Content Locking: Is It Really Effective?

Content Locking Is It Really Effective

Content locking prevents users from changing the content of a page or app without the creator’s permission. It is usually used to secure the intellectual property against theft or accidental/unexpected edits but can be applied in many situations. 

It can also be applied to limit access to certain news articles or social media posts to certain people or groups of people and prevent everyone else from seeing them. The applications are endless, and it’s certainly a feature that is here to stay.

What is Content Locking?

As the name suggests, content locking is achieved when content, such as videos, images, or articles, is made inaccessible to certain people or groups of people. This is usually achieved by either preventing the content from being modified or deleted or by enforcing access controls. 

It was originally developed to protect content created from a business’s intellectual property (IP) but can be used in many other ways. The applications are endless, and it’s certainly a feature that is here to stay.

Why Use Content Locking?

The most obvious and perhaps most common application of content locking is to secure IP. Videos, articles, and other content created by a business can be protected by preventing others from modifying or deleting them. 

In cases where an independent producer has created material for a business to use but doesn’t have contractual rights to do so, then content locking can be used to prevent the content from being distributed or used elsewhere without permission. The same argument can be made about images. 

Suppose a product is advertised in a magazine, but the photographer’s rights are not licensed for that particular use. In that case, content locking can be used to prevent that image from being used elsewhere without permission. 

In cases where a third party has created content (e.g., a journalist) that the business finds valuable, then content locking can be used to prevent that content from being distributed or used elsewhere without permission. 

It should be noted that in all these cases, the IP owner still has the option to give permission for that content to be used under certain conditions (e.g., a royalty payment).

Another common use of content locking is to secure documents and other content that should be kept private. If a business has valuable and/or proprietary information that they don’t want to share with just anyone, then content locking can be used to protect that information. 

The information itself doesn’t have to be protected against physical theft (although that’s a typical use case). It can simply be kept private so that unauthorized users can’t access it. There are many cases where content locking was used to ensure that certain information didn’t get leaked or spread inappropriately. 

Content locking can also be used to prevent certain types of information (e.g., Social Security numbers) from being stored in plain text files or accessed by those who shouldn’t have access to it. 

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Finally, content locking can be used as a way to protect intellectual property by ensuring that unauthorized users can’t steal it by just looking at it (e.g., through screenshots). 

For example, suppose a business had designs for a new product that were simply too good to pass up but didn’t have the manufacturing capacity to produce it themselves. 

In that case, content locking could be used to prevent those designs from being stolen and used by competitors. In cases where unauthorized users discover a way to get around content locking, it’s often game over for the business.

Pros of Content Locking

Did you know that some apps and games offer a “content-locker” feature that prevents you from saving media files such as images, videos, or music to your device? It’s a nice feature to have, but what are the benefits of content locking? Let’s run down the pros.

  • Maintain Control Over Your Content

One of the main benefits of having a content locker is that it gives you control over what kinds of content you save to your device. If you don’t want to save certain images or songs to your device, you don’t have to. 

You can also protect your privacy by hiding sensitive information such as credit cards and login details. So, in addition to being a great security feature, it also gives you control over what kinds of content you save.

  • Saving Content Is Harmless

Another pro of content locking is that it prevents any damage that could occur from saving content to your device. Since the content is locked, there’s no chance of your device becoming corrupted from too much storage use.

It’s also worth noting here that some devices, especially older ones, don’t always handle large amounts of content well. So preventing errors from happening is always a good idea.

  • Reduce The Digital Divide

Having content locked means everyone can access the content, reducing the digital divide. Since a particular device or account doesn’t own the content, it prevents these devices and accounts from becoming segregated. 

This means that regardless of your device or account, you’ll always be able to access the content you need. This is a pro that will be especially valuable to people with limited storage, as it allows them to keep their data organized and prevents them from running out of space due to misuse.

  • Protect Your Privacy

It’s a well-known fact that the private sector is constantly trying to gather as much data about us as possible. Why? To simply sell us products that can improve our daily lives or track our habits. 

