- Podcast host: Julie Ewald, CEO at Impressa Solutions
- Guest: Teodora Pirciu, Content Kingpin at Impressa Solutions
In this episode we’re going to dive into the world of B2B content marketing and chat specifically about gated content. It’s been a pretty common lead generation technique in the past, but we’re starting to question if it’s as effective as it used to be, especially when it comes to getting contact information from those important decision-makers.
It’s becoming more and more important for brands to find better ways to make content accessible and useful for their audience. The goal is to build relationships and provide value, rather than just using content as a tool for generating leads. It’s a shift in mindset that can really pay off in the long run.
- Gating content makes sense in some cases, and considering best practices as you do so is vital to meet your lead generation goals.
- Brands that want to produce content worth gating and reading must focus on original research.
- Marketing content helps accelerate the sales cycles when you encourage sales reps to use it and share it with their leads when it makes sense.
- You can’t ask people to give you an email address to read about how great you are.
- The standard is getting higher in B2B content production.
About the guest
Teodora enjoys good stories. She’s a content marketer, strategist, writer, ex-pat, and daydreamer passionate about language learning. Teodora helps businesses across many industries reach and connect to their audiences genuinely and meaningfully by getting clients to think outside the box to achieve their goals.
Hi Everyone,welcome to the Allbound Awesomeness Podcast, I’m Julie Ewald chief everything officer for impressive solutions and today I’m here with Teodora Piricu she is one of the super duper awesome members of team imppressa and she is a brilliant marketer to read the official bio. Ah Teodora enjoys good stories. She’s a content marketer and strategist writer. Expat and daydreamer with a passion for language learning Teodora helps businesses across many industries reach and connect to their audiences in genuine and meaningful ways by getting clients outside the box and to reach their. Goals um, quick question. How many languages? do you speak? Yeah, it.
Ah, speak speak. Ah 3 um that would be romanian. That’s my native language italian because I live in italy and english and this is like I’m fluent and then there are some languages that I barely speak.
You hang in there though. Ah way better than I do so if ah you want to connect with Teodora after you listen to the podcast. Ah, you can find her on Linkedin at Teodora Emma Pirciu that’s Teodora-pirciu and you can also find Teodora on Twitter at @EmaPirciu. See you so are you ready for some questions?
I’m never ready and I’m always ready so it’s okay, we can do this hello. Everyone nice to meet you.
Perfect. So thank you so much for being here. Ah this is our first episode so this might be a little messy but thankfully Teodora is a true professional and an expert so she’ll be carrying us today.
Um, so yeah, no pressure at all. So I guess we’ll start off I know I did the official intro. Um, but is there anything you want to add about yourself?
Ah I don’t know um, probably just that you know I live on Twitter so if at any time someone wonders what I’m doing when I’m not doing marketing I’m tweeting so that’s it.
Good to know. So definitely follow. Ah Theodor on Twitter so we’re going to talk a lot today about gated and ungated content and b two b marketing. Um and some of these best practices. So if you could. For our listeners who don’t know what is gated content and why the heck would you gate it and.
Um, Ah, what is gated content? Um everything that lives behind a door a wall um a window. So Basically it’s Hidden. It’s. Ah, closed to people who want to access it and you would have to give something in return to get access to that content usually would be an email address or some sort of contact information sometimes um. Ah so a long spreadsheet of question of boring questions about everything around you from I don’t know how many people working your organization to what you ate this morning. Um, why would you do it?? Um, lead generation most of the time but um. It doesn’t mean that you should always do it. You know? So sometimes you should do it Sometimes you shouldn’t but you know let’s say that the um, the purpose would be to generate some quality Hopefully qualified.
And ok so it sounds like if I want to convert strangers to become my contacts and hopefully to be leads I need to have some way to collect them and the gate is a good way to do it hide that lead magnet behind there. And get their sweet sweet info.
Um, Oh yeah, that would be the ideal you know like in the ideal world or like in 2020 I don’t know how God it’s 2023 now. So probably and I think 2017 Yeah, or maybe even 2018 that that would be that would be the recipe. Yes, um today. I’m not so sure this is the right way to do it. So um, I’m all for gating some sort of content. Not everything definitely something has to change because you know getting the ebook with five ways to get more money into your business. That’s not going to work Anymore. I mean it’s already not working anymore.
And ok so it sounds like ungated content is working a lot better. So what are the benefits of having ungated content?
