Should You Require Registration for Content Downloads?

Popular human resource blogger (voted Best Technology Recruitment Blog by Joel Cheezeman posted a blog on July 31st titled selling to hr? hrmarketer survey says ’seo rocks’ highlighting the results of our research report HRmarketer’s Trends in HR Marketing: HR Buyers’ Behavior 2007.

While we normally require registration to download HRmarketer's free white papers and research reports, Joel, in his blog posting, provided a direct link to the PDF report.

My mixed reaction to Joel's posting was excitement (great exposure for and a little frustration because with the direct link to the report, we wouldn't capture any sales leads.

Or wouldn't we?

When I emailed Joel about this, he responded by telling me you have to "give to get". I can't argue with Joel. I trust his judgment considering the enormous popularity of his blog - and how viral marketing helped it get so popular (that, and great content). I also trust the judgment of thought leadership strategist David Meerman Scott who also believes in the "give to get" philosophy.

This is undoubtedly a popular topic. A recent blog posting on the subject by HRmarketer's Kevin Grossman sparked a lively debate on the subject. Kevin said:
I respectively disagreed about not requiring registration, adding that based on the research we’ve done in the HR marketplace, as long as you’re offering quality, informative content that your buyers are hungry for and that will help their organizations be more effective – and you sell products and services beyond straight content – most will take the time to fill out an online form to receive your content offer. And that’s where you start the lead-capture process to build your house marketing list – but you don’t want to immediately pass those “suspects” over to your sales team, not yet. David commented on that recently and we wholeheartedly agree. Start by delivering quality content to your target market, execute online marketing campaigns to create that thought-leadership equity, capture those leads, capture more leads, build your house list, nurture your house list, continue to deliver valuable content to your suspects and prospects, woo them with Webinars and demonstrations, and at some point they will come to you and want to buy.
So, what do we do?

Our position at and what we advise our clients is to have a mix of registration free content and content that requires registration. We still believe this and can make a very persuasive argument to anyone who disagrees (contact us if you'd like to talk).

But Joel, David and others have inspired us to give some serious thought about the 'mix' of content.

In the near future, we will move to a model of requiring registration for our latest valuable human resource marketing and PR reports for a short, introductory period of time. Then, after a month or so, we'll open it up to the public and not require any registration. We believe this will help our already excellent SEO, online visibility (more content for Google to spider) and help with our viral marketing. We'll let you know.

Posted by Mark Willaman

Labels: , , ,