Get this! When you search for "advanced content" on Google, the first result is a featured explanation from Wikipedia talking about DVD formats. Second and third relate to advanced content management systems, and only when you descend further down the SERP do you see anything related to "advanced content" in inbound marketing.
So, what the heck is this stuff? In this article, we'll address the confusion around the term "advanced content"—as well related concepts such as "gated content" and "downloadable content."
Defining "Advanced Content" and Its Role in Inbound Marketing
Here at Weidert Group, we use the term "advanced content" to describe the content we use to drive prompt conversions. In other words, to get visitors to submit their information and become contacts (and hopefully leads), we need something to offer in exchange.
In most cases, the best ways to generate conversions is to present visitors with submittable forms to fill out in exchange for content. Generally, this is called "gating" a piece of content; a lead must go through the gate in order to access the content they're looking for. While online forms are the #1 way to gate advanced content, there are other ways as well: passwords, a visitor's level of activity (cookie or IP-enabled), or account sign-ups (e.g. in eCommerce).
By gating a piece of content, you've enabled that content to drive conversions. The key, of course, is to make sure that leads find your content worthwhile after they get through the gate. One of the reasons we don't refer to advanced content as gated content is because there are times that you'll want to leave some content of lesser value open and ungated. With ungated advanced content, marketers have the opportunity to assist a conversion by demonstrating to visitors just how valuable their ungated content is—and by inference, demonstrating the value of the denser, gated stuff.
Whether gated or left open, the unifying definition of advanced content is that it advances visitors into your marketing funnel by converting them into leads. Typically, you would measure the success of your advanced content by the number of conversions it generates on a monthly basis.
What Does Advanced Content Look Like?
The conventional wisdom on advanced content is that each piece should generally be downloadable, usually in a PDF format. We refer to these pieces as eBooks, Whitepapers, Tipsheets, and Strategy Guides, and the expectation is that a lead would download it, take a quick look immediately, likely read it later, or maybe just forget about it. As informative and content-heavy as these text-based pieces might be, you can't expect every lead who converts to actually consume the material.
These days, there are many new, compelling approaches to advanced content media—from video to interactive portals to downloadable template apps. With more technical expertise and investment, your advanced content can take on new, exciting forms.
Companies like Wistia are changing the shape of advanced content by offering in-window gates on videos, no matter where they're embedded. It's a solution worth checking out, especially if your company's leads are more likely to watch a video than download a guide.
What Kind of Advanced Content is Appropriate at What Point?
You've probably noticed that advanced content can differ greatly, even on a single website. Even at Weidert.com, we have some content pieces that are 30 page-long eBooks, and an equal number that have just a few, highly informative pages. We strive to appeal to a broad range of prospects, and thus, we have a variety of attractive pieces looking to convert leads. To learn more about what kind of content fits various points in a prospects' journey, check out this blog on converting leads according to their buyer's journey. Or, if you don't have time to read a whole blog, check out the infographic below: