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White Papers, Ebooks, and Infographics, Oh My! How-To Guide to Creating Gated Content

Struggling to drive leads and get the conversion numbers you need? Now’s the time to seize the power of gated content  - whitepapers, ebooks, and other in-depth content that sits behind a form.

You might have heard the term “Lead Magnet” before. A lead magnet is the same thing as gated content, and those words can be used interchangeably. For the sake of this article, we’re going to use the term “gated content” (basically anything that’s available if a user enters their email address in order to obtain something of value from your website, ads, or other digital marketing).

Sure, it might seem counterintuitive. If you’re already chasing conversions, wouldn’t gating your content behind a form present an additional obstacle? 

Not at all! High-value gated content actually tempts people to connect with your company on a deeper level. It presents a psychological give-and-take that sets the stage for a thriving relationship.

Why Does Gated Content Work?

Gated content capitalizes on the concept of qualified leads, or reconnecting with people who have already expressed some level of interest in what you do. When you use gated content, you strive for lead quality rather than lead quantity.

This means instead of throwing endless resources at attracting everyone in the world, you focus your resources on attracting just your best prospects. And here’s some great news: Those prospects end up feeling intrigued by your business and grateful for your help. They’re well on their way to becoming loyal customers.

Which Types of Content Should Be Gated?

Generally speaking, long-form content pieces are the best candidates for gating. Ebooks, for example, present a huge amount of valuable information in a handy, easy-to-read format. Your audience is likely to feel comfortable enough sharing some basic personal information in order to get the ebook.

White papers also make excellent gated content, particularly if they contain expert tips, advice from well-known professionals, or new and innovative industry research. White papers help establish your authority in the industry and boost your reputation.

An infographic can’t generally work alone as a strong lead magnet on its own, behind the gate. However, you can use infographics to promote other (gated or non-gated) pieces of content like ebooks and white papers.

Confused? Take a look at this handy flowchart from HubSpot that helps you decide when to gate your content. As you can see, infographics and blog posts generally aren’t gated content. But many other forms of well-written content can go behind your gate, like lists, white papers, and ebooks.

Of course, the key term here is “well-written.” So let’s tackle that issue next: creating high-quality gated content.

What if I Don’t Know How to Write a White Paper or Ebook?

If you don’t know how to start writing your own gated content, you’re not alone. While 72% of marketers say having good content is a major part of their success, 60% say it’s challenging to create quality content on a consistent basis. When you’re not a writer, where do you even start?

A copywriter can come to your rescue. Work with a writer to develop an editorial calendar and schedule of content publication dates, and they’ll ensure you always have fresh content to offer your audience. 

Another concern is finding a talented copywriter you can trust. Content marketing companies either employe copywriters or contract with them, so start there. A great content marketing company hires great writers you can rely on for high-quality work.

How Do I Create Effective Infographics?

Infographics present information in a bright, eye-catching format that’s incredibly powerful for your audience. Almost any concept looks better when it’s shown in a bold, colorful infographic.

Just like written content, you don’t have to create infographics yourself. Connect with your content agency and ask if they could either provide infographics or recommend who they use. A web designer/graphic designer can review your information and develop an effective infographic.

How Long Should My Gated Content Be?

Length is always a concern when it comes to gated content. You don’t want it to be so short your audience feels cheated, but you don’t want to present something that’s so long your audience will lose interest. Here are some guidelines.

White papers

  • In the science/research world, a highly scientific white paper might be 30 to 50 pages long and could require the input of 4 to 6 people.
  • For all other purposes, a  6-to-8-page 3,000-word white paper written by a single subject matter expert is usually adequate. Research shows that 96% of people prefer white papers that are less than 10 pages long.


  • An ebook is a white paper’s shorter, spunkier sister. The shortest ebooks are about 1,000 words and longer ebooks are about 3,000 words.
  • While it might have 6 to 8 pages like a white paper, it’s designed to be visually less dense with easily digestible graphics and facts.


  • An infographic should be a single well-designed piece of visual content, easily viewed at a glance.
  • Use infographics to distill down complex information, ideally using simple text with fewer than 200 words.

How Do I Get the Most Out of My Gated Content?

After you’ve created some stellar gated content, make sure you get the most out of it. Here are some tips for maximizing your investment:

Create more gated content from existing content. Look back at your archives. Could you repurpose an old blog post to become a new ebook? Boom. There’s more gated content.

Build gated lists. People love “best of” and “top 10” lists. So take some of your existing content and repackage it into a gated white paper or ebook on a core topic, like “The 10 Most Effective Sales Strategies We’ve Seen This Year.”

Cross-promote the heck out of it. Promote to and from your gated content. Include your video links in your ebooks. Offer your ebooks on social media. Create social media events around your white paper interviews. And on and on.

Let’s Create Gated Content Together

For more helpful tips like these, connect with the content creation experts at 11outof11. We’re a gold-rated HubSpot partner with extensive experience developing white papers, ebooks, and more.

Request a complimentary call with an 11outof11 marketing expert

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing