Imagine this… You’ve just spent thousands of dollars getting massive amounts of traffic to your website, and you’re on top of the world because people are pouring in.

Now let me burst your bubble. What is this traffic worth if you don’t convert any of it?

Nothing! Having a great amount of traffic on your website does not equal an automatic increase in revenue.

You need your visitors to engage with your site and your content in order to get any value from them.

Ultimately, you’d like to convert all visitors into customers, but that’s not realistic. Why not try to convert them into email leads? Then you’ll have unlimited chances of converting them into customers later on with your email marketing.

A great way of getting people to give you their email address is to offer them something in return that has value to them.

The more relevant your offer is, the higher your chances are of converting them. This is where content upgrades come into the mix.

In this post, you’ll get 19 different content upgrade ideas along with examples, how-tos and all our best tips and tricks for each one.

Content upgrades

Share this Image On Your Site

What are content upgrades?

Content upgrades are exclusive pieces of content that visitors can get access to by giving you their email address.

They are presented within relevant content, and offering your visitors something extra that has to do with what they’re already reading will make them more susceptible to giving you their email address in exchange for the content.

There are hundreds of different content upgrades that you can do, depending on what kind of business you have.

In this post I’ll go through nineteen examples of content upgrades and tell you what they are, how you use them, and why they work.

I’ve also created a content upgrade for this post. It includes how-to guides for all the content upgrade examples presented in this post. Download it below and start creating amazing content upgrades right away.

Free Downloadable How-to Guide: Download your own how-to guide and get working on those content upgrades today.

This post is quite the monsterpost, so I’ve made a table of contents so you can easily find what you’re looking for.

  1. PDF blog post
  2. Checklists
  3. Resource list
  4. Transcripts
  5. Bonus info
  6. Recipes
  7. How-to guides/tutorials
  8. Use cases
  9. Challenges
  10. Templates
  11. Slideshow
  12. Invitation
  13. Ebooks
  14. Cheat sheets
  15. Infographics
  16. To-do lists
  17. Calendars
  18. Videos
  19. Exclusive interviews

Content upgrades aren’t used as much on e-commerce websites, which is a shame because the potential is so great.

The purpose of this post is to give fellow marketers an overview of the different kinds of content upgrades there are, and the many ways in which they can be used, not only in blog posts, but also on e-commerce websites.

Let’s dive right in.

1) PDF blog post

One of the easiest content upgrades you can make, is to turn one of your blog posts into a PDF, and then offer it as a content upgrade.

Why?

It might seem strange to offer your visitors the same content they’ve just read, but creating a PDF file enables your visitors to download the content onto their computer and return to the content whenever they want to.

Content upgrade example with PDF

What: A downloadable PDF version of the blog post.

Where: On Backlinko’s blog in the post: 201 Powerful SEO Tips (That Actually Work).

Why: The guide includes 201 tips and tricks to SEO, and is quite an extensive read. Offering readers a chance to download the post onto their computer makes it easier for readers to return to the content when they have the time.

How to: This is a super easy content upgrade to make. You simply copy all your text into a Word document and convert that into a PDF file. You can also include images if you’d like; the process is the same.

If you want an even simpler way to make your blog post printable, you can use Printfriendly, where you just type in the URL of the page with the blog post, and it creates a print button that you can add to your page.

Remember to gate the button if you want to collect email addresses.

2) Checklists

Don’t we all just love a good checklist?

The satisfying feeling we get when checking off one box after the other… checklists are awesome, which is why they work great as content upgrades.

You can make checklists for many types of content, but they work especially well in guides. If you have a guide blog post, you simply take the main points out and turn them into a checklist. Boom – then you have a content upgrade.

Content upgrades with checklists

What: This is an easy-to-follow checklist with 5 steps to create good content upgrades.

Where: This content upgrade was presented in a blog post on Backlinko about content upgrades: How To Boost Conversions by 785% in One Day (The Content Upgrade).

Why: This content upgrade is unique and specific to the content in which it is presented. The blog post is a guide on content upgrades, and the checklist provides the subscriber with a clear to-do list on how to get started with content upgrades.

Checklists aren’t just for blogs and articles. You can also use them on your e-commerce website.

How do you do that?

Let’s say you have an online paint shop. Add a content upgrade to your product pages with a checklist, including all the things you need to remember before you paint. What materials do you need? What preparation is needed? Etc.

Take the Designer Paint Store for example. I’ve marked the perfect place for a content upgrade on their paint product page.

