If you’re reading this post, then chances are – you are trying to learn more about the content upgrade strategy.
You may want to know what it is, how to use it, and more importantly who is using it.
Well, in this post, I am going to explain what content upgrade strategy you can use, by showing you nine different kinds of strategies.
What is a content upgrade? (in simple terms)
A content upgrade is a new list building method to attain the email addresses of your audience. It is contextual bonus content in one form or another that is provided to readers in exchange for their email address and/or other contact information – provided mostly within blog posts.
So, who were the initial users of content upgrades?
While I cannot put an exact name or date on the first use, there are a few veteran bloggers who have been successfully using content upgrades.
- Kim Roach at BuzzBlogger, has been using the content upgrade strategy for some time.
- Brian Dean at Backlinko, is also an original master of the strategy.
- And we cannot leave out Leadpages. who were one of the originators of content upgrade strategy.
Without further ado, here are the 10 Content Upgrade Strategies.
1: Using eBooks to build your email list
This is a key strategy that bloggers use; but not all these eBooks are created equal.
Some bloggers have made the mistake of providing a second rate eBook that can actually upset the recipient. Even though it is a “free eBook,” it needs to offer value, or the recipient may soon delete themselves off your email list.
If the content is great, they will stay on your list for more great information.
Make sure that your PDF ebook is formatted in such a way that it stays under 10MB. It works best to have 1 inch margins on all 4 sides, size 12 font that is easy to read (Georgia, Verdana and Gentium Book are all great choices), a title page, a table of contents and clear subheadings.
If you can have the cover professionally designed, that can be a huge plus.
Make sure your autoresponder and email service is setup correctly so the book is sent to your new sign up immediately. Also, you should always make sure your current subscribers receive the eBook before you promote it to new subscribers.
It also helps to share excerpts of your eBook in social media with a link to where they can attain it. Do make sure and end the eBook in such a way that you can make a 2nd volume at a later time that will pick up where you left off.
An example would be Michael Hyatt’s popular post, a detailed guide on the literary agents who represent Christian authors.
In fact, Michael Brito, a contributor to CMI, says in his book and his post that we as bloggers, need to think like a media company.
2: Content Upgrade Using A Checklist Strategy
I told you earlier about providing a strong call-to-action. One content upgrade strategy that has worked well with bloggers is a content upgrade, using a checklist strategy.
Essentially, you provide a checklist to your readers. They can print it out, and use it to ensure that they are following the system or program that you’ve educated them about.
Use infoboxes to call readers to download a checklist, using a lead-generation plugin like our Plugmatter Promo Box plugin. And use the checklist method throughout your blog post, so readers can subconsciously see what they will receive, when they provide you with their email.
Some bloggers who have had great results with the checklist method are the operators over at BlogVerve. Each post has a checklist in a simple infobox. Once clicked, the email of the reader must be given to attain the extra content.
Another live example is Brian Dean’s well-known post on the Skyscraper technique. He offers a checklist once in between the post, and then at the end.
Jesper at Me and You Marketing even shows how to make the checklist optin boxes without any HTML or CSS.
3: Resource List Content Upgrade
Another content upgrade system that you can use to kill two birds with one stone, is offering resource links.
Simply put, install boxes in which the reader can sign up to get links to sale items that directly relate to the blog post.
An example may be: you are writing a post about how to cook peach cobbler on a campfire. As you get to the area that explains the pan you cook it in, you offer the reader a list of the 8 best pans to cook that cobbler, and a range of other dishes.
They provide their email, and you send them the list that has these pans on Amazon with your affiliate link.
The writers over at authority hacker use this method on a regular basis. It doesn’t always have to be a sale item on Amazon. They gain subscribers just by offering resource links to authority sites that delve deeper into the subject matter.
4: Using Videos As Content Upgrades
Videos are one of the most popular pastimes, catching the attention of almost everyone. So why not use video as a content upgrade strategy?
You will want to test and change as you use this method until you find what works best for you, but these are several video content upgrade techniques:
- Add an annotation to your YouTube video sending the individual to an squeeze page where they give their email to receive more relevant videos and content.
- Use video in your newsletter email, and add a call to action to share the video having the annotation within the video.
- Upload video onto social media with a link to your optin page.
- Use a video on your landing page. This method has been proven to raise sign ups
These are just a few methods to use video as a content upgrade. Amy Porterfield the popular social media expert, does this really well with her content upgrade.
Bloggers have discovered how to get an overwhelming subscription rate just by offering contextual bonuses to their content. And you can do the same.
It is as simple as this: go through each blog post you have written. Create a simple bonus item that will be sent when the reader provides their email.
As an example, you write a post about the most prevalent plants that grow in your area.
Now you have an infobox that states if the reader provides their email, you will send a PDF of pictures of the 10 most medicinal home-grown plants available in their vicinity.
Bloggers have watched their email list grow rapidly using this simple method. For example, DeveshDesign.com on his post about ecommerce marketing, write on how to create product bonuses, and shows his results after using this strategy.
6: Guides As Content Upgrades
When a person is trying to do something they have never done before, they love having step-by-step instructions.
If you are educating people about a complicated project in your blog, you can get your reader’s emails by offering a guide that will lead them through the process. You can look back at the ebook setup process and follow that basic system to develop a guide.
I found these bloggers using the guide technique:
7: Download the Post
Neil Patel has mastered his content upgrade strategy to get reader’s email addresses. If you write a long and in-depth blog post that has amazing pictures, infographics and other great visual content, readers will be enticed to download the blog post in exchange for their email address.
This way they will share the post with friends and family even if they do not have an internet connection.
I suggest you just install each blog post you will do this with into a PDF file. You then tell those who want to download the post that it will be ad free.
8. Audio Content Upgrade
Offering audio content upgrades has turned into a popular content upgrade strategy. One of the main methods is the podcast. You have a basic summary of the podcast that may be an interview with an expert, or a live broadcast of some event. Whatever your imagination can develop can be used in audio content upgrades.
You can have people give their email to listen to your podcast or download an MP3 file. Just like video content upgrades, audio content .upgrades have become very popular.
Rob Cubbon has mastered this audio system where he offers readers audio versions of his eBooks at the end of his posts.
5 tips for using a content upgrade strategy to build your list:
While using any of the strategies mentioned here, keep these tips at the front of your mind.
Content upgrades always work best when they are specific to the blog post you have written. If your blog post is about SEO, but your content upgrade is on WordPress themes, you may not get the amount of sign ups as you would if the content upgrade related directly to SEO techniques.
Content upgrades work best when they are in a stand alone box that is separated from the text. It need not be “flashy,” but it should be noticeable.
- Call to action
The call to action needs to be clearly defined. Tell the readers what to do, and what they will receive when doing it.
People often need to see the message more than once to decide. Successful content upgrade methods repeat the offer 2, or even 3 times throughout the blog post.
Pop-ups, if used properly can lead to an amazing rate of sign ups. Leadpages’ Leadboxes have pop-up templates that have been tested and proven successful with content upgrades. Also, our Plugmatter Promo Box plugin uses Leadpages Leadboxes, and is a fantastic method to promote content upgrades.
As you can plainly see, many of these top bloggers have huge email lists and have content upgrades as one of their top techniques.
Apart from using innovative content upgrade strategies what I these bloggers do with their list building is – test, test and test some more.
They keep track of their results and try various methods until they find the content upgrade strategy that works best for them.
No matter if you are a blogger who is getting thousands of visitors daily, or a smaller operation that receives less readers, you can easily grow your subscribers and readership by using one or more of these content upgrade strategies.