, link) so it’s easier to access those when you quote them. Categorize the different quotes based on what they’re about so you can more easily identify relevant ones to use as you create new content. And even if you don’t find the right quote for the new content you’re creating, your spreadsheet can help you quickly identify a good influencer to get in touch with to provide one.

This is useful for making your influencer marketing go further, but you can employ the same tactic for other types of microcontent as well. Add all the valuable statistics you find you may want to reference again to your spreadsheet (this is something I could definitely use). Pull in good examples of the types of tactics you write about and good social media status updates you may want to embed in future content. By having all this information well organized in one place, you can make your future content creation efforts more efficient while still always adding value.

  1. Use details to immerse readers in your content. Content Marketing World - Michelle Lazette

Michelle Park Lazette’s talk on writing more like a journalist included a number of good suggestions to bring better storytelling to your content writing process. A few of them related to this idea that getting detailed and specific in how you describe what you’re talking about can bring it more to life for your readers.

She suggested paying attention to the sensory details of any situation you’re in – adding in a mention of smells, weather conditions, colors, or the looks on people’s faces makes the reader feel more like they’re there.

She also recommended, as often as possible, replacing adjectives with numbers. Saying a company has been doing business for a long time means less than saying they’ve been at it for 37 years. Getting specific adds believability to what you’re saying and makes it more real for the reader.

  1. Do a validation audit of your content.Content Marketing World - Margaret Magnerelli

Margaret Magnarelli spoke on a topic I care a lot about in life as well as content: empathy. She shared the three phases that all empathic communication, professional and personal alike, must have:

  • Listen – Before you can do anything else, you have to actually hear what your friend or customer is saying. Listen to their complaints and pain points without inserting yourself into the story or trying to jump too quickly to solving the problem.
  • Validate – This is the step people most often leave off. After you’ve heard the person out, let them know you’ve listened and understood what they’re saying by repeating back to them what they’ve said. This shows them you were paying attention and get it. It’s an important step to them feeling like the communication is successful.
  • Suggest solutions – Only after the first two steps is it time to provide suggestions for ways to solve their problem.

You may already do a good job of addressing the problem and solution in your content, but there’s a good chance you’re skipping the validation step. Margaret recommends doing a validation audit of your content.

Go back through everything you’ve written to look for pieces missing the validation step and add it in. Doing this exercise will also help you get better at recognizing where and how to include validation in future content pieces moving forward.

 

My brain is spinning with all the ideas from the conference I need to now organize and put to use. Whether you made it to Cleveland last week or not, hopefully these actionable tips can help you create a plan to get something specific and useful out of Content Marketing World this year.

How to Make the Content Writing Process Easier (And Get Better Results)

Consistently creating high-quality content is hard. Whether you’re a professional content writer or someone

easier content writing

Image via picjumbo

without a writing background trying to figure out this whole content marketing thing ­– creating content requires a lot of work, and doing it well is an ongoing struggle.

I can’t provide any shortcuts to make content writing quick and easy, while still maintaining the level of quality good content marketing requires. But I can provide a few tried and tested tips that make the writing process easier, while ensuring the end results are still well worth it.

5 Tips for Easier Content Writing

  1. Devote time to research.

As a reminder: I didn’t promise that these tips would make the work faster, just easier and better. Committing some real time to doing solid research before you start writing will help with both those things.

This is the step most likely to get lost in the shuffle when you rush your writing. You may think you can get by just getting words onto the page so it’s done. The problem is it’s much harder to write about something you don’t understand than it is to write on a topic you know well. Trying to pull information out of your brain that’s not there is difficult!

And obviously, doing your research upfront means your piece will be more accurate and include better information than if you’re essentially making guesses or making things up.

Unless you’re already an expert on the topic you’re writing about (and a lot of the time, even then), you have to make sure you do your research. Give yourself time to learn your topic well before you dive into writing.

  1. Create an outline.

When I was in school, I used to rebel against this idea. Sure, every teacher recommends it, but I knew what I was doing. Why spend time on organization when I could skip that step and just get to the writing?

