The Ultimate Guide To Content Upgrades 

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Want to get more email subscribers so you can sell more of your offers?

Content upgrades are an amazingly simple way to increase your email list in a more targeted and efficient way. 

In this Guide, you’ll learn what content upgrades are, why you want to use them, and more importantly how to plan, create and present your content upgrades for maximum impact. If you follow the ideas in this book you’re going to be super jazzed with the results. 

You’ll explode your list building but not just by building a bigger list but by building a more targeted list of subscribers who will answer your calls to action in greater numbers improving conversions and your bottom line. 

You may be wondering whether content upgrades will work for you in your niche. The answer is a resounding yes. It doesn’t matter what type of business you have - if you have an online presence and use content to market your business - this information is for you.

Let’s get started.

Examples

Optinmonster.com 


On this blog post about using power words that will boost your conversions, they offered a cheat sheet that offered a list of over 700 power words organized by the type of emotions they trigger. 

Come on, who wouldn’t want to download the comprehensive list after reading about how important using power words are? The answer is that only people within that audience would want this download. It’s perfect. 

Zoom.us 

This video conferencing software company is exceptionally good at including a variety of types of content into their blog posts. The example shows a blog post within the contextual link to a content upgrade which is a case study and a PDF download.
If you click it, it’ll take you to a form asking for information before sending you the free case study. This form is long but they are weeding out their audience to ensure that only targeted people get the information
Zoom does this a lot within their blog posts. In fact, most blog posts offer more than one opportunity to get you on their list. They also have a tool bar that comes up at the bottom asking you to sign up. They don’t miss any opportunity to get you on their list.

Teachable.com 

This software is to help people teach what they know through online courses. Their blog post talks about a lot of relevant information regarding teaching what you know. They offer a lot of great business advice in their blogs but they also use content upgrades judiciously.

This was inserted into a blog post about “Six Easy Ways to Make Passive Income” along with other gems and content upgrades. If you click this it leads you to a page that describes the guide, and then another link to get the guide where you will fill out information so that you can get the guide. 

While it seems like a lot of steps in this case (and fewer is almost always better) they’re doing this as a weeding mechanism. If their audience doesn’t want to go through the trouble of filling out the form they won’t get the extra content. 

But if they do fill out the information to get the content upgrade they’re going to be highly motivated and qualified leads which turn them into prospects that are very likely to become customers.

Having the extra step also easily allows them to add this guide to any blog post as well as market the guide individually using the stand-alone URL for the content upgrade.
As you see by the examples above a content upgrade can include many different formats of content. Plus, it can be easy to create if you plan it in advance.

Formatting Your Content Upgrades

Let’s look at some formats for content upgrades.

• 101 List: Did you post a blog post with 6 ideas? Why not offer a continuation of this by giving them a list of 101 ideas? Any list post is fodder for adding more to it. Create and offer the full list as a PDF download.

• A Cheat Sheet: If you’ve learned a good order of operations for your business the people who want to know how you did what you did. Offer them your cheat sheet or checklist to help guide them through the same thing you did.

• A Guide: Everyone likes to learn how to do things with specific instructions. Set up a guide with step-by-step instructions trying to keep it short but with enough detail that they can implement most of what is on the guide alone or in conjunction with your products and services.

• A Slide Show: Any time you have a blog post with at least five points you can also create a companion slide show with it. Offer it as a content upgrade on the post in exchange for their email address.

• Audio: Some people like to listen to things more than they like reading them. You can insert a way for your audience to download an audio of your blog posts as an easy content upgrade.

• Case Study: Let’s say you post a blog post about a new product or service that you’ve created or you’re promoting. Offering more information in the form of a case study which is just a short report, transcript or even audio or video of the person who has successfully implemented the things you’re describing.

• Checklists: This is a super effortless way to offer a content upgrade. Let’s say you offer services related to webinars, you can create a checklist of what you do before every webinar and share it on relevant blog posts.

• Course or Homework: This is great for any type of “how to” posts or information you’re sharing. People like to learn and if you challenge them they’ll learn even more. Offer the homework as a challenge and they’ll sign up.

