Gated content for doctors - how to create and promote it

by Brian A Jackson
by Brian A Jackson

The first rule of gated content is that it has to be of a higher quality than an ungated piece.

Every day Google handles more than 1 billion health-related questions [1]. That number includes not only those asked by patients but, most importantly, by doctors. Healthcare professionals are now self-educating through digital means, using medical apps, websites, online courses, e-communities, and many more. What they seek is a reliable source of information that they can trust and rely on for their medical practice.

Considering that reliable health-related information has become a prerequisite, healthcare and pharma marketers have an unprecedented opportunity to base their strategy on high-quality medical content creation. According to the State of Healthcare Content Marketing report, 96% of healthcare marketers claim that their content strategy has shifted in the light of the digital transformation accelerated by the pandemic [2]. As a response to the growing demand for reliable information, the created content is becoming more educational, growth-oriented and brand-centric. All with the purpose of providing caregivers with news and updates they really need. 

As medical content marketing is heading toward innovation, turning into more patient- and doctor-centered, it is high time to reconsider content strategies for healthcare and pharma, digging deeper into the topic of gated content for doctors. Read more and discover top strategies for high-quality medical content creation and the ways to promote it.

In short - what’s gated content?

In a nutshell, gated content is any material that your recipients can access only after exchanging their personal information, purchasing, or/and having a subscription. Meaning that, by providing valuable content, you want something in return, such as a name, email address, and sometimes, a phone number.

Gating content requires a lot of work on your part

What benefits can gated content bring to your healthcare or pharma brand? Firstly, the approach based on exchanging data is an efficient strategy to generate valuable leads. As people leave their personal information, it can be a great source of emails for your marketing database. Meanwhile, relying on the subscription model of gating supports bringing high-quality visitors to your website, improving customer loyalty as well as building a community among your customers.


Besides, the concept of gated medical content complies with some national or regional (such as EU) drug advertising restrictions imposed on pharma businesses. Although certain promotional activities for medicinal products are restricted to healthcare professionals only, they still have to comply with the general rules that apply to all advertisements for medicines [5]. Therefore, if the content has to be addressed exclusively to HCPs, gated access is a solution that allows you to reach your target audience effectively. As doctors have to initially sign up as verified healthcare professionals, you both comply with strict advertising restrictions and take advantage of reaching out to the group you want.

Key benefits

Nevertheless, achieving these tremendous benefits is not a piece of cake. People recognize quality. As doctors are giving something in return (such as their private data or money), they expect and demand highly valuable and insightful materials. Thus, your gated content has to be impeccable. The only question is how to create high-quality content for your brand - whether healthcare or pharma and efficiently promote it to achieve satisfying results?

How to produce valuable gated content?

The principle rule of any content creation strategy is that your content has to be relevant to your audience. The same – or even more – applies to the gated medical content. Convincing doctors to rely on your brand as a provider of content is only possible after ensuring that your content targets their needs, interests, and expectations.

In order to get there, your materials, as well as the method of presenting and distributing them, have to be perfectly tailored to healthcare professionals. As the way of writing differs depending on the age, level of education, and knowledge of the subject in the target group, you have to acquire specialized knowledge of this particular group you want to communicate with. 

When it comes to doctors in general, what they require is content that is authoritative and trustworthy. As the internet is essentially full of articles and posts of both experts and incompetent authors, they seek a reliable source of information that applies to their medical practice.

When it comes to physicians, digital native doctors constitute probably the most important group for your marketing purposes. In short, digital natives grew up and completed their medical training in the digital age, which means that the internet, smartphones, and social media play an essential role in both their private and professional lives. As they acquired a deep understanding of digital media due to regular and seamless interaction, their expectations regarding the quality of online content are much higher than any other generation. Consequently, besides the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult to catch their attention, their ability to verify doubtful information can easily damage confidence in your brand.

To encourage HCPs to gain access to your gated content, it is of utmost importance to keep it high-quality and doctor-centered. Your materials have to be not only appropriately supported by data from reliable sources but also extremely engaging and accessible. The path that can help you achieve such ambitious goals is the Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) approach to your medical content creation.

High-quality medical content creation

The primary goal of Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) is to base your claims on scientifically proven knowledge – therapeutic protocols coming from peer-reviewed studies and guidelines of international societies. Consequently, you shift from an individual perspective to carefully verified data and precise statistical analysis gathered by clinicians and scientists from all over the world. Using the EBM strategy, you do not expect that drug X cures disease Y – you are simply informed how many patients with different histories and comorbidities have recovered after the treatment with X.

