So much amazing information to share from the Branded Content Conference in Miami – but one key point I wanted to share now was from David Meerman Scott’s presentation on World Wide Rave.
David shared some key statistics on white papers. Almost all brands create and distribute white papers – those 8 to 20 page downloadable pdf’s that are now staples in most marketing programs.
Many, dare I say, most brands (including my own company) “gate” their white papers. To “gate” a white paper means you put an information requirement in front of the content in exchange for getting access to the white paper. This could be as simple as an email address, or as complicated as purchasing information.
Here’s the point David made. According to his statistics, a white paper or eBook will be downloaded 20x and up to 50x more WITHOUT a gate in front of it.
Please go back and read the last sentence again.
What is your objective?
Most people gate their content for lead or customer management purposes. This means they want the prospect’s information in order to sell them something, or they want more information about the customer in order to sell to them more precisely. Makes sense, right?
This is a solid marketing objective, but is it the “best” objective, or even the “right” objective?
Shouldn’t our goal with the creation of branded content be to spread our ideas? Doesn’t it make more sense from a marketing perspective to have fifty people engage in our content instead of one?
And here is a key point that David made clear. Who are the customers you have that will actively share your content? Bloggers. What customers do you have that usually DO NOT download gated content? Bloggers.
So, not only are we limiting the people that will get access to our content, we are cutting off those customers that will actively share it with their audiences.
Let’s say you received 1,000 leads via your white paper download. From David’s numbers, let’s even take a more conservative 10x more downloads if we remove the gate. This would give us 10,000 downloads with no lead data. Of all those people, let’s say that 1% would share this/blog this with their audiences (with a VERY conservative audience of 100 people, although most blogs get much more).
With those numbers, the total possible content reach for gated content would be 2,000 people. Non-gated content would be 20,000 people.
And take this note to heart – I haven’t seen one piece of branded content “go viral” and massively spread that was gated. If you have, please let me know. What’s more important to you?…lead information on the few, or the opportunity to spread your brand to decision-makers who you are not talking with right now.
There are times and places to get customer information. Is that time or place in front of the content you want shared actively?
I have a pretty good feeling that I’ll be removing the “gates” to our content very soon. How about you?