• Infographic: Do you have a lot of data in a blog post or report? If so you can turn it into a beautiful infographic that you can offer as a content upgrade. Alternatively, you can turn that around, post the infographic, and offer the report as the content upgrade.

• Interviews: Whenever you conduct an interview whether recorded or written they make excellent options for content upgrades. You can write a blog post about the interview then include the audio as an upgrade or include the video interview with the transcript as an upgrade.

• Resource Lists: Most people want to know what you do, how you do it, and what you do it with. This is a terrific opportunity to offer your resource list as a content upgrade giving them an inside view of your technology and resources.

• Short eBook: Most blog posts do offer themselves up for lengthening. If you write any blog post about anything you should be able to offer some sort of short eBook as a content upgrade with even more in-depth information. Let’s say you have a post with 10 points, you can expand on those 10 points to easily make a short eBook as a content upgrade so that they can learn more.

• Short Report: A short report isn’t much different from an eBook it’s just shorter and may focus on fewer points. Reports work great as content upgrades because the reader doesn’t feel as if they must read something overly long but that gets to the point.

• Spreadsheet: Do you use a spreadsheet of some kind to get organized? You can share the spreadsheet to help your audience do the same thing as you. Any blog posts you write relating to the job that you use the spreadsheet for is an appropriate choice to offer it as a content upgrade.

• Stock Images: Have you created some stock images that you took yourself, or you have the right to distribute? Images are always awesome additions to your lead magnet arsenal, especially as free content upgrades.

• Swipe Files: do you have a collection of information that you often reference that you’ve created for yourself? If so then you know how valuable a swipe file can be. Why not create swipe files for your audience based on the topic you’re posting about?

• Templates: Everyone loves to work easier instead of harder. Of course. But not everyone can organize themselves like you do. If you currently have templates you can use them but if you want to create templates for your audience to use with their audience that works too. Great content upgrade because it makes it easy for your audience to implement.

• Transcripts: Anytime you create video and audio the first thing you should do is transcribe it. The transcriptions make perfect content upgrades for almost any type of blog post if you’re talking about the topic.

• Video: Your content upgrades can be in any format but video is especially appreciated because people like them. Offering content upgrades in the form of video will help those that prefer video to sign up. (Remember to transcribe it and offer the print version as well.)

• Your Formula: If you’re good with creating frameworks for your audience to copy they make excellent freebies to offer your audience and are perfect content upgrades. They give insight and allow your audience to use your formula to reap the rewards.

These are all amazing examples of content upgrades in various formats that you can use to entice your audience to sign up for your email list. Content upgrades target readers of your current content and then tempt them with more and better content in exchange for an email address just like all other lead magnets, the difference is mainly the placement.

Planning Your Content Upgrades

Now that you understand what a content upgrade is, you are probably excited to start implementing the idea. You may even already have some ideas that you’ll use. You also now realize that no one cares so much about your newsletter that they have no idea what will be in it but they do care about specific content offers.

They care about content upgrades because they know exactly what the information is about. Yes, they recognize they’re being put on a list to get it too. That’s great. That means they want to hear what you say about this topic and value your ideas and opinions.

Now, it’s important to set up a plan of action for all the content you create so that you can automatically include amazing and effective content upgrades.

Know Why You Are Creating the Content

Let’s say you’ve created a Diet Meal Plan for your audience that you want to sell to them. Therefore, you create blog posts surrounding the topic “The importance of meal planning” to get people to buy your meal plans. You may also insert some educational blog posts regarding the type of diet that you are promoting. 

Depending on the direction you go you might come up with a content upgrade that relates to the blog post but provides extra information. For example, a great content upgrade might be a report or video interview showing the success of someone else on the type of diet you’re promoting. 

If you have already let others use your meal plan you can interview them to create a wonderful content upgrade in text and or video format. You can even make it an audio story if you want to which will help attract people who are on their way out the door and like to listen to information.