Giving people access to information and being part of the solution. Even if they’re not your clients or your leads yet. It’s building a different kind of connection a different level of trust and ah it streamlines the experience you know because the problem with gated content is the extra step so I need to sit I need to fill that um form on that landing page and sometimes it works because the content is that good. So the problem is like not gating what kind of content can we still gate and how value is this really worth. The effort the extra effort because honestly it becomes um I wouldn’t say boring but it’s easy to Google you know, ask Chat GPT if you want and I just don’t need your ebook anymore because I googled it and actually found that information somewhere else. Without me having to go through the extra hassle and without me having to go through I don’t know 100 emails from you in the next five months
That makes a lot of sense. So if I’m producing content is there any kind of hard or fast rule about when to Gait or not and if there isn’t how do you decide?
Ah I don’t believe in rules around this like what could be the right way to do it for a company. It might not just get it for another one so there is no universal you know cookie gather kind of rule here. But um I feel like common sense as what. And the thing that would decide whether you will gate or not as in is this piece of content really that worthy like is this somewhere can I can my um, my readers or my viewers or my followers on social media. Can they find this information somewhere else with I don’t know 2 clicks? Or just a simple query or is this a piece of content that I’ve been investing I don’t know my resources for six months in am I producing something truly valuable here that doesn’t exist anywhere else on the internet gated am I Just rewriting something that’s been on Google since 2020 keep that like give it anyways write that it’s important to find the information in 1 place instead of and I don’t know going through 20 Google searches. It’s important to have that information in the right form but it doesn’t need to be gated at this point. Because my ah my email address as um as a lead especially in B2B right? when good email addresses are so worthy. Um, it’s not worth those 20 clicks or those 20 queries that I would do on Google to get information.
And you know that that makes a lot of sense. It’s hard because as a marketer getting that data getting that information is so valuable. But as someone who makes b two b purchase decisions on the regular. It’s. Really hard to give up that email address for something that as you said that I could just Google and get easily or that is almost on the verge of being common sense. Why would I do that so is there any piece of content or certain instances where you’re like? Do not gate that no way ever even if it is something that’s more current or something that is new.
Ah, again, so it’s just it’s not a universal thing. So for some companies might make sense. What I try not to do or suggest to clients to do is gate case studies like that’s information about your brand. That’s something that could close as hail why would you gate something like that? It’s your opportunity to show not tell how great you are. Why would you ask people to pay in any form to see how great you are? That should be information that leaves freely on the internet for anyone to access as easily as possible so that would be my answer I’m not saying that no one should do it again. Everything it’s in it depends on marketing everything it starts with it depends but case studies like I don’t know. 9.9 out of 10 should be easily easy to access.
I’m with you there. There’s as you’re going through the buyer’s journey and you’re going through your sales process. You don’t want to create friction at certain points. And when someone is so close to giving you money that they want to understand how these engagements went with other clients or other customers I don’t want to throw up another barrier to them getting that information. Um, because if my competitor is freely giving these case studies.
Why would I jump through extra hoops when I can just learn more about this friendly accessible competitor? Um I feel the same way Also with some very top-of-the-funnel content. Um, just because a lot of that is.
Not revolutionary kind of stuff you’re able to solve problems really quickly build a lot of value generate a lot of rapport. So just let him in. Let him have it. Um, if you are gating though.
I Picture a lot of times you know the gate and I think most client of our clients do to picture just a landing page are there other ways to gate content?
Oh yes, there are so and it’s I think that every day or maybe not every day is an exaggeration but new ways of you know delivering content and collecting email addresses are implemented and they’re mediated every day. So you can just share a Google link with someone and to access that do they would have to give you an email address and there’s actually a tool There’s a software for that that enables fire sharing ah file sharing even through Hubspot. Um, if I remember correctly so you would just give them the Google link. And they would have to give their email address that email addresses go directly into your CRM. Um, and it’s also easy. So there is no landing page I’m just sending you this ah google doc ah this link to the Google Doc and bam you have an email address. Um, you can do that through Linkedin ads. Can do that directly in the ad right? give you my you don’t even have to give your email address because Linkedin will do that for you. So there are multiple ways to ah, reduce friction as you said and make this ah process as easy as possible because again the lead is giving you something super important. And a valid email address where they can be connected with you and where you can contact them and send them messages so it’s already. They’re already giving so much.
And so as we’re thinking about gating content in the various ways you can get content I know I have opinions on this about what makes a good or a bad gate. What do you know about the best practices there are around gating content? I’m wondering if you can share some of yours.
