Grow Your Blog With Content Upgrades: What They Are & How To Use Them

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Grow Your Blog With Content Upgrades- What They Are & How To Use ThemContent upgrades sound snazzy, right? WordPress offers it as one of its plugins. You might have seen offers of tools to set it up in a snap. But what is it and what can it do for your blog?

Content upgrades are lead magnets. They build your list. You get your reader’s emails and they get something great in return.

Lead magnets are right there in your landing page as a juicy, irresistible welcome. Content upgrades are found in a specific blog post only. They’re called upgrades because they give extras, a bonus, something in addition and in connection to the content your audience is already reading. In essence, you reel in readers you’ve already hooked.

[yellowbox]Want a template that will make creating your content upgrade super easy? Just download this super easy checklist template and customize it with your own logo and content to create your next content upgrade in minutes![/yellowbox]

It’s like giving them hearty soup, and offering another serving. Or perhaps a spoonful of minced toasted garlic to go with it. Mmmm.

Lead Magnets | Content Upgrades“Shouldn’t I just do lead magnets, then? Any page in my blog will have it!”

Well, sure. Lead magnets can be just as attractive and effective. But content upgrades boost conversions by 785%. 

Sign me up! How to Do Content Upgrades

As if we’re not already convinced, just ONE content upgrade gives magnificent returns.

Blogging for business thrives on building a list. We know this. The list is our audience, our customers. We want people to sign up. Content upgrades make opt-ins nigh irresistible.

Influencers like Brian Dean of Backlinko (linked above) and Will Hoekenga of Leadpages have taken note of content upgrade tricks and techniques.

Their posts have all the samples you need to inspire you. Here’s a handy summary of the top tenets and my favorite tips:

Content upgrades are lead magnets specifically made for a post, adding value to that particular post.

1. Content upgrades are lead magnets specifically made for a post, adding value to that particular post.

You extend the post, you offer more. It’s a level-up of existing content. Behind-the-scenes (reports, links of resources, swipe files) or beyond-the-scenes (a bigger list, a cheat sheet, a short course).

Here’s a list of ideas to start you off:
Here’s a list of ideas to start you off

For example, LeadPages offers this content upgrade on their article about content upgrades. That wasn’t confusing, was it? Haha. They’ve written about content upgrades. In addition, they offer you a review of the top tools for creating them!

LeadPages screenshot


Content upgrades are little things that make your readers love you.

2. Content upgrades are little things that make your readers love you.

Like a well-done lead magnet readers can’t resist, content upgrades has real value. Readers don’t feel like they’re giving you their email– they feel like they’re getting a freebie.

Walk around in your reader’s shoes. What would make this particular post even more convenient?

If it’s a how-to, provide a printable checklist, guide or tools. It shouldn’t even take long to create. You can invest 45 minutes in creating and uploading a content upgrade, and earn 450% increase in your opt-ins.

Here’s Will Blunt’s content upgrade from Blogger Sidekick’s: How to Create A Buyer Persona For Your Blog

Blogger Sidekick

A ready template. So good! So handy! A template isn’t hard to make either, but it gives real value, and gets awesome returns.


 The Two-Step Opt-In Process: make them decisive about it.

3. The Two-Step Opt-In Process: make them decisive about it.

Lead magnets employ this, too. There’s a difference when the signup box is right there for them to ignore. If they have to click a button first, it becomes their decision. They clicked on it, like they click on things they want. They want it. They get it.

As LeadPages put it, “the two-step opt-in gives the appearance of giving rather than taking. It also prevents visitors from simply ignoring your signup form — once they click the button, they’re forced to make a decision whether to opt-in or not.”

Here’s that button from LeadPages. When you click it, you see the signup box already pictured above.



Work with what’s already working.

4. Work with what’s already working.

It’s not a shot in the dark, creating content upgrades. Come to think of it, nothing in blogging should be, right? That’s why we look at our Analytics and study other blogs’ blog posts. We find out what our audience is looking for and we provide it.

Exactly the same goes for creating your content upgrade. What’s your most sought-after article? What gets the most traffic? Your readers are getting value from that post. Offer them a little extra. They get something more, you get opt-ins. It’s a win-win.