But it all starts with understanding why. In this case, the “why” is to sell the meal plans. Anything you can add to the content that will get them on your list so you can use an autoresponder series to promote your meal plan is going to work wonders.

Determine What Segment of Your Audience You’re Targeting

You’ve likely created an audience avatar but you have many segments within that one audience you created the avatar for. For example, your main avatar might be a 30 something over weight mom. But, there are likely different segments within that idea. Sometimes they’re separated by demographics such as age, but sometimes they’re separated by those who have already acted in some way, by behavior.

You can separate your content based on the part of your audience you’re intending to target such as someone who bought already, someone who engages with you, someone who downloads your lead magnets and so forth.

When you segment in that way, creating very specific content upgrades becomes a lot simpler. If someone is reading the blog post, “I lost weight, now what?” Then you know they probably already lost weight and want to know how to keep it off and maintain.

A great content upgrade for that blog post might be a video of you talking about getting to maintenance and how it changed your diet or lifestyle again. Alternatively, it might be a journal that they can use to track maintenance. Once you determine the segment you want to target with the content upgrade you’ll be able to easily create better content.

Understand Where You’ll Place the Content

Content can go in many places. Today you have so many places to put content from blogging on LinkedIn.com, to Guest Posting, to social media updates and more. 

But, your best content should mostly live on your blog and in your email marketing messages. The entire point of marketing outside your email and your blog is to get them to come to your blog and join your email list. You want to give them a great taste for the type of information and the quality of products you deliver, but you want them to sign up to get more.

Therefore, content upgrades should go inside your email messages, (to segment better) blog posts, articles, and even within your social media interactions. But all content upgrades should require an email address and possibly other information that you need before they get access to it. 

The one exception is if you send a content upgrade to people on your email list, tagging via your autoresponder software should suffice to move them to the right segment without having to provide their email addresses again. When deciding where to place your content upgrades start with blog posts and move on from there.

Determine How the Content Can be Repurposed

Don’t skip this part, even though technically you can do the other steps without it. But every piece of content should have a repurposing plan behind it. Even your content upgrades can be repurposed. It helps to make a spreadsheet or keep track of what you’re doing in a project management system like Trello.com or Basecamp.com that lists the content and the type of content it already is and then the type that you’ll turn it into. That way you have a plan.

Decide What Type of Upgrade Will Make This Content Most Effective

When you look at any content you’ve created, think about your audience first, think about the type of information you’ll be giving them secondly, and how you’ll distribute it thirdly while also keeping in mind why you’re creating the content.

This will help ensure that you choose the right type of content upgrade that is most effective for the narrow audience who is reading the blog post content and are given the offer for the downloaded content upgrade. 

For example, a “how to” blog post will benefit from a more in-depth look into the topic using a video or a slide show to give more information as the content upgrade. 

Document Your Process

It’s been mentioned but let’s make an extra note to ensure that you document your process. Use a spreadsheet or a project management system like Trello.com to help keep track of the content you’re creating and using across the web. 

You want to be able to trace the content so that you can schedule it correctly, add the right links for the content upgrades easily, and repurpose the content too. Plus, the better you are at documenting processes the easier it is to get help from someone such as a virtual assistant or content writer.

Documenting what you’re doing will ensure that you have a good plan going forward. It can also ensure that you fill in all the gaps. Additionally, it will ensure that you know for certain that what you’re doing is producing the results you wanted because you’ll know what to track.

Content upgrades should now become part of your content creation plans at the start. That way you know what content upgrades you’ll need to create. It’s a lot simpler creating them right away so that you can enjoy the results from them the moment you publish a blog.

Creating Upgrades for Existing Content

You may already have a lot of content such as blog pots. Therefore, you should probably start with upgrading what you already have while adding content upgrades to part of your overall content strategy and content creation process.

To be successful, follow these steps to get started creating content upgrades for existing posts that will target your audience in the right way.

Analyze Your Current Content

Using analytics software like Google Analytics discover your top 20 (and you can go further if you want to) posts in terms of traffic, engagement, and conversions. Organize them by category and topic so that you know what you’re going to do first based on the things you’re marketing now.

