Affiliate Marketing & Programs

The Deal with Content Unlocking


The idea of locking content is somewhat new to the affiliate marketing world. Well, maybe not the idea itself, but the term “locked content” certainly is.

The basic principles are pretty simple. As an affiliate or a product owner doing business from your own website you can choose to have some content locked to the general audience. In order to view this content the visitor has to take a predefined action.

The action can be anything that makes sense to you – the website owner, and results in more business coming your way. The most common ways of unlocking content are:

  • Signing up for a newsletter or other kinds of email subscriptions.

  • Clicking a link.

  • Sending a tweet.

  • Sharing something on Facebook.

  • Submitting a comment.

  • Sending a testimonial.

  • Completing a survey.

  • Going to a partner’s site and performing a given action there.

  • And of course … purchasing something.

There are many possibilities, and they are all for you to discover depending on the kind of content that will be unlocked by that action. This brings us to the topic of most popular types of locked content.

In essence, there are no rules here. You can choose to lock any type of content you want. However, it has to be something valuable, something that your visitors want to get access to. Some of the popular types of content are:

  • Premium articles and how to guides.

  • Insider news.

  • Exclusive resources.

  • Case studies.

  • Pre-made research papers.

  • Interviews.

  • E-books.

  • Special reports.

  • Cheat sheets.

  • Crash courses.

  • Full online courses (access to an education platform).

  • Audio tutorials and all sorts of audio content.

  • Premium packages of graphics.

  • Apps and software.

  • Webinars.

  • Video tutorials and all sorts of video content.

These are only the possibilities, and it’s your job to make them work and seem attractive enough to your visitors.

Of course, from your point of view, the goal of the whole operation is to get users to take your desired action. The content is only a kind of bribe.

This is a good moment to discuss some pros and cons of the whole content unlocking strategy.

Pros of Content Unlocking

If done right, one of the biggest advantages of including content unlocking as part of your content marketing strategy is that it significantly increases conversions.

In essence, content unlocking is just a new term for bribing someone to take action on your offer. For example, displaying an opt-in form on your site along with a message that every new subscriber gets your exclusive PDF report on something, is basically a content unlocking implementation.

Offering a bribe has been known as a conversion booster for a number of years now, and content unlocking is just an expanded version of it.

Another benefit of content unlocking is that your bribes can become viral on their own. If you’re offering something really interesting then people might want to share it with the world. But the key to making that work is to offer something that is seemingly much more valuable than the action you’re asking for in exchange. This will make people comfortable with sharing your message with others. Otherwise it just seems like a regular offer.

Furthermore, once you create a truly valuable piece of content you can use it for years to come. And depending on your current goals you can change the unlocking method constantly. That’s also why it’s important to spend a sufficient amount of time on developing your locked content and making it truly valuable.

One more benefit is that content unlocking is a clever market research tool. Whenever you launch a new piece of locked content you can observe what your niche’s response to it is. After a month or two you can decide whether pursuing similar projects is worth the effort in the future, or you may also decide to take your locked content and turn it into a fully developed paid product (if the audience is really into it).

Cons of Content Unlocking

Of course, there are some downsides too. The biggest of which is that many websites operating on this principle are suspicious and portrayed as scams.

This is something you’ll just have to overcome with your solid offer and some clear rules. You also need to be careful not to be too aggressive with your offer (all kinds of pop-ups, etc.), and not to do anything that can be seen as scammy. There’s a really thin line in your visitor’s mind between an OK-product and a scam-product.

Content unlocking also requires some time before you can launch your promotion. Product or content development always takes a while, no matter how big or little the product is. Especially when you want to create something truly attractive and worth sharing.

Other things are all the technical difficulties. WordPress can be used to implement content unlocking in a simple way, but it’s not the best way. In order to make it work you’ll need some external plugins that will cost you money (in most cases).

Finally, there’s no telling if your content has the potential to become successful, so you might end up spending your time and money for nothing.

In the end, content unlocking is just another tool marketers can use. It’s your job to use it wisely. Now that you know some pros and cons of content unlocking you can decide if you want to incorporate it into your site and marketing process. Of course, your results may vary depending on your niche and position in it.

Don’t forget to comment and let us know what your opinion about content unlocking is. Is it working for you like you’ve expected?

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One Response to The Deal with Content Unlocking

  1. haslockers May 11, 2012 at 1:17 am


    very good article about content locking, and we just developed a platform for content locking, check it out


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