Your Blockbuster Post: How to Install A Photo Wall Like A Pro

Possible Content Upgrades:

  • Frame Size Buying Guide for Your Chosen Photo Wall Layout
  • Cheat Sheet on Mixing B&W and Color Photos in Your Photo Wall
  • Printable Geometric Photo Wall Cheat Outlines


Offer them the upgrade multiple times.

5. Offer them the upgrade multiple times.

Have you noticed the dimsum cart getting wheeled around in a Chinese restaurant? The offer is always there, always passing you as you eat. You’re done ordering, but halfway through your meal, you decide to get steamed pork dumplings to go with your noodles, even though you weren’t interested at first. You’d ignored the cart.

Content upgrades are similar. While your readers may ignore it at first, they might change their mind later. Give them a handy place to opt-in after all.

Opt-in first offer: a pop-up when your reader lands on the blog post.

Opt-in second offer: midway through the post

Opt-in third offer: At the bottom of the post, with a proper CTA leading to it.

The most recommended tools and plugins for content upgrades:

The following all give bang for your buck, and all are straightforward but may require a learning curve. But haven’t we agreed that it’s all worth it?

Tried content upgrades already? Planning to add them now? The results can be incredible. Let me know how it went, or how it goes! If you have reviews about any of the tools mentioned above, we’d all appreciate that!

 Grow Your Blog With Content Upgrades- What They Are & How To Use Them - Blogelina


15 thoughts on “Grow Your Blog With Content Upgrades: What They Are & How To Use Them”

  1. This is awesome!

    Thanks so much for showings us how we can upgrade our content. I love the suggestion you gave us to give us an idea on what we can do.

    I’m currently offering a new blog checklist but I’m also working on another product that I will attach to my lead page. I just need time to finish it. 🙂

    The one thing I noticed I’m not doing is spreading my offers as you showed us in #5. Thanks for that reminder!

    Great share here! I’ve already passed it along.

    Have a great week!


  2. Thank you for this excellent post. I’m planning to add content upgrades to all my posts in future. Kasey Luck (Bold&Zesty blog) introduced me to the concept recently.

    I have a question please if you don’t mind… If someone wants to download more than one content upgrade from your blog using the same email, do you have to set up a separate campaign for each content upgrade to avoid the autoresponder service provider rejecting the duplicate subscription (I’m currently using Getresponse)?

    Much appreciation for any feedback, thanks.


    • Hi Matt! While I don’t know Get Response directly, typically when you offer different content upgrades, you do need to have different campaigns created, so that each time they sign-up they get the particular upgrade for that post. Hope that helps!

      • Many thanks for the feedback. That’s what I thought too. I’ve since been in chat with Getresponse and yes, a separate AR campaign is needed for each content upgrade. The good thing is that GR now offer a BETA version of their new workflow Automation (upon request), in which you can set a rule for subscribers to be automatically moved from one campaign to another, based upon which form they signed up. Just the job!

      • Hi again. Sorry, I know I already replied earlier. But I’ve got an update which I think solves the problem much more simply with GetResponse. On their forms, as well as a custom ‘thank-you url’, I noticed that you can also assign a custom ‘already subscribed url’. So I’m thinking the solution is to simply use the same thank-you url in the already subscribed url. Subscribers should then be able to get multiple content upgrades via individual forms on each post using the same email, and they all end up in the same central campaign. No need for multiple campaigns, and no need for workflow automation. Can it be that simple though? Need to test.

        • Matt – Thank you SO much for sharing your info w/ us. While we don’t use GetResponse, I’m sure some of our readers do and this information will be very helpful to them. Thanks again!

  3. Do I really need a free opt-in offer if content upgrades are so effective? Also, do you recommend I do content upgrades for all my most popular posts, or just the posts where it makes the most sense? (I have a some diy on my blog with free printable patterns when they’re helpful).

    • Hi Sarah! You don’t *need* an opt-in if you have lots of content upgrades throughout your site. One thing we like to do is take one of our content upgrades that is likely to be applicable to many people and add it to our sidebar on related posts. This way it gets more eyes on it.

      Also, if you have content upgrade ideas for your most popular posts, it doesn’t hurt to have them on every one. However, it isn’t the end all be all. Putting them where it makes the most sense, is what’s important.

      Does that help?


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