Content upgrade example with Paint Store

DIY painters may not know every step that goes into painting a wall, for instance, so offering them a checklist to ensure they don’t miss anything can prove very valuable.

How to: Checklists are quite easy to make if you just have the right tool. There are a number of different tools to use when creating a checklist.

You can use Beacon to create a simple checklist in minutes using one of its ready-made templates, or you can design your own from scratch.

You can also create a checklist with Forgett where you can make three checklists with the free subscription, and for $9 a month you can create an unlimited amount of checklists.

Lastly, Checklist.com offers free templates for creating various kinds of checklists.

3) Resource list

A resource list is (as the name implies) a long list of tools or resources that link directly to where the tools can be found.

A resource list would work well in a blog post where many different tools and resources are mentioned. Creating a list with all the tools gathered in one place makes it a lot easier for the readers to find the tools they need instead of having to search through the blog post.

Content upgrade ressource list

What: This content upgrade includes 25 awesome SEO tools divided into different topics.

Where: It can be found in Dave Colgate’s guest blog post: The Ultimate Guide To Technical SEO for Ecommerce 2016 on the Sleeknote blog.

Why: We wanted to provide readers with an opportunity to not just learn from the blog post, but also to give them the tools to improve their SEO. Thus we collected twenty-five of the best SEO tools we could find and compiled a list with links to where these tools could be found.

These types of content upgrades work because they save people a lot of time and they are very valuable. Many people spend hours researching different tools to find the perfect one. Providing this list as a content upgrade will definitely increase your conversion rate, as long as the list has something to do with the content the visitors are already reading.

Resource lists are also possible to make for e-commerce businesses. They’re ideal for online hardware stores, such as The Home Depot, where they sell tons of different tools and appliances.

You can add a content upgrade on your product page with kitchen cabinets, with a resource list containing all the tools and products needed to build a new kitchen.

Here’s where I would place it.

Content upgrade example with The Home Depot

They already link to their catalog here, so why not add the content upgrade with the resource list here as well. It’s easy to spot, and it’s presented within relevant content.

As with the checklist, this will prove helpful to visitors who want to make sure they have everything they need. At the same time, it might result in additional sales if the visitor realizes that he or she needs some of the things on the list.

How to: A resource list is one of the easiest content upgrades to make if you already know what resources or tools you want your list to include.

You can write your list in Microsoft Word and then convert it to a PDF file. Remember to include links to all the tools and resources, so people can click them and find them immediately, as the purpose of the list is to help people avoid doing their own research.

If you want your list to have a nice design and added visuals, there are a few tools that can help you do that, such as Canva where you can create different kinds of pictures and images.

4) Transcripts

If you have a podcast, it would be optimum to create a content upgrade with transcripts of the podcast.

Here’s why. In today’s society, people are always very busy and many don’t have time to listen to an entire podcast in one go.

Creating a content upgrade with the transcript will make it a lot easier for visitors to get a quick overview of the topic, and then return to it later when they have the time.

Content upgrade transcript

What: A link to download the transcript to a specific podcast.

Where: On Superfastbusiness’ website under podcast no. 369 – The Power Of Content

Why: Transcripts are perfect for content upgrades because they are that little bit of extra that many people want. The benefits of a transcript is that you can download it, print it, and quickly look over it to find what you need, instead of having to listening to the entire podcast again.

You might be thinking, “How can I use this type of content upgrade on an e-commerce store?”

It’s quite simple. If you do an interview with a celebrity or professional within your business, you can put it up on your website and offer a transcript as a content upgrade.

I’ll explain how you do interviews for e-commerce later on this post, but if you don’t want the whole interview to be gated, you can gate the transcript and collect email addresses through that.

How to: The cheapest way to transcribe an audio or video recording is to sit down and do it yourself. However, it’s very time-consuming, and the margin for error is much higher than if you have a professional do it.

There a number of different professional services that you can use, one of them being Rev where you can get your video or audio transcribed for $1 per minute.

It happens in three easy steps:

1. You upload your file via web or give them a link.
2. You pay online with your credit card.
3. They send the final transcription to you by email.

Then, you have your transcription ready to add to your page as a content upgrade.

5) Bonus info

Bonus information can also be used as a content upgrade, and it can be pretty much anything as long as it’s relevant to the content with which it is presented.

Bonus information will give the reader a chance to go even deeper into the topic or get to know something that isn’t mentioned in the content already.

Content upgrade bonus

What: This content upgrade is a 40-page PDF from Neil Patel called The Definitive Guide to B2C Content Marketing.

