In my Bredemarket consultancy, I’m involved in the creation of content for Inland Empire West and other businesses, including case studies / testimonials, white papers, and the like. But I generally don’t get involved in the distribution of the content. That’s for my clients to decide and manage.
At my new day job, I’m putting my fingers into both content creation and distribution, so I’m having to think about things that I haven’t thought about much before. For example, when you should gate content, and when you shouldn’t.
Bredemarket and gated content
Over the years I’ve created white papers, case studies, blog posts, and other content for Bredemarket clients. Some of this content has been “gated,” while other content has not.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of gated content, “gating” is simply a way to obtain some information about a prospect before providing content to them.
- This blog post, for example, is not gated content, because anybody can read it and I don’t necessarily know who is reading it.
- In other cases, companies (including some of my Bredemarket clients) require you to provide a name, company, email address, and possibly other information before you can download the content.
Why gate content?
The “Case Study Buddy,” (Joel Klettke), in a post that asks whether case studies should be gated, outlines why gating is sometimes desirable.
These days, you have to look hard to find a website that doesn’t have some sort of pop-up or downloadable resource begging you to surrender your email.
For this post, we’re going to call that “Gating” – putting a gate in front of your content that someone has to deliberately go through….
If the information on the other end is enticing and relevant enough and the source is trustworthy enough, then giving up your email might be a small enough price to pay.From https://casestudybuddy.com/blog/should-you-gate-your-case-studies/
The “sometimes” comes into play when you consider where the prospect is in the sales process. If the prospect is in an early awareness-building stage, they might not be willing to surrender their spammable email to just anyone. If the prospect is further along, they may want to provide that email to a few top-of-the-line companies to whom they’re willing to talk.
Should you gate case studies?
There are different views regarding whether case studies should be gated, but Joel Klettke the Case Study Buddy definitely has his thoughts.
Case studies are HUGE credibility builders. When done right, they prove you can get results for people just like your leads. Not only that, but they reveal by way of example what a lead should expect when working with you.
I can think of no better asset to show a lead in the awareness and evaluation stages than a well-written, beautifully designed customer success story.
So why on earth would you hide all of that credibility-building power behind a gate that a lead will need to trust you to open?From https://casestudybuddy.com/blog/should-you-gate-your-case-studies/
Case studies vs. testimonials
If you’ve been reading the Bredemarket blog long enough, you’ll note that I often combine discussions of case studies and testimonials into a single “casetimonial” discussion. After all, case studies and testimonials accomplish the same thing, albeit in different lengths, formats, and authorships.
Testimonials are often written directly by customers themselves, although a company (or an independent consultant!) could ghostwrite the testimonial. Because they’re usually much shorter, they don’t necessarily include all of the components that you could find in a longer case study. Although there’s no reason why they couldn’t. Take a look at this particular testimonial, which some of you may have seen before:
“I just wanted to truly say thank you for putting these templates together. I worked on this…last week and it was extremely simple to use and I thought really provided a professional advantage and tool to give the customer….TRULY THANK YOU!”From https://bredemarket.com/bredemarket-and-proposal-services/ (and other places)
Although there’s no explicit problem description in this testimonial, there’s an implied one. Since the testimonial author praises the template writer because the templates were simple to use, this implies that the pre-template proposal creation process was difficult.
Other than lacking an explicit problem description, the testimonial has the other aspects of a case study: identification of the solution that solved the problem, what happened when the solution was used, and the benefits of the solution.
Now a case study might go into much more detail, with extensive statistics and proof points. Testimonials usually don’t.
Should you gate testimonials?
I can only think of one conceivable reason to gate a testimonial, and that would be when the testimonial contains sensitive information. For example, I doubt that most testimonials written by secret agents are publicly accessible.
“I just wanted to thank you for the Acme Long-Range Recording Device. Before using this device, it was impossible to record conversations in the Mordor Embassy. But after adopting this device, I was able to uncover a Nazgul plot and use Rohan agents to foil it. THANK YOU!”From…nowhere, actually.
Now that’s a testimonial.
Are you opening the gate?
What content are you gating, and what content are you allowing to run free? And why? Feel free to comment.