Bad gates. Oh the never-ending 4 that’s always like always a no for me and I’m going through it anyway because I’m a writer I’m not a Twitter so you know I download tons of um. And this is probably something that they shouldn’t say but I’m saying it anyway. I’m a writer I need resources so I will download things sometimes I don’t have the opportunity to say hey I’m sorry I’m a writer I need this piece of content. Please don’t contact me they contact me anyway. So I’m going through all this hassle and. Tell them my country my phone number my email address a secondary email address sometimes um I don’t even remember how many employees when was the last time when I bought something when was the last time I I don’t know the research about I’m a writer I don’t have that information. And you know I am patient and I really need that information. So I’m doing my best to get it. But I’m trying to say like what kind of person would go through all that to download that resource and that’s for me the no when I see a never-ending 4 that’s that’s a no or um when they ask you to you know information. That’s not the right one on hand and you’d have to invent things because sometimes I’m using that one for companies that don’t allow you to download with your Gmail at your personal email address. You need to use the.
Um, the company address that the corporate email address that you have so I will use mine from prison solutions right? And they asked me stuff that I don’t know I would have to call you and say hey Julie how many I don’t know something something. Do we do it every year I don’t do that I invent stuff. So I basically do. It doesn’t make sense most people won’t go through and won’t answer accurately to these questions. Anyways.
And yeah, I’m very much on the same page when I see these forms that are asking for all kinds of information sometimes getting a little personal with it. Ah, it really is a big turnoff and I’m just like I don’t need this ebook or white paper that badly ah because. You know again? Well I get you want to get good data. It’s just simply too much and the information needs to be I guess evenly waited for the value I’m going to be getting and if I’m like dude this is a checklist. It’s going to might be a throw-away. It’s going to help me for all of 5 minutes I’m not going to tell you my life story I’m not going to tell you what our annual revenue is or what our turnover rate is or all sorts of other things just to get something that’s going to be a flash in the pan. So definitely asking for too much is. bad gate territory for me to so one of the things that as you know we’re starting in 2023? Ah impressa is kind of turning a new leaf and instead of being all inbound inbound inbound all the time. Um, we’re starting to look at. The idea of the allbound marketing methodology. So this is kind of that you know this unification of inbound and outbound marketing and sales technique techniques coming together to drive more results.
And not leave opportunities on the table. So as we’re talking about content and gated in ungated content. How does this fit into the idea of allbound?
Ah, again, it depends. But overall I think it all goes back to making things easy for the person you want to get in touch with and um, making information available. So this is not twenty seventeen any more people who have learned how to find information if I can’t find it on Google I’ll ask on Twitter I’ll call a friend I’ll Dm on Linkedin someone I mean we’ve been networking. Since 2020, we’ve been networking so much we have most of the people within this even decision-makers. They have a network a strong network that has been consolidated since 2020 if the information is not available for me right away with a click or with a simple Google query I know someone on Twitter I know someone on Linkedin. Ah, everybody has begun to build a network of experts to talk to so um, in this new allbound approach. Ah, not gating content. Um, let’s say speeds up a bit the ah connection the connection building with leads. Of course, you can’t give everything for free and I think that the most difficult part.
Um, and this new approach will be to convince clients to invest even more resources in producing that kind of content worth gating and this will be the the extra when when you actually take that the go the extra mile. So ah, spending more time on research. Doing original research more original research sharing your data in in ways that of course don’t compromise your um, your integrity as a brand and providing the value that people can get somewhere else. It’s also a very difficult moment for content creators in b two b but. And also in general because ah, we’ve we’ve seen the explosion of um, artificial intelligence. Ah, and um, Ai tools that write content. So it’s going to be even harder to actually produce something that is worth reading and that people will read knowing. That this is human touched product human touched content so you need to start talking more from your experience sharing more from your ah from your backyard probably ah or working a lot more and having that original research in place. So. This is where um I see this a bit I come as a bottleneck because it’s it’s going to be hardier anyway for everyone so talking to clients about hey you need to invest a bit more resources in this? Um, ah I’ll see this like a bit harder a challenge. But if we succeed to do that.
Then Ah, those will be successful campaigns.
It just Brilliant. So I think my my last properly prepared question is about Sales. So I’m a big advocate of leveraging content and helping using that content to further a neighbor sale enable. Me start this question again. Um talking is hard So My final prepared question is about sales I’m a huge fan of leveraging content for sales and Ail enablement. Why can’t I talk. More So My final question that I have is about sales I’m a huge advocate of leveraging content for sales enablement and using that marketing content to help accelerate the sales Cycle. So. I Guess my question is what do you do with content that’s used in the sales process. Do you ever gate it or is it strictly just a give.
