Use Content Upgrades To Grow Your List Faster – Part 2

Content upgrades - 2Last month I introduced the idea of content upgrades —freebies that you add to your blog posts to build your list and provide extra value. (Read it here.)

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • How to add upgrades to existing posts 
  • Different ways of presenting the upgrades 
  • How to track your results 
  • Some short-cuts 

If you follow the ideas here, you’ll not only grow your list faster, but you’ll also get more targeted subscribers. 

Creating Content Upgrades For Existing Posts 

You may already have created content, such as blog posts. If that’s the case, you can upgrade the content you already have. To target your audience in the right way, take the following 5 steps for creating content upgrades on existing posts:

1-Analyze Your Current Content
Using analytics software (such as Google Analytics), find your top 20 posts in terms of traffic, engagement, and conversions. Then organize them by category and topic, so that you can choose what you’re going to work on first, second, third, etc.

2-Read Posts & Make Notes
Once you’ve isolated the most popular content you have on your website and blog, you need to read through it. Starting with the most popular piece, read through, noting the date you posted it and what you were promoting.

If you’re still promoting that same thing, fine. But, if it’s outdated, update the copy to a current promotion. As you’re reading, make notes about what you believe would make a great upgrade for anyone reading that particular content. Ask yourself, “What more would they want to know?”  What  can you make to help with the content in the form of a worksheet, template, or cheat sheet, etc.? 

3-Determine the Type of Upgrade
To decide on the type of upgrade to use, consider the various things that you’re marketing right now, and how a content upgrade might lead readers toward buying those products or services. For example, if you have a blog post about “How to Make Healthy Banana Bread”, for a content upgrade, you could make a short video demonstrating techniques. Or, if you first made a video, you can make a PDF version of instructions as a content upgrade.  It’s up to you.

4-Create the Content Upgrade
Now that you’ve decided what to do, all you need to do is create the content. Consider all the diverse types of content upgrades that you can create. It can be as simple as a combination of, say, 3-5 blog posts made into a report and turned into a PDF file with some pretty pictures and a professional looking cover. (You always want to make it as attractive as any product you’d be proud to put your name on.) The point is to make it good enough that they want to click on it and give their information to you in order to download or view it.

5-Add the Content Upgrade
Adding the content upgrade can be done in various ways. It depends on what technology you’ve invested in. For example, if you have landing page software like,, or, you’ll do this differently than if you are using another method.

Basically, you create a landing page for your content upgrade. This page should describe the upgrade the same as if it’s a product you’re selling, and it should include images for the product such as a cover. (Some people call this page other names, like a “squeeze page” or a “sales page”.) For cover graphics, I use Canva to make the flat cover and ecoverauthority to make the 3-D cover.

Here’s an example:

landing page

If you have  or, you can easily create a form, and then choose the content upgrade page (URL) that you created. Then you can add the form directly to your blog post, and your reader will be delivered automatically to the right page to get their content upgrade.

Alternatively, you can just take them directly to the landing page from the blog post with a link or a graphic.  When the reader clicks through, they’ll see the form to download their content upgrade.

Here’s an example of a graphic or call-box:


Here’s an example of a call-box in the middle of a post:

Upgrade-1Software you might consider, if you don’t have it already, is:

  • Landing Page,,
  • Autoresponder, , (good to use with
  • File Storage Software – You can use your website’s storage, but it’s cheaper to use something like Google Docs or Amazon S3. You can even use Dropbox in some cases, although some people report issues with links getting broken easily. 
  • Shopping really shopping cart software, but it’s also a cool way to deliver free products and get readers into your email marketing funnel. 

Short-Cuts for Content Upgrades

Creating content upgrades doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some short-cuts:  

Combine Other Content — If you already have a lot of content that you’ve created over the years, combine and re-organize parts of it to make something  that will work as a current upgrade for readers.  Add some graphics, charts, and other things to make it stand out.

Change the Format — Once you collect all the content that you already have, you can simply change the format. Put audio or video into text, and vice versa. Make a list-blog post into a slide show. Put like blogs together to make a report. Expand a blog post as information for a webinar. Record the webinar, and use the webinar as the upgrade.

Transcribe Video & Audio Content — Anytime you record a video or audio, make sure that you get it transcribed. Once it’s transcribed you can clean up the information and use it as a report. This is a terrific way to create content upgrades that are relevant. 

Give Them What They Want — When you read each blog post that you want to add a content upgrade to, think about what the reader wants. What do they want and need that will make them want to sign up for your email list? The answer to that question is your upgrade.

Make it Attractive — When you create a content upgrade, develop it like you would any other product. Use a professional looking cover; choose typography that will make it look like a professional package of content. 

Don’t Forget to Create Content for Follow-up Emails — As you are creating upgrades, think about what type of additional content you can use for follow-up emails. Having 4-7 emails set up in advance will help you stay ahead of the game.

These tips will help you move forward with adding content upgrades to your marketing strategy. Remember, analyze the content you have, fill in the gaps with updated content using upgrades that entice your audience to sign up to get more.

Different Ways To Present The Content Upgrade

The awesome thing about content upgrades (besides how much you’re going to increase your email list) is that you can present them in numerous ways and in many places. You’ll want to give readers many opportunities, such as:

  • Within the Content – Using contextual links within a blog post is one way to deliver content upgrades to your audience. 
  • At the Bottom of Posts – Below every single post you publish is a great place to put a call-out box with a content upgrade. This is an effective place to put it, because, if a person reads the entire article, they’re an excellent candidate to consume what you offer.
  • With Pop Ups – Many people claim to dislike popups. But, according to statistics, they often work. However, it does depend on your audience. You can make popups less intrusive by making them exit popups. But, make no mistake, pop ups done right—work.
  • In the Middle of Content – If you have a long blog post, an excellent way to display and present a content upgrade is a call-out box between paragraphs one or two times throughout the piece. 
  • Not Just the Blog – Content upgrades don’t have to be only on your blog. You can put them on any page of your website. A terrific location is your About Me page. Give some information, but ask for an email address to get the rest of the story in the form of a report or white paper. 