This often leads to concerns about our privacy. Did you know that content locking is an effective way to ensure that your personal information stays private? 

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Since the content is locked away, there’s no way that anyone can access it with your personal data. Even if the company that made the app or game that you’re using decides to share your information with a third party, they can’t do it without your permission.

  • Offers An Unrestricted Backup

One of the great things about having a content locker is that it offers an unrestricted backup. This means that you can back up your content without worrying about filling up your device’s storage. 

Since the content isn’t stored on your device, there’s no chance of losing it if it malfunctions. Of course, regularly backing up your device is a good idea anyway, as it ensures you can always retrieve your content in the event of a catastrophe.

  • Saving Content Is Easier

Content locking makes it easier for users to save content to their devices. Since the content is more accessible, it requires less effort to save it and less clutter in the process. 

Content locking will change your habits and make you much more efficient if you’re used to manually sorting your content into various folders or just dumping it on your device without much thought.

Deciding whether or not to enable content locking on your device is simple. Just check the app’s or game’s settings to see if it offers this feature. If it does, then enabling it is a no-brainer and will almost certainly improve your experience.

Disadvantages Of Using Content Locking

The most obvious disadvantage of using content locking is that it prevents legitimate sharing — the very thing that your product is built on! Another disadvantage is that content locking burdens the user, making them think through each action (e.g., sharing) carefully instead of taking the easy way out and opting for auto-sharing.

How To Ensure That Content Is Read

To begin with, one way of ensuring that your content is read is to make it easily accessible and interesting. This means including helpful, engaging content that will pique the reader’s interest. It also means ensuring that the content is presented in a way that is easy to understand, interesting, and doesn’t overburden the viewer.

How To Ensure That Content Is Followed (e.g., Researched, Credited, Shared)

Ensuring that your content is followed (i.e., researched, credited, and shared) is essential to garnering credibility as a content creator. One way of doing this is to use a research utility such as Google Keyword Planner to easily find popular keywords or phrases that relate to your niche and then use these to build your content list.

The Importance Of Engagement (e.g., Likes, Shares, Comments)

Getting your audience (i.e., readers, viewers, or customers) involved in some way is essential to making an impactful content strategy. Although getting involved with your content isn’t necessary for every piece of content, the more interactive and engaging the content, the better. 

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This could mean taking a more traditional approach and using social media to engage with your audience, or it could mean creating a buzz by engaging with your audience through some form of content, such as a blog post.

The Value Of Content Creation

Creating high-quality content consistently demonstrates your value as a content creator as it builds on the experience and demonstrates your knowledge in your niche. The best part is that you can use this content to attract potential customers and, in the process, build a following.

Increased Website Traffic And Generated Leads

One of the biggest advantages of using content locking is that it can help drive website traffic to your site. Let’s say, for example, that you run a real estate blog and you’ve previously built a strong following of interested readers. 

If you decide to implement content locking, you could use this tool to prevent anyone but you from sharing your content. Naturally, this would mean that those readers would have to seek you out specifically to learn more about real estate or to purchase a property.

Depending on how you intend to use content locking, you could see increased site traffic from current and new audiences. 

On the one hand, existing readers might wonder why they do not see new content or why some content isn’t available for them to read. On the other hand, new readers might find your content intriguing enough to click through and learn more about your niche.

More Effective SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is about making your website content as relevant and useful as possible for the keywords or phrases your potential customers use to find your product or service. 

Naturally, whenever your content is made public, it allows anyone to discover it and therefore finds and clicks through to your site. That said, if you’ve locked some of your content, it prevents any chance of being discovered publicly and used by Google or other search engines to determine your rankings.

Ensuring that your content is relevant and of high quality will inevitably make you deem some content non-public. In doing so, you’re allowing yourself to engage with your audience through another channel (i.e., email, social media) and follow up with these readers periodically to keep them engaged.

Start By Understanding It

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand what content locking is and can be useful for your content strategy. Just remember that there are disadvantages to any tool or technique, and you just need to be sure that this is the right approach for your brand.


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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