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How to Use Content Upgrades to Rev Up Your Conversion Rates

Want to learn about content upgrades and why they’re such a powerful tool for your marketing funnels?

You’ve come to the right guide.

Your blog isn’t just for sharing ideas and getting a few comments here and there. It's actually a key part of your lead-generation funnels.

How?

By integrating content upgrades.

Content upgrades are targeted, value-added pieces that complement your blog posts, designed to capture your readers' contact details in exchange for valuable information

And in this post, you’ll learn 12 useful tips for creating upgrades your audience will want to opt-in for — boosting your conversion rates.

Why Are Content Upgrades an Effective Lead-generation Strategy?


Content upgrades (also known as lead magnets or gated content) are a power move in your email list building strategy – they keep your readers hooked, build your contact list, and position you as the go-to expert in your niche.

Think of it this way: when you offer a content upgrade, you're giving your readers exactly what they're interested in, right when they're most engaged.

It’s like saying, “Hey, you enjoyed this article? Here’s more info on the same topic.”


Your audience is more likely to opt in for this offer and become email subscribers because they see the value in the upgrade. They want to learn more.

These upgrades also rev up the quality of what you're already offering, making your site a go-to resource. 

Plus, every email you collect is a direct line to someone genuinely interested in what you've got to say, which is gold for your future content marketing efforts. And let's not forget, by dishing out these quality extras, you're positioning yourself as an expert in your field.

Types of Content Upgrades

Here’s a rundown of the most popular content upgrade examples to offer as bonus content and land more email opt-ins:

  • Checklists

  • eBooks

  • Printable PDFs

  • Email Course Series

  • Webinars

  • Video Tutorials

  • Templates & Toolkits

  • Quizzes as lead magnets

  • Cheat sheets & Worksheets

  • Swipe Files

  • …and many more

Most of these content upgrade ideas are easy to design on your own. All you need is your content, a good design tool like Canva, and a few hours to spend working on your offer.

Key Tips for Creating Content Upgrades that Convert

This section features key tips on how to make a content upgrade work for your lead-gen and email marketing strategies.

1. Identify Your High-Performing Blog Posts

When it comes to ramping up your blog with content upgrades, a great starting point is with your most popular posts.

These are the articles that have already resonated with your website visitors, the ones they keep coming back to. It's like these posts have their own fan club, and that's where you want to focus your energy for upgrades.


To identify these key posts, a bit of analytics is in order. Use your WordPress Google Analytics plugin to dive into your website's stats and look for the posts that stand out in terms of views, time spent on the page, or social shares. 

These are your winners, the ones that have struck a chord with your audience. Understanding why these posts are popular can give you insights into what your readers value most.

2. Create a Content Upgrade That Solves a Problem or Meets a Need

The best content upgrades are ones that help solve a problem your audience is facing.

For example, if you run a fitness blog, you could offer a content upgrade that helps your readers improve their workouts or nutrition.

A downloadable workout planner or step-by-step nutrition guide could work well here.

The best way to pinpoint what your readers need is by engaging with them. Use your blog’s comments, social media, a quiz, or email surveys to understand the challenges they’re dealing with.

3. Opt for Easy to Digest Formats

Content upgrades are more appealing when they’re simple and easy to use or understand. 


Your audience is more likely to opt in for a lead magnet that assures them they can achieve X results in a short amount of time.

Focus on easy-to-digest content formats like PDFs with visuals, infographics, short videos, checklists, etc.

If you want to offer a larger content upgrade like a whitepaper or eBook, then focus on emphasizing the value your reader will get from taking time to read the content. 

4. Create Good Quality Content Upgrades 

This should be a given, but sometimes people think you don’t need to put a lot of effort into the content upgrades you offer.

“The goal is to get visitors to opt in no matter what.”

But if people exchange their content information for a low-quality offer, they’ll lose trust in your business, unsubscribe from your mailing list, and refuse to interact with any of your content again.

Always ensure your content upgrades are:

  • Visually appealing (use high-quality images or video)

  • Actionable and easy to follow

  • Backed up by research or expertise 

  • Relevant to your audience’s needs

5. Use Simple, High-Quality Opt-In Forms to Draw In Sign-Ups

Use eye-catching opt-in form templates to grab your audience’s attention and put your content upgrade in the best light.

The simpler the form and opt-in process, the better..

The easiest way to achieve this step is to use a reliable form-building plugin that provides customizable opt-in form templates.

Our top recommendation is Thrive Leads.

Thrive Leads, the best lead-generation plugin


This plugin gives you endless design freedom and customization options, starting with providing access to 450+ different opt-in form templates to try out. These include:


  • Popup Lightbox

  • “Sticky” Ribbon

  • Slide-In Box

  • Screen Filler Overlay

  • Scroll Mat

  • ... and so much more.

This means you never have to design your lead generation forms from scratch.

