11 gated content ideas for B2B lead generation
Can gated content improve your B2B lead generation efforts?
To gate or not to gate your content? That is the question. Well, perhaps it’s not the question on everyone’s lips, but if you’re a B2B marketer, then it might be. B2B marketing content comes in many guises and serves many purposes, but how do you decide whether you’re going to post your content openly for all to access and enjoy, or whether you’re going to use it as a B2B lead generation tool and ‘gate’ it? In this blog we’re going to look at the pros and cons of gated and non-gated content and share some ideas on the types of content that you can legitimately use to generate B2B leads.
What is gated content?
First let’s start with a quick introduction at what ‘gated’ content actually is. Gated content is the really good stuff. The meaty stuff. It’s the content you’ve invested time, energy and resource to create. It’s your premium, high value content. The sort of content that a prospect should or would be willing to invest in – and by that I mean, they would be willing to hand over their details (name, company, business title, email) in order to access it.
Obviously not all content meets that kind of criteria. Your average prospect isn’t going to divulge their details to read a typical blog or access an infographic. But that’s ok, because that kind of B2B content still serves a number of very useful purposes. Search engines will reward fresh and useful content by bumping you up their rankings, which in turn generates traffic to your website. If it’s good quality content, then it should also help you to build credibility and authority in your brand and your business.
Gated content is a powerful B2B lead generation tool. That’s because it helps your business build a database of credible and qualified leads. These are people who have not only put their hands up to express an interest in what you have to say, but by providing their details in order to access it, they are essentially putting their hands in their pocket and investing in it. That’s why gated content has to be your ‘premium’ content. There’s a time and a place for both premium and non-premium content. We would usually advise that most B2B content is open and in front of the gate where it can be crawled and indexed by search engines and readily accessed. However, it also depends on what your objective is, be it SEO and using your content rise the rankings or B2B lead generation. There is always a balance and trade off.
When you do decide to deploy the big guns and post some premium B2B content, then you need to make sure it’s going to achieve results. And in this case, results = leads. Remember, before you really start to push and promote your premium content, make sure you do lots of testing and conversion optimisation to make sure you are generating the maximum number of leads.
So let’s take a look at the different types of gated content that you could create. For each one, we have given it a score out of 10 for B2B lead generation effectiveness vs. the SEO benefit if you decided not to gate the content.
1. Research reports
If your business is already generating its own data or is happy to invest time and resource in conducting its own research, or commissioning research, then you can develop a market sector or industry report. This could offer valuable insight into aspects of your industry/sector that your audience would be interested in reading. You could try releasing a summary within a blog or an infographic with lots of juicy stats and then create an offer to download the full research report.
B2B Lead generation - 9/10. Prospects in your industry will value good research, which increases your lead potential. However, commissioning original research can be expensive.
SEO benefit - 10/10. Quality research will have lots of SEO friendly content along with stats and charts that other site can link to. This is great for generating backlinks.
Businesses are usually sitting on premium content that they don’t even consider promoting. Presentations are a perfect example. Quite often people within a business are invited to guest present at conferences and events, and the presentation is then forgotten. If it’s of interest to your audience, why not provide a summary deck to pique interest and then a more detailed deck that can be downloaded and shared.
B2B Lead generation - 8/10. If the content already exists and has been openly shared, it can be a very cost effective premium content source.
SEO benefit - 5/10. The content might not be in the most readable format for search engines, but you could convert it.
3. Guides and white papers
Whether you offer a product or a service, or both, you want to show that you are the voice of authority within your industry/market sector. One of the best ways to do that is to create a guide or white paper, or even better a series of guides or white papers, that provides your audience with valuable insight and information.
B2B Lead generation - 9/10. This is a proven and popular way to generate quality leads
SEO benefit - 10/10. Guides and white papers contain lots of relevant, useful content that search engines love. They also offer great backlink opportunities. If you decide to un-gate this type of content, one tip is to occasionally search for strings of your text to see if anyone out there is referencing your work without giving you credit or linking back to you. You can then reach out to them and ask for a reference or backlink.