Soon after I started writing professionally, I realized how silly my earlier thinking had been. No matter how good of a writer you are, creating outlines can make you better, make your work process more efficient, and make writing easier.

This is especially true when you’re writing for the web. Between SEO and the way people read online (specifically, a lot of skimming), using headings and lists to organize your writing is important.

When you create an outline in advance you:

  • Determine the post will have a structure that makes it easy to read.
  • Can create advance opportunities for optimizing and including headings and sections that aid in SEO.
  • Give yourself a head start on the post that makes the actual writing part easier.

You know the writer’s cliché of staring at a blank word document? Filling that blank document in with an outline is easier than starting with the writing itself. And once you do start writing, the document won’t be blank anymore and you’ll have your initial notes and structure to guide you as go.

  1. Find your writing time of day.

Mine is usually morning and early afternoon, but yours may be something completely different. Writing requires a lot of mental energy. It will be much harder to do well if you try to do it at a time of day when your brain doesn’t want to do that work.

Everyone has times of day when they have more energy and will be more productive. Start paying attention to how productive you are in the morning versus in the afternoon versus in the evening. Once you identify the time of day when writing’s easiest, start to plan your schedule around it. You’ll both be more productive and do better work.

  1. Block distractions (but do take planned breaks).

The internet is very distracting. Writing requires focus, but it’s hard to keep that focus when you know Facebook or Buzzfeed (or whatever your go-to time waster is) is just a click away.

Here’s the thing: your brain does need breaks. You don’t have to swear off every distracting website on the web during your working hours, and doing so might actually be to your detriment. But if you let your brain wander off course every few minutes (or worse, seconds), then you’ll have a harder time getting your writing done and the distraction will show in a more scattered and unclear end result.

So decide in advance that you’re allowed breaks and plan out when you’ll take them. You can use something like the Pomodoro Method to time them out in set intervals or you can assign yourself a certain number of words or sections before your next break is allowed.

And if you have trouble keeping your focus in between the planned breaks, you can block all the distracting websites with a tool like Focus. It’s ok to need a little outside help to control your worst impulses – certainly better than giving into them and facing a harder, slower writing process because of it.

  1. Don’t aim for perfection.

You should absolutely hold yourself to a standard of quality, but if you always aim for perfection in your writing, you’ll overthink the writing process and make things a lot harder on yourself. At some point, your writing has to be done so you can move onto the next thing. And trust me that you’re thinking a lot more about the words you choose than your readers are – most of them are skimming, remember?

Do commit to writing well. Make sure:

  • The information you include is accurate
  • Your word choices aren’t awkward
  • Your sentences make sense and read well.
  • You correct any typos or errors during the proofreading process (and don’t skip the proofreading process!)
  • And that your content is well designed to achieve its goals – whether that means educating readers, increasing brand awareness, or including CTAs to drive a specific action.

If your writing makes sense, provides valuable information, and is easy to read, then you’re probably good! Don’t drag down your process by overanalyzing every word choice to make it perfect.

At the end of the day, writing is subjective anyway and you’ll never make everyone happy. What’s most important is making sure your content writing is useful enough to help your readers and achieve its goal.

 

If you’re worried your staff is getting burned out trying to keep up with all the writing that good content marketing requires, I may be able to help. Get in touch to see if we might be a good fit.

How to Give Good Content Writing Feedback

We’ve all had the experience before – someone says words in a way that makes it clear that they think you’ll know exactlygood content writing feedback what they mean, but you’re stumped. You are just not following what they’re saying to you at all.

This is one of the quirks of communication that everyone deals with at some point. Something can be so clear and obvious in your own head that you think expressing that to the person in front of you (or on the other side of that email) is easy, but what’s clear to you is confusing and muddy to them.

Writers know the feeling of being on the other end of that email well. Most of us have had multiple experiences of hearing feedback from clients that just doesn’t tell us what we need to hear in order to understand what the client means. It’s tricky providing feedback well, but having a good relationship with any writer you hire depends on it. And giving good feedback early on in the relationship will usually help them learn what you’re looking for, so you won’t have to do as much work later on.

