The Key to Making Content Locking Work


“Won’t my readers get angry if I use a content locker like WP Sharely?”

This is a question several people have asked me, so it seems like it might be a common concern. Is it a justified concern? Will you turn your loyal readers off, in exchange for some social shares and traffic?

Yes, but only if you use Sharely wrong. In this post, let me explain how to use Sharely (or any content locker), while getting a positive reaction from your visitors.

It’s Not About Locking Content

Yes, Sharely is a content locker, but you may notice that I rarely ever call it that. Content locking is the function of this plugin, but it’s not its purpose.

The difference between implementing a content locker in a way that angers people vs. a way that delights people can be summed up in a simple sentence:

“Don’t deprive people of something they were expecting to get.”

If you take a random blog post of yours and you lock away part of that post, demanding social shares in return for the content, your readers will probably be angry about that.


Because the title of your post contains a promise. Let’s say your post is “10 Tips from the World’s Top Sock-Knitting Pros”.

If people start reading that post and after tip number 5, they see that the rest of the content is locked, you’ve broken your promise to them. You’re holding something back that they were expecting to get.

Now imagine this alternative: they read the 10 tips and then find a locker that says “did you like these 10 tips! Take 2 seconds to give us a share and we’ll give you one extra bonus tip!”

Now, the reaction will be very different. You delivered on your promise, nobody was expecting an 11th tip and the incentive is just a small nudge to get them to share a piece of content they already like, anyway.

Or how about this: they read the ten tips and at the end, they see that they can get a “Guide to Speed-Knitting”, in return for a share. Again, people will be delighted to get a  free guide, relevant to their interests, and all they have to do is share an article that they read and enjoyed.

The Nudge

The examples above are what I call “the nudge”. You offer a small bonus after delivering great content, and it can easily increase the social shares you get by a factor of 10 or more.

You can think of it like this: if someone reads and likes your content, they are most likely open to sharing it on social networks. But they often don’t do it because they don’t think about it, they’re lazy, they’ve already shared something else recently, or any number of reasons.

Now, imagine that right when they finish reading your post, you’d call them on the phone and asked them: “did you like this content?”

The answer would be: “yes, I loved it! Otherwise I would have stopped reading.”

So, you’d follow up: “would you be willing to share this with your friends?”

They’d probably say something like: “sure, I guess.”

They’re not super excited about sharing your post, but they’re open to it. If you give them just a tiny nudge, they’ll probably share. If you could call them on the phone, that would definitely be enough to convince them to share. But that’s not very practical.

Using Sharely to offer a small bribe in return for a share is exactly such a nudge.

The Unadvertised Bonus

The second way I use Sharely is by offer an unadvertised bonus on the thank-you page in my email opt in funnels.

Here’s an example:

appoftheweek example

Readers sign up to receive weekly emails with recommendations for useful business and marketing apps. On the thank you page, they see the above offer.

As you can see, the Sharely bribe is not something new subscribers would expect to get. It’s likely to be relevant to their interests, but it’s a pleasant surprise, not an evil lock on some content they thought they’d get for free.

Don’t Let the Fear Get You

With the examples above, I’m sure you can see how content locking can be done in a way that doesn’t elicit negative reactions. There may, however, be something deeper going on, if you had this concern in the first place.

You see, asking for a share in return for something is essentially a form of selling. It’s a transaction of value. And some people are scared of selling.

Actually, most people are scared of selling, the first time they do it.

“What will people say, when they see me asking for money in return for my products/services? Will they point and laugh, and tell me my stuff isn’t worth anything?”

This is a very common fear, and one you need to overcome, if you want to grow you blog or your business. Providing extra content in return for a social share is a simple transaction. Your content is worth it and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for something in return for it.

Check out this interview for more on the topic of effectively using content lockers.

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