Creating an eBook may sound like a tall order, but if you have a carefully thought through blog strategy, which has some logic and order to it, then, with a little bit of careful crafting, you should be able to put an eBook together. With good content planning, you could create a series of blogs around a topic and when they are all written, combine them and edit them to create an ebook.
B2B Lead generation - 9/10. If you can pull together lots of content you already have, it can be a cheap way to make good premium content.
SEO benefit - 9/10. You could un-gate the content and still offer a printable or sharable version as a download.
5. video content
Videos are becoming increasingly popular and ‘how to’ videos that give away useful tips and advice can be fairly easy to create and post. If you can’t afford an expensive video production company but you have experts who really know their stuff, you may find that in-house video content could be just as effective.
If your business has the potential to make lots of video content, a good B2B lead generation approach could be to ask your audience to sign up to a video series. If you have a marketing automation solution (we use Hubspot), you could trigger a series of emails to be delivered to your audience over time.
B2B Lead generation - 7/10. Individual videos would be better in front of the gate but registration for a series or video course could be effective.
SEO benefit - 7/10. Third party sites could link to your video content which helps with backlink authority.
Webinars are live streamed presentations that usually involve a Q&A session at the end. Audiences will normally register and provide their details in order to receive a link to the presentation on a specified date and time. You could also offer the back catalogue of recordings as premium content which gives you even more opportunity to generate leads.
B2B Lead generation - 7/10. A good way to generate email registrations but it does take time to organise and develop a good webinar.
SEO benefit - 7/10. One option is to transcribe and publish the presentation after the event which would include lots of relevant text and image based content.
7. Spreadsheet templates
This type of content is popular and can be created very cost effectively. Most people know how to use spreadsheets so the beauty of this content is the fact that users can easily adapt your template to suit their specific needs. Although it can be cheap to create, it can be very effective for B2B lead generation because a lot of the value comes from the thinking behind the spreadsheet structure and numbers.
B2B Lead generation - 10/10. Because of it’s relative ease to create a spreadsheet template, compared to the potential value it could offer great rewards.
SEO benefit - 4/10.
8. Process documents
Most organisations have developed solid processes and documents that prospects could find very useful or valuable. By sharing them in exchange for an email registration, you could generate lots of qualified B2B leads. In addition, it would also help to demonstrate that you are an authority in your subject area or discipline, which builds trust.
B2B Lead generation - 7/10. It may be difficult to share processes and documents if you are worried about competitors getting their hands on it.
SEO benefit - 8/10. This could help to get valuable backlinks.
9. Analyst reports
Every industry and every sector has its own regulatory bodies and research organisations busy producing analyst reports. If you have the permission or license to share them, then these would be a great way to provide premium B2B content and generate leads.
B2B Lead generation - 8/10. These tend to be very valuable and effective pieces of content but it can prove expensive to get the permission to use.
SEO benefit - 5/10. If the report has already been published online, the original (or canonical) version will have the SEO benefit so you wouldn’t want to post a copy.
10. Free trials
It doesn’t matter whether you offer a product or a service, if you think hard enough, there is normally a way of generation leads by packaging up your offering as a free trial or product sample in return for a user’s details.
B2B Lead generation - 8/10. Free trials are effective but normally for prospects who are further along the buying journey (decision stage).
SEO benefit - 4/10
11. Or… just ask for an email subscription
Like many businesses, you might prefer to un-gate all of your premium content and use it to maximise your SEO efforts and build authority. Although this may initially appear to limit your ability to generate leads from premium content, your audience trust will grow to the point that you can just simply ask them to register for email updates. If you are producing lots of quality content, this can be a very effective way to generate B2B leads AND publish lots of SEO juicy content at the same time
The main thing to remember is that gaining permission to email your prospects who are genuinely interested is the holy grail. Not only have you obtained proper consent to use their details, but they really want to hear from you. This means you can put your brand, B2B content, key messages and offers etc in front of them on a regular basis.
These are just a few examples of the type of high value, premium content that can potentially be ‘gated’ in order to generate leads. If you’d like more information of further assistance with your B2B content marketing, then don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Download our Content Marketing Plan Template
We are happy to share our content marketing Excel spreadsheet template for you to use. The template includes:
Content marketing plan to list and organise your content
Ideas list, collate and share content ideas
Basic content calendar
Keyword research template