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 one, read through it, notice the date you posted it and what you were promoting.

If you’re still promoting the same thing that’s great if it’s outdated update it when possible. As you’re reading, make notes about what you believe would make a great upgrade for anyone reading this content. 

You’ll have to ask yourself what more would they want to know and how can you deliver it to them?

Determine the Type of Content Upgrade

What type of upgrade do you want to create for the blog post? Think about the various things that you’re marketing right now and how a content upgrade might lead them toward buying those products or services by getting them on your email list or moving them to a new list.

For example, if you have a blog post about “How to Make Healthy Banana Bread” you can make a short video demonstrating the techniques as a content upgrade. If you made a video, you can make a PDF version of instructions available as a content upgrade. It’s up to you.

Create the Content Upgrade

Now that you’ve decided what to do, all you do is create the content. It can be as simple as a combination of five 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 to it.

Look above to find all the diverse types of content upgrades that you can create as a content upgrade. 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 it or view it.

Add the Content Upgrade

Adding the content upgrade can be done in a few ways. It depends on what technology you’ve invested in. For example, if you have landing page software like Leadpages.net or Clickfunnels.com you’ll do this differently than if you are using another method. LeadPages.net has an asset delivery feature, and Clickfunnels has a way to do it easily too.

But basically, you create a landing page for the content upgrade. This page should describe the upgrade as if it’s a product you’re selling and include images for the product such as the cover. Some people call the page other names like a squeeze page or a sales page.

If you have Convertkit.com you can create the form, and then choose the content upgrade page (URL) that you created and then add the form directly to the blog post and they’ll be delivered to the right page automatically so that they can get their free content upgrade.

Alternatively, you can just link directly to the sales page by linking it to text on the blog post. When the reader clicks through they’ll see the form to download the content upgrade.
The easiest way to set it up is by using the software you have whether it’s Aweber.com, Convertkit.com or something else. Look to the software’s instructions before embarking on it so that you know the simplest way to do it with your resources. 

Some software you might consider if you don’t have it already is:

• Landing Page Software – Leadpages.net, Converzly.com, Instapage.com, Clickfunnels.com.

• Autoresponder Software – Aweber.com, Convertkit.com, Drip.com (good to use with Leadpages.net).

• File Storage – You can use your website’s storage but it’s cheaper to use something like Amazon S3. You can even use Dropbox in some cases although some people report issues with links getting broken easily. 

• Amember.com – This software is really shopping cart software but it’s also a cool way to deliver free products and get them into your email marketing funnel. 

This software will help you create a seamless delivery process of not only paid products but also free products and services. You can do everything listed without everything except autoresponder software. But it is easier and faster with the software.

Short Cuts

Creating content upgrades doesn’t have to be difficult. It can be quite easy if you start thinking about it. These are some short cut tips for creating content upgrades, can you add to the list?
1. Combine Other Content -- If you already have a lot of content that you’ve created over the years organize it and combine it to make something new that will work as a content upgrade for someone reading the content you’re upgrading. Add some graphics, charts, and other things to make it stand out.

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

3. 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 or case study very easily. This is a terrific way to create content upgrades that are relevant.

4. 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 a difference to them and make them want to sign up for your email list? Give them that information.

5. Make it Attractive -- When you create a content upgrade, develop it like you would any other product you create. Use a professional looking cover; consider the typography that you want so that it looks like a professional package of content.

6. Don’t Forget to Create Content for Your List Too -- As you are creating the content upgrades think about what type of content you’re going to send to them based on which list (or segment of your list) they signed up for due to the content upgrade. Having at least 7 emails set up will help you stay ahead of the game.

These tips will help you move forward with adding content upgrades to your content marketing strategy. Remember, analyze the content you have, fill in the gaps with updated content using content upgrades that require 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 sign ups to your email list is that you can present them in numerous ways and in many places for top results. You don’t have to and shouldn’t pick just one. Give them many opportunities.

