It’s a well-known fact that quality content matters for your reputation online. When you fill your digital assets (website, social media accounts, blogs and articles), for example, with content your audience wants to engage with, you can boost traffic, improving your ranking and rating online. But what’s best for online reputation management – gated or public content?
First think about why content matters and what you want it to achieve. Content can do everything from engaging consumers and getting them to buy your products or services, to increasing trust and positioning you as an industry thought leader. This makes a difference when choosing between gated vs public content. Why?
Public content vs gated content
Let’s start with gated content. What is it? The word ‘gated’ applies to any content that requires you to provide personal details, such as an email address or phone number, to access. Consumers have to really want to see this content, to go to the effort of pushing past this ‘gate’ so it must be really valuable to them. Businesses use gated content to give their audiences valuable information, and they themselves get individuals’ details they know have a high interest in their products. They can then use this for marketing, increasing their chances of turning interest into sales.
But, research indicates that up to 90% of visitors to your website could be turned off by gated content? That’s why it sometimes better to go with public content. Public content is freely available to visitors. It’s content people can access anytime. Companies use public content to generate interest in their brand, by providing free advice and product information, building a good relationship with consumers in the process. Also when consumers search for your sector online, public content is more likely to show up in the results, so you can use it to direct more traffic to your company website.
There are no hard and fast rules about which content you can gate or make public content. But people have to invest more time and effort to reach gated content. That’s why it’s a good idea to only gate content that people who are really interested in finding out more about your industry, will be willing to go the extra mile to engage with. Look at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a British financial services firm which gates its reports. This is because they’re valuable, comprehensive and fact filled reports. The firm gates them because of these facts – they know that the firms/people who share their information to get them really value the information and are likely to be converted into strong leads.
Painting a positive picture
By the same logic, it’s better to avoid gated content if you want to use content to manage your company’s reputation online. Remember that here, you want to make it as likely as possible that when a customer types your business’ name into Google, the results of the search paint a positive picture of your firm, which is important because that first page gets 92% of all views in searches. If people find gated content, they may just decide it’s easier to click away than bother engaging or going the extra mile to discover what’s behind the gate. This is because people tend to have short attention spans online, with more than half (55%) admitting that they will spend only 15 seconds on your website. So, when you’re looking to improve your online reputation, make quality content as readily accessible as possible.
Where to post?
The more clicks your content gets, the more likely it is to rank highly in Google searches and make your business look good to consumers. This is why it’s often best to go with public content, but where you post also matters. Take Instagram vs Facebook as an example. Instagram has a younger audience, so if you’re looking to target this demographic, it’s a better idea to post content on Instagram than Facebook, so the people you want to see it will be more likely to find it.
So, when it comes to gated vs public content for your online reputation, we recommend public first with gated once you’re trusted, established and looking to develop further, and always keep your audience needs front of mind.