In a nutshell, a process of high-quality medical content creation is based on 5 principle steps that you cannot overlook. It includes:

EBM steps

Following these steps will ensure that your gated content provides additional value for doctors while keeping it reliable and trustworthy. Nevertheless, basing your materials on the best evidence possible is not enough to make your content high-quality. What is needed to make them more desirable for recipients is to turn the scientifically-sound text into engaging content. To get there, customize your message to the particular target group and keep it simple. Remember that the same topic interests each generation or specialty from a different perspective. Even if you start with a basic introduction, in which there is relevant information for every medical area, you should (then) dig deeper into the scope of curiosity of the specific target group. Read more about High-Quality EBM Content Creation here and discover how not to lose yourself in the labyrinth of research, how to make complicated topics highly accessible, and what is the recipe for a successful process of cross-checks.

e-book ebm

How to promote gated medical content?

As we mentioned some types of content dedicated only to healthcare professionals have to be under restricted access because of the EU or national regulations. Besides, materials, available only after filling the form, constitute a great opportunity for your business to generate leads and improve customer loyalty. Thus, once you create high-quality gated content for doctors, you have to ensure to reach your target audience with it effectively.

If your website has already a large group of loyal followers, promoting your gated content should be a piece of cake. Make a landing page, post and promote it on social media, send an email announcement to your subscribers, and voilà! However, if you bet on lead generation, your promotional activities are more challenging to carry out. Get support from professionals who specialize in communication and marketing strategies for the healthcare and pharma industry.

The first solution that we’d recommend is to include links and calls to action to download your gated content in all of your blog posts and guest-contributed content. As doctors come across your website and ungated content, they may get interested in reading more about a particular subject that you’re providing. 

The second, more resource-absorbing, albeit highly profitable way, is digital advertising and social media activity.

Social media and paid ads

Paid advertising

Social media can be an incredibly effective way to spread the word about your new content. Depending on your particular field, some channels will be more effective than others. But, for many pharmaceutical or healthcare companies, merely establishing a social media presence on all relevant platforms poses a challenge. Discover why social media and medicine are a powerful combination to make your business grow.

As digital native doctors are fully embedded in online reality, they are active on a variety of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. Make your message stand out and find a channel that suits your target audience best. For instance, if your gated content includes an interesting visual element, original research, or extraordinary insights, consider pulling out quotes or creating basic images to highlight its value for social media. To spur your target audience into action, add a brief, albeit compelling description of the gated content to incentivize potential readers to download the gated asset for more information.

Once you make a message that catches the eye, boost it up with paid ads, such as Google Ads. It is a great way to kickstart your search traffic and help give a landing page of your gated content an extra boost. Nevertheless, keep in mind that Google Ads has guidelines for pharma and healthcare that you have to diligently follow if you do not want to make your ad disapproved or your account blocked. Find out the top 3 challenges of targeting doctors with Google Ads here.

Rely on professionals

Gated medical content should be a unique combination of illuminating insights from healthcare and pharma experts presented in a clear and captivating manner. In essence – when you’re gating content, you’re offering something valuable.

Wishing to create a high-quality gated content strategy, adopt the EBM approach for medical content writing. Once you come up with gated materials that matter, think over promotional strategies to derive substantial benefits from your medical marketing strategy. To help you grow even further, rely on professionals who specialize in digital communication with healthcare professionals. With seven years in managing digital healthcare, we as Brandmed feel confident in our ability to guide you and help you scale your medical business. Fancy a little talk about the success of your medical project?

Get in touch


  1. Drees J., Google receives more than 1 billion health questions every day [last accessed: 01.06.2022].
  2. The State of Healthcare Content Marketing: The Era of Forced Evolution[last accessed: 01.06.2022].
  3.  Huhn J., Advantages and Disadvantages of Gated Content [From Marketing Experts], [last accessed: 01.06.2022].
  4. Huhn J., Gated vs. Ungated Content: 44 Experts Weigh In, [last accessed: 01.06.2022].
  5. Dennis A., Wessing, T., Distribution and marketing of drugs in the EU: overview,  [last accessed: 01.06.2022]. 
  6. A. Caitlin Carter, K.D. Houle Sherilyn, Evidence-Based Medicine: An Overview for Pharmacists, Editor(s): Zaheer-Ud-Din Babar, Encyclopedia of Pharmacy Practice and Clinical Pharmacy, Elsevier, 2019, 
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