When you have a great new content asset, you have many options for how to get the word out about it. Some examples:


  • Post on LinkedIn, driving traffic to a landing page with a form to fill out
  • Advertise the content on LinkedIn and collect leads via native lead forms
  • Advertise the content on LinkedIn and drive the traffic to the landing page
  • Etc.


We had just finished the Ultimate Guide to Advanced LinkedIn Advertising and we were extremely proud of the content. Internally, we debated how we would publicize the guide as we wanted to get it into as many hands as possible, for the least amount of cost.


As we considered these options, we weighed the pros and cons of each and decided to use a different approach for distribution–something we call “Comment Gating.”


What is comment gating? Well, it comes from the concept of gating, which is to require someone to fill out a form, or take some specific action in order to gain access to an offer.


Comment gating, then, is unlocking access to the offer after a user leaves a comment on a specific post.


Before I share how it’s done and why, I need to drop a disclaimer – comment gating can definitely be worthwhile, but it is massively time-consuming when done correctly. If your comment-gated post is successful, be prepared to spend a LOT of time in conversations on LinkedIn (actually a great thing).


Why Comment Gate on LinkedIn?


One of the most beautiful things about posting on LinkedIn is that it’s the easiest social network to go viral on (unless you look good in a swimsuit, then Instagram and TikTok may be your jam).


Where Facebook’s algorithm is constantly trying to take stuff out of your feed, because there’s so much competition, LinkedIn is able to put your content in the feeds of those that you’re not even connected to.


How does this work? Let’s say you post something and you have 1,000 connections. Then let’s say that I have 1,000 connections, and I go comment on your post. LinkedIn sees that your post is getting engagement, so it decides to show your post to a portion of my 1,000 connections too.


Your post is still being seen by your connections, but now it’s also being seen by mine, and everyone else’s who comments.


For this reason, it’s not uncommon to have a post with 5,000 views on it when the poster only has 1,000 connections. This is going viral on LinkedIn.


So, basically, when you comment gate, you’re incentivizing your audience to comment, which causes your post to go viral.


How to Comment Gate


1/ Start out by creating a post where you introduce the offer that you’re giving away. Let people know that they’ll get it by leaving a comment.


I’ve seen many of these types of posts where commenters are told to type a specific phrase to get access. I would advise against that, since a whole slew of identical comments likely don’t look natural to LinkedIn’s algorithm, and could result in an unnatural stifling of your post. Instead, just ask them to comment on the post, and let all the comments feel natural.


Respond uniquely to every comment to ensure every commenter feels valued. This can become difficult if there are hundreds of comments, but schedule time for it, and involve your team members if necessary.


Write in the post that if you’re not already connected, you’ll be sending out connection requests with the link to the content, so that commenters will be watching for your request.


2/ Anyone who is already your 1st-level connection, open up a LinkedIn message, and send them a link to the guide. This is the easy part.


3/ Anyone who you’re not already connected to, send customized connection requests to each of them.


You can choose to leave a link to your content right in the connection request (easiest), or wait for them to accept your connection request, and then send them the link in a LinkedIn message.


We decided to make it as simple as possible and include the link in the connection request so we didn’t have to monitor as connection requests were accepted, and then send messages. It’s possible at small volumes, but with thousands of comments, simplicity is key.


4/ If your post gets a lot of comments, you may hit a wall where LinkedIn says you can’t send any more connection requests for the week. If you’re using the free version of LinkedIn, you’ll hit this wall sooner than if you have a premium account.


I suggest replying to commenters and simply explaining that you ran out of connection requests, and ask them to send you a customized connection request mentioning the content offer. Then you can accept nearly-unlimited (30k total) connection requests, and send infinite messages since they’re now a 1st-level connection.


Should You Try to Automate This?


If you follow the steps I’ve outlined here, and your post is successful, it will take a LOT of time. Plan on that.


Naturally, you might ask if you should try to automate any part of this process. My answer: Absolutely not, and that’s really the point.


When you automate your social interactions, you destroy the trust of your audience.


Unique responses and messages are extremely difficult to fake. If every commenter feels like they have a relationship with you, you’re much more likely to stay top of mind. Magic happens with real relationships.


The second your connections feel like they’ve dealt with an automated response, they question their value to you, and are more likely to see your brand as a faceless organization that they have no relationship with.


This is destruction. Don’t do it. The hours that you put into this strategy are a labor of love.


What Were the Results?


At the time of writing, the post had over 126k views. Considering I only had ~29k followers at the time, that means the post reached over 4X the people that I could have expected to see it. It went viral.


451 people left a reaction (which does aid the virality of the post, but not nearly as much as comments). 19 people re-shared the post to their own networks.


The post had 2,427 comments. I followed my own rule to respond to every commenter, so over 1,000 of those comments were me, but that leaves over 1,000 comments asking for the guide.


In B2B marketing, we know getting someone to download your content does not mean they’re ready to hop on a discovery call immediately, but it can be a valuable touchpoint in introducing them to your brand.


Of the commenters, only about ¼ were my existing 1st-level connections, so I reached a much wider audience than one might expect.


Now the majority are 1st-level connections, and when I post my daily content, this is an audience of those interested enough in LinkedIn Ads to want an advanced guide, which is a great, new audience for us.


I went from around 29k followers to almost 32k in the 2-week period that the post continued to generate comments.


I have now had countless conversations with new connections through DMs afterward. I’ve gotten to start many new relationships and get valuable feedback on the guide. It’s allowed me to invest time into relationships, which I find very fulfilling.


Ultimately, I think those who received the guide cared more about it than they would have if they downloaded it from a form because of the personal interaction with the author.


What if We Didn’t Comment Gate?


We created a landing page with a form, so we could have simply linked to that page in a post. Our average post gets around 10k impressions, and that page gets around a 50% conversion rate, so I might have hoped for 30+ downloads. Not quite the results I’d hope for after creating something that I’m so excited about.


We’re obviously keen on advertising on LinkedIn, so what if we decided to advertise this guide? I expect we probably would have paid between $30-$60 per download. For 1,000 conversions, we likely would have had to spend $30k-$60k on ads. And I doubt that we could actually get that much volume, even if we wanted to dedicate that large of a budget to this campaign.


Comment-gated posts feel much more personal and authentic than an ad or a form. Conversion rates are significantly higher because of it. By choosing comment-gating as the method of distribution, we multiplied the expected results manifold from what we could have realistically expected.


Does Comment Gating Always Knock it Out of the Park?


This content distribution strategy is not a silver bullet and doesn’t guarantee success.


Success in a comment-gated post requires 2 things:


1/ The post is attention-getting


2/ The offer feels like an extreme value (early access, free, limited, etc.)


That being said, it’s a great choice because:


  • The feel is highly-personal and authentic
  • Low friction to acquire great content (not having to fill out a form with personally-identifiable info) results in high conversion rates
  • The viral mechanics built into LinkedIn get your content in front of many outside of your existing reach


Have you ever tried comment-gating a post? How did it perform and what did you do differently? Share below!


PS: You could pour in the massive amounts of time and money required to learn, optimize, and scale LinkedIn Ads on your own. Or you could pass it off to an expert with 12 years and $150M+ of experience in the platform.


Our data-driven approach to ads management, combined with our proprietary tools, allow us to confidently optimize and scale your LinkedIn Ads faster and more efficiently than any other agency, in-house team, or digital ads hire.


Interested? Consider booking a discovery call with us. We’d absolutely love the chance to get to work with you!


Written by AJ Wilcox