Your brand and creator partners have been executing quality, compelling content in accordance with your brand strategy and voice. At what point should you consider gating portions of your content? 

Gated content is anything that sits behind a metaphorical wall and requires payment, personal information like a consumer’s email address, or a pledge to share on social media in order to access the content. It’s a long-practiced method used by brands across all verticals to withhold content with a perceived value in exchange for some kind of beneficial information from a consumer that will improve a brand’s reach. 

When brands gate their content

Brands will often keep their gated content behind a page housed on their own website. Items like fliers, brochures, paid newsletters, exclusive photos and videos, and more could make up a brand’s gated content library. 

Brands gain valuable insights from gating content when it’s integrated successfully. With more consumer information comes a deeper understanding of the audience that is willing to give up something to view and interact with your content. Brands also gain another revenue stream if they are charging a fee for the content; with this earnings potential comes the opportunity to offer affiliate income to creators for promoting with the materials that exist beyond the wall. 

Gated content shared exclusively with a subscribed audience, like through a paid newsletter, can also enforce brand loyalty, increase trust and enable a deeper layer of social proof. 

When creators gate their content

unlock-content-with-patreonCreator content also may be gated. While branded creator content will likely stay with the brand, fans may opt to support content creators’ original works by subscribing to their personal gated content. Many creators will opt into a platform to manage this. 

For example, Patreon is a popular gated creator platform. It offers tiers of financial support for users to support creators and in exchange, they will receive access to exclusive content. Patreon performs well across a variety of industries, from podcasters to YouTubers, artists to musicians, writers to TikTok personalities to apparel brands. Then there’s OnlyFans, a highly successful gated platform, which ranges from adult content to fitness and wellness to art, music lessons, cooking, and makeup tutorials. It requires that sensitive content lives behind a paywall.

Creators may opt to post free resources for simply an email subscription; others may institute several payment tiers to entice their subscribers to support them in a variety of financial commitments. 

New platforms are popping up with varying degrees of success, particularly in partnership with existing social networks as an add-on bonus. Twitter Blue is being rolled out in Australia and Canada for iOS users and offers upgraded app features at a fee; they also have the Super Follows feature in its testing phase, which allows creators to charge for tweets and exclusive content. Tumblr has also jumped on the bandwagon with the recent rollout of TumblrPost+, which allows creators to offer Patreon-style tiers to their audience to view and interact with exclusive content.

When not to gate content

Certainly, gated content can be a strategic move for brands and creators looking to capitalize on an audience that finds value in what they’ve created. But choosing what to gate is a strategic move that should be made with thorough consideration. 

Without compelling content and a pitch that shares the value of a resource or creation, the audience may not see the benefit, which will result in limited conversions. Similarly, if the audience discovers similar or the same content for free elsewhere, they may not be inclined to trust that they are being given quality content in the future.

Key points

    • Gated content can be a valuable and beneficial practice for brands and creators that have a strong tie to their audience.
    • Brands will want to consider their gated content requirements when they are setting up their gates. Choosing what to require in exchange for the ungated content will contribute to its effectiveness.
    • Brands will also want to think about what they’ll be accomplishing by gating content as opposed to giving it away for free. 
    • Consistently delivered gated content, like paid newsletters, is a strong method of releasing gated content that has a high perceived value.
    • Creators who gate their content have plenty of options for platforms that allow them to institute levels of contribution; they can also list content available for free.
    • Gated content overall is a great option for any industry; typically, creators in visually-driven industries will see a higher return