Well, it doesn’t make sense to gate it anymore. At this point right? So I’m already talking to you I have your email address. Probably we’ve been on a phone call so gating that. It doesn’t make sense anymore I’m just going to share that with you because you are my sales qualified lead. You’re already in my um in my database probably we talk we I know your name I know your kid’s name if I’m a good salesperson. Um, so ah. It doesn’t make sense to gate it. It makes sense to have it like available again. Easy accessible living somewhere ideally somewhere on your website. Um I’m just going to make like a short you know like rackets here don’t attach. Don’t send attachment attachments in emails. I mean we’ve been working a lot with ah cybersec security experts a lot with it companies and ah right now I’m a bit paranoid about cybersecurity never attach anything to your emails as a marketer or as a salesperson make them live on your website somewhere if if it’s possible to you know, optimize for Seo. That’s great, but just. Send a link. Don’t send an attachment in an email so make it easy accessible with a click um in a format that is mobile friendly. Um and never gate at this point in in sales doesn’t make sense. You already have everything you need if you want.
Ah, more information and you would need to use a form find something else to give them something that is way more valuable than um I don’t know um, 1 ne-pager and again everything that is about your business everything that is about how great you are as a business can’t be gated. You can’t ask people to pay to. You know, read about how great you are. They will pay for something that is valuable for them outside of your relationship and I say pay. It’s not money. It’s an email address and in today’s world is worth more than I don’t know. $15 for an ebook.
No, it’s really true because a contact and a lead does have you know a degree of value and savvy buyers particularly those in the B Two B space. They know it. They’re not going to give that away you know for for free. But they also don’t want that again. Friction Redundancy etc So I would be really miffed if someone sent me a link to a landing page in the sales process and it’s treating me like a stranger asking me to go and Reinsert everything. So. It’s really nice if you’re using a marketing automation platform something like hubspot where you’re able to Auto fill if someone happens to stumble across a landing page and they’re an opportunity or they’re already a customer like let them have it. Um. Make sure that it’s not going to make them go through those steps as if they are a stranger or if you’re doing some kind of additional lead nurturing for someone. You’re already working as a deal use so use a feature like Hubspot smart content or something else that allows you to send different variants so that. Those folks who you’re already working a deal with or who are are already giving you money don’t have to jump through the hoops. They just get it right Away. Ah and just keep giving to further build that rapport and build that relationship so makes a ton of sense. There.
So I’m looking at my notes I’ve asked all of my questions So Teodora did I miss anything.
I can’t remember if I if I am to look back at your at the notes we had for this I can remember um I think we can talk more about um, what makes quality content. At this point in how people have become more picky about content and there are so many brands out there that are doing a great job at and creating very high standards for quality content especially in the b two b um area. It’s been some rough couple of years and um, there are great players in almost every industry you know, like um industry standard givers I don’t know if that’s even a word. Um and you. You download that content maybe out of curiosity or maybe because you actually need it and you start seeing some patterns across industries around the quality of the design. The quality of the graphics. The quality of the research and the standard is getting higher and higher in in content production. Of course you can no one. Says you can’t hire I don’t know two freelancers and fever and write a 3000 word ebook that you can try to use as a lead magnet or content offer but the standard is high most leads and potential buyers out there kind of get used to these high standard and there’s a huge gap.
Between you know those great content creators and whatever you can buy for a few hundred bucks so um instead of producing I don’t know 4 content offers a year and um, trying to push those focus on producing one piece of content.
But make it perfect or close to perfect because there’s no such thing as perfect so that would be my my advice to to focus more on the quality of the content and ah this is something that I know you’re a huge advocate of um, promoting that content. So It’s not just enough to have a landing page. And um or an ebook or I don’t know a report you need to promote that and I think this is something that ah this is something I learned from Impress a solution and solutions actually ah promoting the content until you you get bored. Of doing it. It’s so important.
And it really is I mean per kind of content promotion is needs to be integral to the content marketing efforts a lot of folks still kind of have this if you build it they will come attitude which just isn’t the case. Yeah, like maybe if you did so like really seoed stuff out and your brand is really well known and your Ceo is like a celebrity or something. Yeah, people might show up but for the vast majority of brands. What really needs to happen is. You need to start with Seo first ideation and make sure that keywords are baked in your site or wherever you place your content needs to be optimized for search once the content comes out organic and paid social leveraging email marketing using it in your cold outreach et cetera like you need to get it out there. So for folks who are like okay well this is my content budget I’m just going to use it to you know, turn out content offers if there’s not that money left to promote it that was kind of a waste. Ah there’s not going to be as many eyeballs on the content and you’re just not going to get the same return on that investment. So yeah, getting good content out there and then making sure you’re telling people. It’s out. There is pretty dang. Huge.
