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To gate or not to gate? That’s a question many content marketers mull over as they create content intended to drive traffic and generate leads.

Gated content is any kind of content that lives behind an entry form. Typically, a website visitor has to provide their name and email address in exchange for the content.

Some marketers believe gating content provides more qualified leads. Typically the content is viewed less, but those willing to give up their information in exchange for the content are considered high value prospects.

So, what kind of content is best gated?

“The best type of content to gate is content that will attract potentially high-converting customers,” says Sara Piccola of ShortStack, a software company that helps build social campaigns.

“Some marketers like to gate every resource they create, but not every resource will drive traffic that will convert through your sales funnel.”

What to Gate

To get the best conversion rates, here are four types of content that are commonly gated:

Case study

Case studies provide a rare glimpse into business experiments. For example, a case study that reveals how a particular marketing strategy worked with concrete statistics to support it would be of interest to the marketing niche.

White paper

A white paper is an authoritative report that looks at a specific issue and offers guidance based on first-hand experience. Piccola’s company gates a white paper that focuses on publishing a marketing campaign on Facebook rather than a website or landing page.

“This is a piece of material we gate because the people who are downloading this content are marketers who are clearly looking to create social media campaigns,” she says.

In-depth guide

A guide shows your audience how to do something specific. For example, an email marketing guide could walk a potential customer through the entire email process from creating a message to tracking success rates.


An eBook demonstrates authority in a given field. An eBook that provides valuable insight on the hiring process within elite investment firms, for example, is the kind of thought leadership that an eBook can fulfill.

The Properties of Your Gated Content

While these four kinds of content are usually gated, there are some overarching things you should remember when selecting content for this role:

Content must be high quality

Gated content isn’t a run-of-the-mill blog post, or an article full of tips and tricks. It’s next-level content. Content that’s in-depth and detailed.

Be selective

Don’t go gate crazy. You don’t want to put a barrier in front of every piece of content that you write. Be selective and gate a few pieces that make sense for your business.

Formatting matters

You took the time to write it, so take the time to make the content look professional. Gated content shouldn’t look like a high school essay in a Word .doc; it should look more like a business presentation with proper margins, subheadings, various fonts, images and graphs.

Keep the form short

When the form pops up for visitors to access the gated content, make sure it’s short. If the form is too long, the prospect could decide against downloading the content. Ask for basic information like name and email address.