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3 Surprisingly Effective Content Upgrades and How to Create Them in Less Than 10 Minutes

Effective Content Upgrades

I think you’ll agree with me when I say:

It can be EXTREMELY challenging to increase your email subscribers.

What if I told you that there was a way to substantially grow your email list?

Well, in today’s post I am going to show you how you can do this using three various techniques that should take you no longer than 10 minutes to complete.

To Grow Your Email List, You Need to Do Things Differently

If you’re looking to grow your email subscribers, you’ve thought of every possible angle to offer readers the opportunity at joining your list.

You likely have opt-in forms plastered all over your website.

And these opt-in forms aren’t converting in ways you would like them to convert. Are you okay with that?

Sure, you can A/B test all day long with each and every one of these opt-in forms.

But chances are, they are just not converting and something needs to change.

It’s a game that every marketer plays

Where should I place my opt-in form?

Is the sidebar more visible and effective?

How about the footer?

Or better yet, maybe I should place my opt-in form on the header of every page.

It is not that easy.

No matter where you place your opt-in form or how many you have on you website, conversions are going to be hard to come by.

Derek Halpern of SocialTriggers, suggests that even though you think you may have too many opt-in forms on your website, chances are they may still be invisible to your readers.

One of the most highly effective ways to gain email subscribers is by using the content upgrade.

A content upgrade is an additional piece of supplementary and specific content that you offer your readers in exchange for their email address.

Brian Dean of, increased his site-wide conversion rate by 185% by simply adding a content upgrade to 15 blog posts on his website.

What Makes for an Effective Content Upgrade?

Content upgrades need to be:

Instant: It is delivered in-post and only takes a couple of clicks for your reader to access.

I wrote a complete guide on how to use LeadPages and Mailchimp to deliver your content upgrades. There is also an example of a content upgrade in that post that you will love.

Relevant: They enhance the post by offering supplementary content.

For example:

You’ve written a post about the different ways to use video to promote your product. A high converting content upgrade might be a listing of the tools you use in your video studio.

Action-oriented: They deliver a skillset or offer tools that your reader can immediately apply.

Here are the 3 surprisingly effective content upgrades and how you can create them.

Create a PDF Overview of Your Post

Not every visitor to your blog has the time to read through your 4,000 word masterpiece.

I bet if you took a look at your analytics to break down the post that had the most hits, your average time on page wouldn’t equate to the amount of time it took to read that particular post.

Offer your reader a PDF download of your post in exchange of their email address.

Here’s a great example from Brian Dean of Backlinko.

Content Upgrade Example

Or better yet, create a PDF checklist of the most important points of the post.

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Open up Google Docs in your browser and create a new document

Content Upgrades

Step 2: Copy and paste your entire post in that document

Content Upgrades

Content Upgrade

If you have used sub-headings in your post (which I recommend for SEO purposes), Google Docs does a great job at instantly creating a table of contents for your post.

Step 3: Select Insert and then choose Table of Contents. This will automatically generate your clickable table of contents.

Content Upgrade

Now it is time to export your blog post into a PDF

Step 4: Go to File and those choose Download as and select PDF Document (.pdf)

Content Upgrade

Create a Video of the Technique You Are Writing About

According to one popular theory, the VARK model, there are four primary types of learners. One type is the visual learner. Those who like to see what they are learning.

To engage with these types of learners, a video resource will create a powerful learning experience.

Create a quick video clip of you actually going through the strategy or tool you are writing about.

Here’s how you do it:

There are a few different ways you can accomplish this. If you own a Mac, you can use QuickTime to record your screen.

Open up QuickTime and navigate to ‘File’ and then ‘New Screen Recording’.

Content Upgrades

Tip: Before you record your screen, close all extra browsers and put your computer in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode.

Content Upgrades

You want to eliminate any type of distraction so your visitor can concentrate on the subject at hand.

Now you can use a program like ScreenFlow to make any necessary modifications or updates to your recording.

Package a List of Blog Posts to Help Your Reader Do Something More

Your readers are always looking for ways to do things more effectively and efficient.

And sometimes you won’t have all the answers.

But chances are, you know other blog posts that do have the answers.

This would be a great time to provide your readers a list of blog posts that offer ways to do things differently.

Here’s how you do it:

Step 1: Download and install the chrome extension “Scraper”. This chrome extension allows you to scrape the links that are on a specific webpage.

Step 2: Go to and do a quick search for the content that your blog post is about.

Content Upgrades

This will provide you with a list of relevant blog posts.

Content Upgrades

Step 3: Filter the list of blog posts based on ‘Total Shares’. This sorts all the posts that have the most shares on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn.

Content Upgrades

Step 4: Hover over one of the links and right-click and select ‘Scrape similar…’. This will open up a window that will allow you to copy the relevant links on the page.

Content Upgrade

Step 5: Copy this code into the XPath input box ‘//tr/td/div/div/div/a‘ and then hit Scrape.

Content Upgrades

Step 6: This will now generate the list of links on that page. Click on the button ‘Export to Google Docs…‘.

This will open all the links in a Google Docs spreadsheet that you can now customize and create as PDF download of your document.

Content Upgrade

You now have a list of additional blog posts that should further assist your visitor in accomplishing the task you set out for them to achieve.

These are 3 different ways to create content upgrades that should not take you more than 10 minutes and help you start growing your email list.

What types of content upgrades are you creating for your blog posts?