Have you ever wondered if your paid content is actually doing its job?
What you consider valuable content might be seen as worthless by your customers when they’re trying to make a purchase.
It’s kind of like a toll road. Gated content filled with handy how-to guides and relevant research can be the fastest route for your clients to make up their minds. But, it comes at a cost.
Ask yourself: Do your customers really value your content marketing enough to give up their contact info, email address, or even sign in with their social accounts? Sure, it’s all important for your sales pipeline, but the truth is, your customers might not care.
That’s why it’s crucial for you to establish credibility, communicate your value proposition, and earn that relationship currency from your customers. Because let’s face it, the shorter the buyer’s journey and sales process, the better for everyone involved.
- Paid content, also known as gated content, is basically any form of content on the internet that you have to pay to access
- Customers are already managing 85% of their buying relationship without talking to a human, making high-quality content more important than ever
- The average B2B decision maker consumes 11.4 pieces of a company’s content before they buy
- Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI
Discover the power of paid content and start using it to communicate value, establish trust, and convert customers.
What’s the Deal with Paid Content?
Paid content, also known as gated content, is basically any form of content on the internet that you have to pay to access.
Think of it like a ticket to a movie or a concert. You’re paying for the experience, the knowledge, the entertainment – whatever it is that the content is offering. This could include:
- White papers
Image Source: Digital Marketers World
But here’s the catch: your customers don’t necessarily need to pay with money. They can also pay for content by giving up their personal contact information, like:
- Full name
- Phone number
If you’re new here, you may be wondering why your target audience would pay for content when they can access so much content for free. My answer to that is one word: exclusivity.
Paid content is usually exclusive. It’s often higher quality, more in-depth, or offers something that you can’t get anywhere else. Plus, it’s usually copyrighted, which means it’s unique to the creator or platform you’re buying it from.
Combine each of these factors and many of your audience members won’t mind adding their name to your email list in exchange for some high quality content.
Paid Content vs. Free Content
The internet is chalked full of free, or organic, content. From blogs and podcasts to YouTube videos and social media posts, there’s a ton of information out there that won’t cost you a dime.
I encourage you to think of free content as the appetizer. It’s intended to give an audience just a taste of what’s to come. Once they start craving more, that’s where paid content comes in.
Image Source: Spectrum Net Designs
While free content gets the word out and draws people in, paid content is what keeps them coming back for more. It’s what turns casual browsers into loyal customers and followers into fans.
At the end of the day, you need to be publishing both free and paid content to create a balanced, effective content strategy. This way, you can build trust and create a community that sees value in your brand.
What The Content Marketing and Relationship Currency Facts Tell Us
- Use Blogging To Increase Credibility. Marketers who blog are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI, suggesting that starting the conversation with a blog with a call-to-action is a way to engage with customers at the right place in the journey.
- Help Self-Educating Customers. Customers are already managing 85% of their buying relationship without talking to a human, indicating decision makers count on content more than ever.
- More Content Is Always Better In The Eyes Of The Customer. But is it really? The average B2B decision maker consumes 11.4 pieces of content before they buy, suggesting they are spending a lot of time reading content.
Image Source: Gather Content
This content marketing research indicates customers are counting on content to help them make their decision. Maybe too much content, actually. What if they had access to better content earlier in their decision-making process?
9 Ways To Help Customers Manage Paid Content
1. Use Content Bait
Use short, easy-to-consume (free) content to establish your reputation and catch the attention of your customers. This attention-getting strategy will drive qualified traffic to your paid content.
Pro Tip: Leverage evergreen blogs by exchanging links to gated content landing pages.
2. Create A Great Landing Page
Make sure your landing page clearly articulates your value proposition so the customer understands what they will receive in exchange for their contact information.
Pro Tip: Place a short SlideShare presentation on your landing page to help you seal the deal!
3. Offer Only High-Value Gated Content
This is the golden rule. If your content is top-notch, informative, and unique, people will pay for it. Invest time in research, make your content engaging, and always aim to provide value.
Leverage a paid research report, white paper, or an eBook to collect on your customers’ relationship currency.
Pro Tip: Collect the minimal amount of data to begin a strategic nurturing program.
Hungry for more? Watch and listen to expert Gary Vee share his thoughts on the importance of high quality content here.
Video Source: GaryVee Video Experience
4. Offer Exclusive Content
Make your paid content exclusive. It should offer insights, information, or experiences that your free content doesn’t provide. This exclusivity will make it more appealing and worth the investment.
5. Build A Community
Be a thought leader. Create a sense of community among your audience.
This could be through a members-only forum, exclusive webinars, or special events. A strong community can encourage members to pay for the added benefits.
6. Leverage FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
Promote limited-time offers, exclusive deals, or special content available only to paying members. The fear of missing out can drive customers to pay for content.
7. Prioritize A Seamless User Experience
Make sure your website or platform is user-friendly. A smooth, hassle-free experience can encourage customers to return and pay for your content.
8. Share Your Success Stories
Share testimonials or success stories from satisfied customers who found value in your paid content. This can build trust and convince potential customers of the value they’ll receive.
9. Use Content Marketing Strategies
Promote your paid content through blogs, social media, email marketing, and other channels. The more visibility your content has, the more likely customers are to pay for it.
To-Toll or Not-To-Toll, That Is Content Marketing Question
If customers don’t value your content enough to exchange their relationship currency for it, then they’ll likely continue to self-educate themselves – taking the long and winding road to avoid the toll road fee.
They’ll consume a lot of interesting content. But they’ll also waste time and energy to avoid sharing their personal information. They will frame their problem and work toward solving it. Their assessment and action may be right, but then again, it may be wrong.
If you’re going to gate your content, then ensure your customer sees the value in it. Or, embrace a free-for-all content marketing strategy and build a relationship with goodwill and easy access! Kind of like the yellow brick road. But then again, there were flying monkeys that weren’t too friendly on that free road.
Want to learn more ways you can catch and keep your audience’s attention? Step #1 is to create high quality content that engages your audience. Get started today by checking out our weekly blog content service, or schedule a free consultation now to learn more!