To help you more effectively get what you’re wanting from a content writer’s work and keep the relationship positive between you, here are some tips on how to give good content writing feedback.

Read the whole thing.

To start, you want to make sure your feedback is accurate and that means taking the time to read over the entire piece of content they’ve submitted. And really read here – don’t skim.

It’s embarrassing for you and awkward for the writer if they have to point out that you’ve asked them to add a section that actually already exists further down the page or with a heading you didn’t recognize. On top of being awkward, it wastes everyone’s time and you both have better things to do.

Get to it quickly.

I know you’re busy, but if you sit on a blog post or white paper for weeks, or worse, months before sending your feedback, that particular piece won’t be fresh in you content writer’s memory. It’s both harder and less efficient to make good updates if they barely remember the piece by that point and the research they did for it. And some freelance content writers (this one included) will even put feedback deadlines in the contract, so you may miss your chance to get updates altogether if you wait too long.

So give yourself a deadline. Commit to reading over the piece and sending your feedback within a week of receiving it, and get it on your to do list even sooner if possible.

Be specific.

While it’s so obvious to you why the wording in that third paragraph just doesn’t sound right or the overall tone of the piece doesn’t work – your content writer can’t see into your head. You have to explain what you’re seeing to them in terms that make it clear to them how to make the changes you want.

Avoid general language.

Feedback like “this section doesn’t really work” or “this just isn’t clicking” only tells someone that you don’t like what you’re looking at. It doesn’t tell them why. Sure, your writer could re-write that section to be all new wording, but if they don’t understand what you don’t like about it, there’s a good chance they’ll end up just repeating the problem you didn’t like about it the first time.

Saying instead something like “the tone in this section is too formal” or “this sentence is too long, which makes it hard to follow” actually gives us something to work with when making changes.

Make notes and changes in the text itself.

This makes it possible for you to comment directly on specific wording or sections that demonstrate the issue you’re addressing. If you think some of the wording is muddy or confusing, point out specifically where you see that happening rather than expecting the writer to be able to figure it out. If you think there are claims in the piece that need to be better backed up with sources, point out which ones.

Being able to match your feedback with the particular parts of the content piece you’re talking about will help the writer see clearly what you mean so they know both the sort of changes you’re looking for now and how to avoid making those same mistakes in the future.

Provide examples of what you’re looking for.

Particularly when it comes to issues of tone and style, it can be hard to communicate exactly what you want with descriptive terms. If you can point to other blog posts or content pieces – either on your own website or elsewhere – that have the kind of style you’re looking for (or even better, if you have a style guide), it can go a long way to help a writer figure out the right approach to take.

Be respectful.

Clarity is a big part of the good feedback equation, but respect is just as important. When you hire a professional content writer, you need to treat them with professionalism.

Negative feedback is ok, but tone matters.

That doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to provide criticisms. Anyone working in a creative field should have enough of a thick skin to take (respectful) criticism of their work. The line between constructive criticism and being insulting or mean should be clear to you. If it’s not, let someone else in your company be in charge of providing feedback and maybe consider therapy or communication classes to learn the difference, because it’s a pretty important life skill to have. I don’t mean that as shade, but as genuine advice.

Saying “this writing is awful” or “don’t you know anything?” isn’t helpful, but saying “this piece could really use some more work, could you take some time to do a little more research and find some data or case studies to back up your points?” is perfectly reasonable.

Keep things professional.

This relates to tone, but is worth saying on its own. Don’t yell at a content writer because you don’t like their work. Don’t insult their intelligence or use vulgar language to describe what you think of it. For the love of all that matters in this world, do NOT use racial, sexist, or ableist slurs in your response.

Every content writer you hire, whether they’re a freelancer or employee, is someone with a career and their own professional contacts. Know that if you’re the client or boss from hell, their other contacts will hear about it and it will come back to haunt you.

Remember: writing is subjective.

One of the really cool things about language is that there are a lot of right ways to say the same thing. Someone can have a writing style that doesn’t work for you, but is still perfectly good writing. Remember that your opinion on this subject is not the objectively correct opinion.

