11 Insanely Effective Content Upgrade Ideas to Grow Email list Fast

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

It is REALLY hard to convert visitors into email subscribers.


Let me guess…

What did you do?

You placed opt-in forms in the appropriate places (or precisely where others told you to place them) all over your site like in the sidebar (which hardly anyone sees) and at the end of the post where only 20% of the visitors reach. You are missing a lot of potential subscribers if you are doing this.

I know…

You worked really hard to create a valuable opt-in freebie and were expecting that your conversions will then shot through the roof…


Nothing happened….

I can agree that…

Your opt-in freebie is still converting better than just “Get Free Updates” or “Subscriber to our Newsletter”.

But these freebie-for-everyone (like reports) does not have the same juice that they used to.

And at times, they may be irrelevant to the visitor.

Now you are probably thinking, “All that you are saying is right, but tell me what should I do?”.

The answer is….

Content Upgrades or sometimes called post-specific lead magnets.

You need to create a post-specific lead magnet for EVERY post you publish.

This is the strategy that Michael Hyatt, Noah Kagan, Neil Patel, Brian Dean and many others are using.

Now the thing is that….

It already takes the time to create valuable content, and you can’t simply afford to spend more time on creating more content.


Today I am going to show you 11 different ways to create content upgrades. I have also created an Infographic for this post. It took me several hours to create this infographic, and now I want you to Pin it on Pinterest. So take a second to Pin it right now.


From what I have read, I can say that you should add the content upgrades to your top 5 posts.

To find your top posts, head over to Google Analytics. Click on the Behaviour from the side menu. Then select site content and then landing pages.

Here you can find your top 5 posts.


Let’s get into the actual stuff.

If you have any questions as you go through the process, leave a comment.

1. Checklists

The easiest post-specific lead magnets to create are Checklists.

Long blog posts are great as people get a lot of value from them but they are also hard to implement from because when people get to implementing, they have to constant flip back and forth between the blog post and the thing they are working on.

And also, readers have to identify the steps they need to follow on their own from the 3000 words long post.

Readers are already very pressed for time and they simply want actionable steps that they can follow to get the desired results.

This is where checklist comes in…

In checklists, there are actionable steps that get the readers the desired results and so they’ll be not be left alone by you to identify actionable steps from 3000 words post.

Here is the process that I follow,

1. Make an outline of the steps that readers will need to follow and write them in Google doc

2. Elaborate on each of the steps

3. Format and download as PDF

Let me give you an example,

If I were to create a checklist on how to enable rich pins on Pinterest then I would follow the following steps,

1. I would first go to google docs and start with a blank page.

2. I would outline the steps that need to follow and add relevant links. Like,

1. Go to WordPress dashboard and hover over plugins and then click on “Add New”

2. Write Yoast Seo in the search bar and then install and activate the plugin

3. Go to the Yoast’s “Features” tab and make sure the “Advanced settings pages” is “Enabled”

4. Go to Pinterest’s Rich Pin Validator (I’ll provide the link) and add the link of any of your posts and click on                   “Validate”

5. Click on “apply now”. A pop up will come up with details then click “apply now” once again.

3. I’ll format the document and download it at PDF.

It should take no more than 20 minutes to create.

2. PDF version of the post

If you have posts that are really long and you are sure that the visitors will need to bookmark your posts for some reason, and then they’ll need to remember the folder they saved it in and then they’ll have to come again and again and again to your site. It’ll be a pain in the butt.

Why not make their lives easier? By offering them the PDF version of that same post.

Readers will then be able to save the file on their desktop, and they can also email it to someone.

You can make the PDF version of your post by going through the following steps,

1. Create a new Google Doc,

2. Copy and paste your entire article into the Google Doc

3. Fix all formatting issues (images sizing etc.)

4. Export as a PDF

3. Toolkit

I have a story to tell you…

I was on the Pinterest one day when I stumbled upon a Pinterest profile with 650k followers…

At the first glance, I did not believe it. I rubbed my eyes and looked at that number again.


It was STILL the same…

Then I thought maybe I am dreaming….

I went to the washroom and washed my face….

I came back….


Guess what happened?

The number was still 650K…

Okay….I am just kidding…

But the number that big is hard to believe…

Then I clicked through a pin on Pinterest marketing. I read the post and at the end, I found this.

It is a really great content upgrade. It does not take any time to create such lead magnets.

People love these lists of tools.

In my case, I was surely interested in knowing which tools the person with 650k followers was using.

And yes…

I subscribed…

A few days ago, I was attending a webinar by LeadPages where Tim Paige, the instructor, recommended creating a resource guide landing page where you give a list of your five favorite tools.