These locations are excellent for placing content upgrades. And you can pick more than one place to put your links if it doesn’t look too cluttered. 

Test Track & Tweak

Test, Track & Tweak Everything

As you implement these ideas, it’s imperative that you test, track, and tweak everything that you do. Doing this will improve your conversions exponentially. 

First, you need to understand your goals, define your metrics, and know when to look at the analytics for comparison. 

For example:

        Goal – Increase sign-ups by 1000 targeted sign-ups in 90 days. 

        Metrics – Autoresponder and Landing Page Software Analytics along with Google Analytics

        Comparisons – Look at your analytics before implementing, and note your current conversion rate and then,          based on your goal, check your analytics weekly, monthly, or quarterly. (Whatever seems appropriate.)

Let’s look at some ideas of what you can test.

1) Opt-in Copy 

Most landing page software allows for simple A/B testing. You may have a harder time doing it without landing page software, but you can still do it using Google Analytics and two sales pages. 

When you test something, you want to test only one thing at a time. So, for example, if you change the copy on page A, only change one thing, such as the headline, the copy, or the graphic (if you have one). This is because, if you change more than one thing, it will be hard to tell which one worked better. If changes keep increasing your results, keep on changing.

2) Graphics

To know what  type of graphics to use on your landing pages, blog posts, call-out boxes, and your upgrades—consider your audience’s preferences. And again, when you’re conducting A versus B testing, it’s best to change only one image at a time.

3) Opt-in Forms

Different types of opt-in forms attract different types of people. Some of your audience will be turned off if you ask too many questions of them. But that might be what you want to do to make your audience more targeted. Test out various levels of information on the forms, as well as types of forms, such as popups, slides, and static.

4) Page Placement 

Where you place content upgrades matters as much as everything else. You can put them everywhere, if you can do it without the page looking cluttered, or you can test out a few different placements using A / B testing. Look at the analytics to find out which version works better, and keep tweaking and testing new placements, always using the one that works best long term.

5) Colors

The colors you use matter a great deal to your audience. Choosing the right colors can make all the difference. The right color is based on your audience and the colors they like—not the colors you like. Testing different form colors, image colors, and more, can help you move your conversions from okay to fabulous. 

6) Trigger Words 

The words that you use are important. If chosen properly, words activate your audience. If used incorrectly, they repel your audience. So test trigger words that you can use to help prompt your audience to answer your calls to action, such as: 

  • Download Here
  • Get Immediate Access
  • Yes. I want it!

As you track, test and tweak every aspect of your blog to ensure the most sign ups, you’ll notice that you’re getting more results than you thought possible. As long as you’re out there promoting your blog posts, and you create every content upgrade as if it were your most expensive product, you’re going to succeed. 


Now it’s time for you to put into action what you’ve learned. According to statistics, implementing content upgrades can increase your opt-in rate by over 500 percent. To get started, do the following:

1-Analyze the Content You Have Now

Using Google Analytics, determine your top 20 posts. Update the posts that need updating. While you’re editing you can determine the right type of content upgrade each post needs.

2-Note the Gaps

Everyone has content gaps. When you look at the popular content you have, you will likely think of new content that you need to fill in the gaps. The gap-filling content can be new blog posts and articles, but it might also serve perfectly for content upgrades.

3-Determine the Types of Content Upgrades You’ll Offer

To get started fast, choose a type of content upgrade like a report, checklist, or something you know how to create, so that you can get it done fast. You can also outsource if you want types of content upgrades you don’t know how to create yourself, such as an infographic. 

4-Develop Content Upgrades for Your Best Blog Posts

Before starting with brand new content, take your best post and add your content upgrade to it. The reason is that any post that already gets good traffic will show you immediately how well the content upgrades work to get more subscribers. 

5-Create New Content for the Gaps with Content Upgrades

Since you noted the gaps in your content, that’s a great place to start with new content. But, sometimes a gap in content can also be an idea for a content upgrade. So now, when making new content, always plan to add a content upgrade to each blog post. (Note that you can use the same content upgrade on more than one post, if appropriate.)

6-Invest in Landing Page Software

If you don’t have landing page software yet, you should consider getting it. There are choices in all price ranges. Some to look at are:

Your email service provider may also have landing page capabilities, but beware that they’re not always as robust as the above software. 

7-Invest in an Email Service Provider 

You probably already have an email service provider, but  be sure that you have the right type that works for you (not only for now, but also for the future), because it’s not that easy to switch. And, some services like MailChimp, don’t allow you to do any type of affiliate marketing. Start with a system that allows for different plan levels, so you can expand when needed.  

Some to consider are:


8-Create Email Content Based on the Content Upgrade

Don’t skip this part, because when you get people on your list, it’s important to provide excellent email content to keep them on your list. The more interesting and original the content you offer, the more likely they’ll stick around, open your email messages, and act.

9-Go for It

Finally, this is the time you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to implement what you’ve learned, so that you can build your list faster with targeted customers who want what you’re offering them. 

The key to everything is to get started. Take the time to understand what you’ve learned and implement it, and you’ll be reaping the rewards quickly. They’ll show up in a healthier list, higher open rates, higher click through rates, and increased revenue.

Download the worksheet for  Content Upgrades 2 below.

Download Content Upgrade workbook 2

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