• Within the Content – Using contextual links within a blog post is one way to deliver content upgrades to your audience. You don’t necessarily have to point it out when it’s within the content on top of key word text. But, it is more effective to point it out.

• At the Bottom of Posts – Below every single post you publish is a great place to put a call out box with the content upgrade (lead magnet). This is a great 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 the problem is, statistically they do work. However, it does depend on your audience. You can make pop ups less intrusive by having them slide down from the bottom or come up over on the side or only appear if the reader points to it. But, make no mistakes 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 a few 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 rests of the story in the form of a report or white paper. 

These locations are excellent for placing content upgrades to present to your audience. You don’t need to pick only one place to put the links for your content upgrades either. You can put them in multiple places at a time if it doesn’t look cluttered.

Test, Track & Tweak

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As you implement these ideas it’s imperative that you learn to test, track, and tweak everything that you do. When you do this, you 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 (or whatever you’re comparing) and then based on your goal check your analytics weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Whatever you want.

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

Opt-in Copy
Most landing page software allows for simple A/B testing. You may have a harder time doing it without the 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, if you change the copy from page A to page B only change one thing such as the headline. If you change too much it will be hard to tell why one worked better than the other. Keep changing if you keep increasing results.

Graphics
The type of graphics you use on your landing pages, blog posts, and even in your freebies. To know what to use, know your audience. Ask them about images you’re looking at so that you know what they prefer. Again, when you’re conducting A / B testing it’s best to change only one image at a time.

Forms
Different types of forms attract different types of people. Some of your audience will be turned off by asking too many questions of them but that might be what you want to do. Test out various levels of information on the forms, as well as types of forms, such as pop ups, pop under, slides, and static.

Page Placement
Where you place the content upgrades matter 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 areas using A / B testing with your landing page software. Look at the analytics to find out which version is working better and keep tweaking and testing against new placement always using the one that works best long term.

Colors
The colors you use matter a great deal to your audience. Choosing the right colors will 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 will help you move your conversions to okay to fabulous. 

Trigger Words
The words that you use are important. They activate your audience to act if used properly. They repel your audience if used incorrectly. Look up trigger words to find a list of words that you can use to help prompt your audience to answer your calls to action.

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 every lead magnet that you create as if it was your most expensive product you’re going to succeed.

Time for Action

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Finally, it’s time for you to put into action what you’ve learned. According to statistics, you can increase your opt in rate by over 500 percent by implementing content upgrades. To get started fast 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 lead magnet they’ll need.

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 use to fill in the gaps. The gap content can either be new blog posts and articles but it might also serve as perfect content upgrade ideas.

3. Determine 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, go ahead and use your best post to add content upgrades to first. The reason is that any post that already gets good traffic will show you immediately how well content upgrades work to get more subscribers. 

5. Create New Content for the Gaps with Content Upgrades Included
Since you noted the gaps in your content that’s a great place to start with new content creation. But, sometimes a gap in content can also be a great idea for a content upgrade. If it’s totally new content always plan from now on to add a content upgrade to each blog post you make. Sometimes the content upgrade can be the same content upgrade that you used on another post with the same type of information.

6. Invest in Landing Page Software
If you don’t have landing page software yet, you really should consider getting it. There are choices in all price ranges. Some to look at are Clickfunnels.com, Instapage.com, Converzly.com, BeaverBuilder.com, and Leadpages.net. Some autoresponders have some form of landing page capabilities but often they’re not as robust. 

7. Invest in Autoresponder Software
You probably do have autoresponder software already but ensure that you have the right type that works for you now but also in the future. It’s not that easy to switch. For example, read the TOS clearly because some services like MailChimp, for example, do not allow you to do any type of affiliate marketing. Start with a system that has all the bells and whistles that you’re going to need in the future that allows for different plan levels so you can expand when needed. 

8. Create Autoresponder 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 content to keep them on your list. The more interesting and original the content you offer your list 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 fast with targeted customers who want what you’re offering them.
The key to everything is to get started. You’re going to be so much further along in a short period of time if you implement what you learned than if you just move on to the next thing. 

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.

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