He said that these lists of tools are the highest converting lead magnets because it does not take any time to go through the lists and so people love them. (Of course, I don’t have the data)

By the way, the Pinterest profile was of Nellaino.com

This is how you can create a toolkit,

1. Create a new Google doc.

2. Mention the tools and add the corresponding links

3. Format the document and save it as PDF

4. Free Course

Say you offer a course on your site. You could offer the first section as a content upgrade.

It will give you a chance to educate people and also build a relationship with them, and it can also convert into further sales of the full course.

If you don’t sell courses, you can offer an email course as a content upgrade. You can set this up through an email autoresponder series.

Email courses have higher perceived value than most of the other content upgrades.


It’ll take longer to create Email Courses.


What should you do?

I know…

You can’t create an email course for each post you write…


You don’t need to…

Just create an email course around a topic and then use that same course as a content upgrade for all of the posts you’ll write around that topic.

For Example,

You can create an email course on how to get traffic from Pinterest and then….

You can use that same course in the following posts,

1. How to set up Pinterest business account

2. How to enable rich pins

3. How to find the relevant group boards on Pinterest

4. How to use group boards effectively

5. How to create Perfect Pinterest images

Any person reading theses posts will be interested in driving traffic from Pinterest.

5. Free Templates

People love templates because they make their life much more easier.

A few days ago, I was reading a post on HubSpot blog on “How to Make an Infographic in Under an Hour“.

And guess what they did?

They offered 15 free infographic templates.

They person reading that post will surely be interested in those templates as they will save a lot of time.

Readers clicked through the site to know how to create infographics quickly in the first place, and then HubSpot solved their problem by providing them with templates.

For example, If you have a post that teaches people how to create a well-designed freebie, you can offer a free template as a content upgrade here.

You can also offer email templates and those will not take any time to create.

6. Videos

Videos are one of the most engaging content on the web. Videos are a great way to teach readers….

You can offer How-to videos as they are very useful to the readers and also they have, I think so, highest perceived value.

You can also offer an interview that you did as a content upgrade.


You can go one step further and offer a video in which you put in action the strategy that you taught in the post.


You can offer a Q&A video where you answer multiple questions related to the topic of your post.

You just need to be a little bit creative to come up with your own idea.

And remember…

Videos just NEED to be helpful

You can use Camtasia to record and edit videos…

7. Worksheets/Workbooks

If you teach something on your blog, then why not go beyond explaining the concept?
Create an assignment which readers can download and apply the knowledge straight away.
Here’s an example for you,
Melyssa wrote a post on ‘How to write a killer about me page for your blog’,
This is what she offered as content upgrade in the post,

8. Infographics

Infographics are eye candy.

Infographics make it so much easy to digest complex information.

You can transform your post into an infographic so that your readers can share and use it. Plus, if your readers have their own blogs, they may refer to it, providing you with valuable backlinks.


They are a lot easier to create than you might think. You can use Snappa, Piktochart, Easel, and Canva to build your own infographic quickly and efficiently.

9. Case Study

I love case studies and so do you….
People always want to know what other people are doing…
You can use yourself as a case study or you can write a case study on an influencer in your industry.
Or you can teach readers a new strategy and then you can offer them a case study on a person who implemented the
same strategy and got the extraordinary results.

10. Bonus content

This one is quite easy to create as you will not have to put in the extra effort.

If you have a list post then cut it into two pieces, publish one piece on your site and offer the other piece as the content upgrade.

Here’s an example for you,

Mariah Coz wrote a post on 16 list building strategies and offered a checklist and 3 bonus strategies as the content upgrade.

If the right kind of visitor (target audience) lands on your site and likes your content, he is very likely to sign up to your email list with this content upgrade as he is already interested in what you are offering.

11. Coaching/Mentorship

Last but not the least.

You may have experienced that most people ( with whom you don’t already have a relationship) don’t reply to your emails (mostly because they are quite busy).

In such a world, it would be no less than a blessing if you’ll give your readers your precious time.

And as Seth Godin said,

People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories, and magic.

Then why not cultivate relationships with readers?

They’ll be much more likely to buy your course or service package if you’ll not be a just another random person on the internet for them.

You can do this in the form of a 15-minute phone call or skype. You can also host a Google Hangout and include more than one person.

Over to you


Today, I taught you 11 insanely effective content upgrade ideas that you can use to get more email subscribers.

Although it takes some time to create content upgrades but let me tell that this extra effort is really worth it.

I would suggest that you should begin by creating content upgrades that does not take too much time to create like checklists and then measure the conversion rates of different types of content upgrades.

In the near future, I shall be creating templates for the members of my army (yes, you). It shall save a lot of time for you and will accelerate your process of creating content upgrades.

And now…

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