When you’re paying for someone to write for you, you’re allowed to have an opinion on the writing – of course you are. But don’t frame your feedback as though you know the right way to say things and your writer is clearly wrong for not choosing the wording you would have. If you do, you’ll come off as arrogant and patronizing.

Instead, approach your feedback as an exercise in helping your writer understand how to come around to your preferences for style and tone – or better yet, the preferences you believe your audience has for style and tone. After all, you may be the client, but they’re not actually writing for you.

 

A good working relationship with a freelance content writer can be extremely beneficial to your company and your content marketing program. Good feedback is an important part of being able to keep the writers you hire for the long term and get them to a place where they know how to deliver the kind of content you’re looking for. It’s worth spending a little bit of time, especially early in your relationship, to provide specific and respectful feedback to any writer you work with.

 

Should You Use Gated Content?

gated content

Image source: skitterphoto.com

For many businesses, one of the frustrating things about content marketing is feeling like you’re investing a lot of time and money, putting a lot of value out into the world – but it’s hard to connect that work back to solid leads and sales. One of the tools content marketers have to bridge that gap and turn content into a more direct lead generation tool is gated content.

But while putting content behind a form means you gain something (leads and information), you also lose something. If you’re going to use gated content, you have to think carefully about why and how.

What is Gated Content?

Gated content is any content that’s only accessible to people that provide something in exchange for viewing it. In most marketing cases, that means personal information like a name and email address or business information like your title and business size. Sometimes it can also mean content that goes behind a paywall, so you can only see it after paying for it, but that’s more common for media publications than marketing uses.

form2 form1

4 Reasons to Gate Content

Gated content gives you a way to get something back for the content you put so much work into. There are a few good reasons to consider gating your content:

  • To gain leads

When a person hands over information about themselves to download your content,  you end up with more knowledge about a potential future customer. You know what topic they’re interested in (based on what they downloaded) and how to get back in touch with them. That’s information you can do something with if they look like a promising lead.

  • To collect more information from your leads

A name and an email address can be enough to count someone as a lead, but the more you know about them the more you’re able to be targeted in your contact with them. Sometimes the form for a piece of gated content includes additional fields like business size and industry. And if someone that’s already a lead comes back to check out more of your gated content, you can ask for different information than you did the first time – you already have their email, but maybe they can tell you now the services they offer or their biggest business challenge.

  • It gives you an in to continue the relationship

Someone who views a blog post may find it valuable, but then leave the website and never return. When someone gives you contact information they’re showing engagement and giving you a way to keep the relationship going – something that can often be hard to pull off in content marketing.

  • It signals higher-value content

While content marketing is often all about providing value to your audience (for free), there’s definitely still a sense in our culture that a thing too easily gotten can’t be worth as much. For someone with that mentality, a piece of content they have to give something up for will immediately look more valuable than something publicly available to everyone. Putting content behind a form can therefore be a way of communicating that there’s something special about this piece of content, which can make it look more enticing to your audience.

5 Reasons Not to Gate Content

I’m going to come right out with a clear stance here: not all content should be gated. The benefits of leaving content publicly available on your website are too significant to gate everything.

  • Gated content creates friction.

Anytime you put a barrier between people and what you want them to see, you’re decreasing the number of people that will take that step. In some contexts, that’s ok. Having fewer relevant leads is better than lots of irrelevant ones. But a big part of marketing is creating awareness of your brand and product, and content has an important role to play in that. It won’t help people learn you exist if they can’t see any of the content you create because it’s hidden behind a form.

  • It can cause annoyance.

If someone doesn’t know enough about your brand to trust you and care about what you have to say, being hit with a form first thing asking them to hand over their information is obnoxious. Not only will they probably not provide the information you’ve asked for, but their overall experience on your website will be negative.

If you overuse gated content without taking the time to build up trust with freely accessible content, then you can expect your visitors to experience annoyance and frustration – clearly not emotions you want to cause in potential customers.

  • You lose out on SEO value.