Yeah I don’t remember what would be a good um, a good like probably a thirty seventy 40 60 like 40% in in the content creation and 60 in in promoting that content. As um, you know value inside your budget. So if just quit producing produce just 2 instead of 3 or 1 instead of 2 and leave the rest of the money for um, promoting that content and I mean there’s no there’s no shame in paying for ads for. Paid for promoting via social media For example I mean there’s no secret that organic reach can just you know, go so far and I feel like ah some people are just afraid to promote and paid to promote via Linkedin or via Twitter or even Facebook. Because I feel like oh if I’m promoting it means I don’t trust enough I don’t believe enough in the content I’ve created that’s not true. It’s just necessary because that’s the world. We live in. That’s the world of ethical algorithms and um, they will just help you so much if you don’t give them access to your credit card. There’s no shame there.
And yeah, very much. So especially, we’re talking about b two b running those Linkedin ads can get you a lot of value even though the cost per click is likely going to be higher than some of the other platforms aka Facebook you’re more likely to connect with your audience. And you’re more likely to see actual results from those clicks. So really highly recommend at the bare bare minimum when something like a content offer rolls out put at least the minimum budget behind it for like seven days with a couple of different iterations of creative and just see if you get. Any bites. This isn’t necessarily going to be a high ah roi activity. Um, you probably aren’t going to get much from it. But you’ll be able to see where people are clicking. You may get a conversion or 2 but you know when you discover what’s working then you’re able to put more money behind it. And start using that to actually drive. You know some results for you. It’s it’s turning on the tap and turning it off where it comes to letting leads come in and of course that does kind of help boost the overall reach for that. So I’m a fan.
Yeah, and then and then the employees can help you promote those content offers even if they’re gated so you know like you can screenshot a page of it or not screenshot. Just ask your design team to do that. That’s a page of that screenshot. It. Give it that I’ll put it out there. Your employees can share that online with a link to the landing page if that’s a gated content offer or even like um I would call them mini influencers on Linkedin, especially the Linkedin content creators today gain more and more credibility. And um, if you can collaborate with some and hey we we need to promote this and you know give them the tools. So the more you can control how your content goes out there. The better so give them the tools give them a media kit give them. Images visuals of video if that’s something that you can do and have budget for and ask them to help in even your community of of users and ah your community of customers. Ah the customers should always if it makes sense for them. They should always have access to your latest content.
The content is not just for you know, closing new sales. They can also help with retention. They can also increase the customer loyalty and open more conversations inside your community and sometimes and this is something that they actually love about hubspot. Whenever they they um launch new um content There’s always a way that we um members of the hubspot community can access that content easily and share it with our network. And share it with our um friends or with our social um media. Um, connections. It’s so easy and we don’t like nobody pays us to do that. We just do it because the content is that good and ah because ah we know that by sharing that we help. Hubspot and we also help ah people in our network because this is great advice. So um, you know thinking a bit out of the box. Um moving away from the traditional um create the content landing page. Ah, 1 link on the company’s Linkedin page that no one has visited since you first opened that and that’s it. It’s not oh and then you just need they decide that content marketing is not working right? Of course it’s not working. You’re not working. You’re not doing your part. You need to start thinking outside the box.
And whether you gate that content where you don’t gate it you still need to find ways to convince people hey this is something worth reading because um, we talk about gating and not gating content. This is just one tiny bit. You know, convincing them to give an email address to download. But then there’s the other bit that is convincing them to actually read that and we did this for some clients. Ah like we created a um, follow-up campaign after they downloaded the ebook just to send them the most important bits. That ebook to make sure that they actually read that because that was super helpful information because you know I download things and then don’t read them because I don’t have the time or I don’t know I just get bored in the meantime or I got a Tiktok notification or I know Shakira launched another song. So I just I lose. I forget about it so they need to be convinced to read just as much as they need to be convinced to download content these days because there is everywhere information is everywhere and we only have two eyes.
And that is a really good point and a good thing to end on because you know we’re really appreciative if you’ve listened this long because you know there is a lot of other stuff out there. There’s a lot of competing noise. There’s a lot of competing at voice. There’s a lot of competing thought leadership. So being able to put something out there. That’s gives that value that allows people to want to stick around is really being beneficial so as content creative creation efforts go on. It’s. Very helpful to be able to tap into things that are going to actually build that value in that rapport and make people not want to listen to Shakkira’s new song but listen to you instead. So with that I want to remind y’all to connect with Tiodora.
Um, particularly on Twitter at @EmaPirciu and you know if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us at team andpressa. Um, you can reach out to me at Julie@impressasolutions.com so Teodora thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for being our first guest.
Oh thank you I’m having so much fun.
All awesome and for all of you listening. I hope you’ll come back next week and have a great day bye everybody bye teodora!