You can create your own custom signup forms in seconds with Thrive Leads’ one-click edit feature, and add a variety of design elements to make filling a form easier – checkboxes, dropdowns, radio buttons, and more.

6. Integrate Content Upgrades into Your Blog and Video Content

For the best results, embed these upgrades where they're most relevant - like a time management tool in a post about productivity. 

Highlight them with strong, visually distinct calls to action (CTAs) that encourage readers to click and download. 

Offering a preview of the upgrade can also spark interest, showing readers the value of what they're getting. 

7. Promote Through Different Channels

When it comes to getting the word out about your content upgrades, think beyond just your website. 


Each social media platform is an opportunity – share links on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Instagram. 

Tailor your message for each platform. For instance, Instagram is perfect for eye-catching visuals, while LinkedIn is great for more detailed, professional posts.

Email marketing and collaborating with other creators are other effective ways to get your content upgrades in front of a wider audience.

8. Host Webinars or Live Q&A Sessions

Webinars and live Q&A sessions offer a dynamic way to engage with your audience and build interest in your downloadable offers. 


These interactive sessions are also a great opportunity to showcase your expertise and build a community around your brand.

With “Live Video” features on most social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and even TikTok – you can set up a live session in seconds (and with ease).

At the end of each session, capitalize on the engagement by offering a related content upgrade, like an eBook, email series, or a detailed guide.

9. Target Your Content Upgrades to a Specific Segment

Your target audience is made up of different groups, each with its own interests, challenges, and skill levels – and you need to tailor your content accordingly.

For example, if your blog caters to a broad range of bloggers and digital marketers, from beginners to veterans, you should create content upgrades that resonate with each subgroup.


For beginners, you might offer a basic guide to digital marketing concepts, like A/B testing, or a checklist for setting up their first SEO campaign. These resources should be easy to understand and implement, providing a solid foundation for those just starting out. 

On the other hand, for advanced users, consider in-depth whitepapers on eCommerce trends, advanced strategy guides, or comprehensive case studies on successful sales funnels. These types of content upgrades should challenge their existing knowledge and provide new insights or advanced techniques.

The beauty of this approach is that it allows you to speak directly to the specific needs and interests of each segment, making your content more targeted and relevant. 

10. Offer a Content Series to Build and Maintain Interest

Offering a content series as an upgrade is a smart way to build and maintain your new subscribers’ interest.

For example, if your niche is in entrepreneurship, you could develop a series covering everything from basic budgeting to advanced pricing strategies. Each part of the series acts as a stepping stone, providing more in-depth information as the reader progresses.

The new content series can be structured in various formats, such as a series of eBooks, a set of instructional videos, or a sequence of in-depth emails.

The key is to keep each installment engaging and valuable in its own right while also enticing the reader to look forward to the next part.

11. Repurpose Your Content Upgrades into Different Formats


Repurposing your content upgrades is a strategic way to cater to a wider audience and get maximum value out of every piece of content.


By transforming a single upgrade into different formats, you can appeal to different learning styles. 

Some members of your audience might prefer visual content like videos or infographics, while others might favor in-depth reading material like eBooks or whitepapers. 

Turning a gated blog post into a podcast episode, for example, can reach people who enjoy audio content.

Think of it as taking one great idea and spreading it across different types of media.

12. Optimize for Mobile

Your content upgrades must be mobile-friendly.

Whether it’s an eBook, a checklist, or a video, if it’s not mobile-friendly, you're missing out on converting a huge chunk of your audience.

Start by checking how your content looks on different devices. You don’t want your audience pinching and zooming to read your eBook or struggling to click a tiny opt-in button. Everything needs to be easily readable and accessible. 

Also, think about the mobile user experience from start to finish. This means having forms that are easy to fill out on a phone, and download links that work seamlessly on mobile browsers. 

Remember, the less hassle it is to access your content on a phone, the more likely folks are to engage with it.

Next Steps: Create a Landing Page For Your Next Offer

Now you have 12 solid tips for creating relevant, high-quality content upgrades. It's time to start working.

Landing pages are key for putting your offer in the best light to entice your audience and get them to take action.


So, here are 4 free tutorials to help you get started:

Get the Most Out of Your Content Upgrades

And this brings us to the end of this guide.

Remember, content upgrades are more than just add-ons to your existing material. They're also powerful tools to drive audience engagement, grow your mailing list, and drive conversions.

Whether it's through a handy checklist, a detailed eBook, or an engaging webinar, each content upgrade you offer is an opportunity to provide extra value and reinforce your position as a go-to resource in your field.

So, don't be afraid to experiment with different types of upgrades to see what resonates best with your audience.

Pay attention to their feedback, track the performance of each upgrade, and keep refining your strategy.

About the Author Chipo


Chipo is a content marketer, digital consultant, and seasoned freelancer with a keen interest in tech, marketing, and the future of work. She helps both graduates and solopreneurs set up their personal brands so they can thrive online. When she’s not working, she’s reading, dining out, and watching old seasons of Grey's Anatomy.

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