When you put your content out of reach for prospects, you’re putting it out of reach for Google’s algorithms as well. Why would they want to rank a page that has partial information on it with a form to learn more rather than a page on the same subject that lays out all the information a searcher would need? If SEO is a priority (and it should be for most businesses doing content marketing), then most of your content should remain ungated.

This is related to SEO, but worth mentioning on its own. When a writer is looking for content to link to in a post or article that will add value to their readers, they’re less likely to choose a resource that their readers won’t find readily accessible. With some exceptions where what’s behind the gate is so uniquely valuable as to be worth it (original research being the main one), they’ll skip over your gated content and find a resource that’s not behind a form to use.

  • Your blog can be a tool to gain leads without gated content.

If your blog content is consistently useful and you promote your email list throughout the blog and website, then you can gain email signups and leads without putting your content behind a gate. Sticking your best stuff behind a form isn’t the only way to gain leads.

What’s Right For You?

Whether or not you should gate your content depends on three main things:

  • Your goals
  • Your audience
  • Whether or not you have content worth gating

If the main goals of your content marketing program are awareness and SEO, then gated content probably isn’t for you. But if it’s crucial to you to gain leads with your content and your blog isn’t doing the trick, then working up some especially high-quality resources to put behind a form could be a great idea. It all depends on your overall goals and if gating makes sense within the rest of your content strategy.

If You Use Gated Content

If you do decide to start using gated content, then it’s important to do so in a way that keeps your audience top of mind and helps you meet your goals.

Make sure your content is worth it.

First things first, if you put lackluster content behind a gate, people will resent you for it. And if you reach out to contact them after, you’re doing so at a disadvantage because they already lost their trust in you. So you have to make sure any gated content you create is top of the line.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I know this is a topic my audience cares about?
  • Is there anything in my gated content people couldn’t easily find with a simple Google search?
  • Will my audience walk away from this content having learned something they can use to make their lives or work better?

If you can’t confidently answer all three of those questions with a “yes,” this content shouldn’t go behind a form.

Don’t ask for too much.

There are definitely people who would be willing to download content that only asks for an email address, but will balk if you ask for their email, title, business size, industry, date of birth, name of their firstborn…you get the idea. The more time it takes someone to fill out the form and the more they feel like they have to give up, the harder you’re making it for them to say “yes” and complete the task to reach your content.

Think about starting small – just ask for a little information the first time a prospect encounters your gated content. If they come back for more later (a different piece of gated content, that is), you can ask for more.

Promote it like a product.

If you’re putting the time in to create content that’s of a high enough value to put behind a form, then you should commit time to getting it in front of people. Promote your gated content on social media. Plan other relevant content pieces you can use to help promote your gated content and work CTAs into them. Consider pitching relevant guest posts to other blogs that will include links to your gated content, to help get it in front of a new audience. You might even consider paid promotion if you want to make sure you get that much more out of it.

If you simply create it and sit around hoping people will notice and care, you’ll have done all that work for nothing. Help people find the content you worked so hard on.

A/B test forms and CTAs.

If you’d really like to ask for extra information in your form, but aren’t sure you can get away with it without losing leads, do some testing. Figure out different wording to put on the landing page, different fields to include on the form, and different language and designs for the CTAs you use to direct people to your gated content. It’s hard to predict what people will respond to and what wording or design elements will make a difference. You won’t know for sure what matters most unless you test it out.

Make sure you follow up with relevant messaging.

Once a person takes the step of providing their information to download your content, you have an opportunity to keep the relationship going. Don’t bombard them with email marketing, but do work up some follow-up emails that are relevant to the content they downloaded. Use those emails to see about getting them to sign up for your email list or urge them to take further action, like starting a trial or checking out relevant product pages.

Someone who goes so far as to provide you information in order to access your content is usually going to be a valuable lead, so figure out the best strategy for nurturing those leads once you have them.

 

Gated content may not be right for every brand, and no brand should make it 100% of their content strategy. But if you do decide it’s right for you, it may be a good way to bring in new, relevant leads that are likely to turn into customers. You just have to make sure you do it right.