Plus Why It’s Important to Offer Gated Content
I talk about content-rich marketing a lot here. But I want to stress the importance of finding a balance between rich content and gated content.
Rich content is useful content that is free. It is what draws people to your brand. And for many, that kind of content keeps them around too.
But for superfans, you can take it a step further by creating a VIP experience with gated content. For these superfans, it’s important to have a mix of free and gated content that gives them a feeling of community but also exclusivity.
The Importance of Gated Content
If content rich marketing is so important, what’s the big deal with gated content? Having exclusive paid-to-access content for superfans has many benefits. First, it allows you to connect with your most engaged audience on a deeper level. This is especially important for larger brands. As your community grows, it can be hard to connect with all of your followers, but gated content allows you to put a spotlight on those highly engaged audience members that you want to keep around. If you don’t engage with them, they may drift away.
Second, you can get tons of insights from these superfans. It’s not just insight into your most engaged followers, it can give you insights into your broader audience. You can learn not only what kind of content your audience gets excited about, but also what can help grow your superfan community.
Finally, for influencers and small brands, gated content allows you to create a more reliable monthly income through regularly sharing gated content. This more reliable income allows creators and small brands the freedom to create additional content without worry. With gated, exclusive content, you’ll be able to get something back monetarily from your hard work, which is a great bonus on top of the deeper connections and insights!
Now that you understand the importance of adding gated content to your mix of marketing content, let’s take a look specifically at the new Instagram Subscriptions feature and how you can use it to improve your marketing game. (If you’d like to learn more about the basics of Instagram Subscriptions, be sure to check out our guide article.)
1 | Get a Pulse with Subscriber Chats
While much of the subscription offerings have been relatively content-based, Instagram is changing that with a feature within Subscriptions called Subscriber Chats. This allows brands and influencers the opportunity to build a community with their subscribers. You can discuss different topics of interest with your subscribers and even get ideas from them about what they want to see next from you or your brand. This new content can be free or gated. These are the kind of personal insights you can get into both your superfans and your broader audience.
It’s important to note that up to 30 subscribers can join your chat from a “join chat” sticker that you need to post in your Stories. This makes even your gated content exclusive and drives a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). These chats also end after 24 hours, allowing you the ability to decide exactly when you want to engage with your subscribers.
2 | Hold an Exclusive Live
When you set up a subscription feature, whether it’s on Instagram or another platform like Patreon, it’s important to remember that you have to deliver on what you promised to your subscribers, or they will cancel their membership. Sharing content such as posts, Stories, or Reels on Instagram Subscriptions is one way to deliver the goods, but another more exciting and engaging way is through a Subscription Live.
Video is king, but live video is the superior video content for marketing! Whenever you go live in your Subscriptions, your subscribers will be notified. A Subscription Live, just like the chat feature, allows you to engage with your superfans on a real-time basis.
Here are just a few ideas to help your marketing game with a Subscription Live:
- Give first looks at a new product
- Offer exclusive classes or tutorials
- Offer exclusive discount codes
- Hold a private Q&A
- Share more exclusive content
Whether you are a fitness studio holding exclusive online classes, an artist sharing an exclusive class, or a clothing store showing off a new line that is about to drop, you’ll find that Subscription Lives are a great way to get your superfans engaged plus get feedback into the content you are sharing for insights on a broader level.
3 | Promote Your Subscription Feature
Don’t forget to promote your Subscription! There are two reasons you need to do this. The first is to grow your subscription base by teasing some of the things you do and share with your subscribing members. Growing your superfan community isn’t just about making more money, though it is nice. What it’s actually about is getting a big enough slice of your target audience in order to gain reliable insights.
Second, letting people know you have gated content is a bit like the proof in the pudding. When you promote your gated content, it can make your free, rich content be perceived as more valuable too. Not everyone will pay for your gated content, but by knowing you have gated content, your broader audience will see you as a thought leader in your industry or niche and place more value on your free content. It’s like a rising tide lifting all boats, in a sense.
Creating a mix of free and gated content can help improve your marketing in so many different ways. First, it can help you build deeper connections with your most engaged followers and creates a VIP experience for them. Second, it allows you to gather insights into what makes your broader audience tick. Finally, it can even position you as a thought leader and place a higher value on your free content.