By now you probably know that content upgrades are one of THE BEST ways to grow your email list. Especially if you’re starting from scratch! You can’t beat giving your audience super valuable content and then providing a huge incentive to trade their email address for even more information.
A content upgrade is an additional piece of content that users must submit their email address to download. Why is collecting email addresses beneficial? Because you can segment your email list by the types of information people download (for example: blogging, business, freelance) and then move them into an automated email sequence that provides even more information and ends with a pitch to purchase a product or service.
Content upgrades are THE best way to provide your audience with a massive amount of value and build your email list at the same time. And it’s THE biggest way I’ve been able to grow my own list on a daily basis.
While I’m sure you’re convinced it will cause a spike in subscriber numbers and sales, actually coming up with content upgrades on a regular basis might prove to be challenging. So today I’ve got EIGHTEEN ideas for how you can add value to your blog posts and boost that email list every single day!
Information on how to create all of these and deliver them is at the bottom of this post. :)
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This is probably one of the more simple and obvious solutions. Create a worksheet for readers to take the information you’ve provided and apply it to their own situation. Write out all the questions posed in your post so your readers can work through the problem and come up with a solution specific to their niche. My top content upgrade is a 10-page workbook to help my readers have a more productive day (check it out here). In a little over two years it has brought in over 12,000 subscribers and is one of my top blog posts traffic-wise too!
This is great for list posts that help remind people to stay organized or on track. I ended up creating a content upgrade after I published this post because someone commented that they’d love to print the list and put it on their wall.
How about those list posts that people will need to go through on a weekly or daily basis? Creating a checklist that readers can print, laminate, and then use over and over makes for a super valuable content upgrade. And you don’t have to start from scratch. What checklists have you created for your own projects that your audience might find useful.
>> Are you making these 4 mistakes that keep your email list from growing?
Maybe the content in your post is just a fraction of what you know and you actually have enough information to turn it into an ebook. This would also be great practice if you see some passive income in your future and want to figure out how all that ebook stuff works with a little less pressure.
If you want to take things a step further, break what you know into 5-10 lessons and either upload the content into a membership platform like Teachable or set up an automated email sequence. My free beginner blogger course, Dare to Blog, has been one of the best content upgrades I’ve created adding almost 5k subscribers to my list in a year with minimal marketing!
This is a really great option if you’re looking to connect with your readers outside of your blog and boost engagement. Everyone says that webinars are the big subscriber-earner, but my stats seriously disagree!
And if you want the step-by-step process for hosting a challenge that really works to grow your list . . .
If your blog post covers a more complicated technique (creating a content upgrade, for example), including the steps with photos and longer explanations can be a massively valuable addition to your post. Add all the instructions with photos into a PDF so readers can print it and walk through the steps as they’re working.
Set up your webcam or record your screen and share the exact steps to teach your readers to do something. What part of the process might they need a little more explanation to get through or would benefit from seeing you go through the process step-by-step on video?
How can you further expand on the information in your blog post? Maybe it’s tips and tutorials, maybe it’s personal insight, maybe it’s daily prompts. Consider how you might inspire, entertain, or educate your readers by connecting with them over multiple days. You don’t have to start from scratch on this one. It’s a great way to give life to blog posts in your archives or share emails that have been popular with subscribers in the past.
The resources for actually building and delivering all of these items could have been compiled into a PDF, page, or email and added as a content upgrade itself. But I’m feeling kind / lazy today so you get them all for free.
Maybe the extra information would be better sent as an audio upgrade – for example, a yoga lesson or a morning meditation. Think about your ideal reader listening to podcasts on their morning commute – what could you share with them in 30 minutes or less?
>> If you’re rocking the content upgrades but they aren’t being clicked very much, this might be your problem
Have you hosted webinars? Take the recording of a past webinar, drop it into a landing page, and add the link into an auto-responder when new subscribers opt in.
If your main piece of content is a webinar or a podcast, you could create a transcript as an extra download. This would be a great way to track who is interested in that subject and promote related products to them as well.
Email templates, sales copy, form letters – what does your ideal reader need to write that they may be struggling with? Create a mad libs-style template they can use to create their own stuff.
I added cheat sheets to many of my courses because I cover lots of tools quickly. This way students have a quick reference guide no matter which lesson they’re on. Any technical info in your post that could use a cheat sheet as well?
This is a great way to create a visual representation of your blog post content and break it down into bite-sized pieces. If the information you’re presenting is long or complicated, your audience might appreciate being able to work through it item-by-item presentation style.
Add more voices to the mix. Including a bonus interview with another expert in a video, text, or audio format could be a major upgrade for your post.
Combine a bunch of these items into one package for an extra valuable upgrade! A video tutorial with worksheets and checklists – I can see you salivating already! This is an epic way to help your readers accomplish a goal or learn something new. It could even turn into a limited-time freebie that you’ll add to your shop later on. (Ya know, since you’re collecting emails and tracking how many people are downloading like a smarty pants.)
OK Sarah, How exactly do I create and share all of these things??
Sumo is the most simple way I’ve found to collect emails and send out content. Use their drag + drop builder to create an opt-in pop-up, attach your download, connect it to your email platform, and then copy/paste the link into a blog post.
You can also use a ConvertKit form by adding the free download right into the autoresponder under Incentive Email. You can attach your freebie within and then update the button with a specific action.
P.S. If you want a full tech tutorial on how to set up + send content upgrades I’ve added it to Dare to Email, my list launching course!