Where: We did an interview with Neil Patel about content marketing and turned it into a blog post: How to Use Content Marketing to Sell Products Online.The content upgrades appears two times throughout the post.

Why: The blog post is about content marketing, and Neil already had the guide made, so all we had to do was add it to the blog post.

If our blog post is interesting enough, people will download the bonus info to learn even more about content marketing.

Also, it doesn’t hurt that content marketing expert Neil Patel wrote it.

E-commerce businesses can also offer bonus info in their content upgrades.

Bonus info doesn’t have to be forty pages of extra content, as long as it provides value to your visitors. Bonus info can also be a funny little story about one of your products.

For instance, if you sell model trains, you can provide historical bonus info about that type of train, such as how it was used, where it was used, and any other interesting information you might have on that train.

Include pictures and illustrations to make the content more readable and fun.

Here’s an example from Model Train Stuff of where you could put the content upgrade.

Content upgrade example with Model Train Stuff

I can only assume that this kind of information would be of interest to this specific target group. It’s all about adapting your content upgrades to the page on which they appear and the target audience of that page.

How to: It’s always a good idea to consider how you want your content upgrade to be presented. It has to stand out from the content, and an easy way of doing so, is to have it presented in a yellow box, such as in the screenshot above.

Making your content upgrade appear in a yellow box is super easy, and I’ll give you the code for it so you don’t have to figure that out on your own.

But first, you need to create a slick opt-in form that’ll get your visitor’s email address before they get access to your content upgrade.

Use an opt-in form so you don’t redirect your visitors away from the content they were reading (they might not have finished).

In order to create such a form, you need to do the following:

1. Create account on https://sleeknote.com/
2. Create your first Sleeknote with the type “newsletter” and position “popup”. Choose trigger manuel javascript trigger.
3. Create a call-to-action box such as this example from Brian Dean’s backlinko.
4. Create a yellow (or whatever color you prefer) box to present your content upgrade. WordPress? Here’s the code you can add to your theme’s “functions.php” file (or “custom_functions.php” on Thesis) to create a yellow box:

function make_yellowbox($atts, $content = null) {

return ‘<p style=”background: none repeat scroll 0 0 #ff9; clear: both; margin-bottom: 18px; overflow: hidden; border: 1px solid #e5e597; padding: 13px;”>’ . do_shortcode($content) . ‘</p>’; }

add_shortcode(‘yellowbox’, ‘make_yellowbox’);

Once the code is added, any text wrapped inside of this shortcode will appear in a yellow box.

[yellowbox]Here is the text in the yellow box[/yellowbox]

6) Recipes

Now, you might think, what have recipes got to do with e-commerce and marketing?

Not much, but they work great as content upgrades. Recipes are, however, limited to blogs and e-commerce sites relating to food.

They’re mostly used on food blogs, such as this one from KipKitchen.

Content upgrade with recipes

What: The content upgrade is a recipe for a romantic 3-course dinner for two.

Where: It is placed on KipKitchen’s food blog, in a recipe for chocolate mousse.

Why: When you have a food blog, your visitors are clearly interested in food and looking for inspiration. Offering them a content upgrade with recipes is very relevant and it provides great value to the visitors.

The content upgrade clearly states what visitors will get, so they won’t be disappointed when they sign up and see the content.

Now, this was yet another example taken from a blog, which is because content upgrades usually appear in blogs. However, they should be more present on e-commerce websites, because they have so much potential as lead generators.

Imagine entering an online store that sells kitchen equipment. You find an item you’d like to buy, for instance a pasta machine. Then you see a content upgrade offering you a recipe for a great pasta dish you can make with this pasta machine.

You can place your content upgrade right below the buy button as exemplified in this example from The Good Guys.

Content upgrade example with The Good Guys

Not only can this content upgrade inspire you in ways to use this machine, but it also might convince you to buy the pasta machine.

This content upgrade won’t take long to make, and it has the potential to collect a lot of leads – and customers.

How to: To create your recipe, you can use Beacon to create a PDF file with your recipe and add visual elements to it, as well.

Again you’ll need an opt-in form to collect your visitors’ email addresses. Here’s how you do it one more time:

1. Create an account on Sleeknote
2. Create your first Sleeknote with the type “newsletter” and position “popup”. Choose trigger manuel javascript trigger.
3. Create a call-to-action box such as this example from Brian Dean’s backlinko.

Now you just sit back and watch your email list grow, or you can create more types of content upgrades. Yay!

7) How-to guides/tutorials

How-to guides are always popular because they are easy to follow, and people are always looking for how to do things.

How many times have you Googled something starting with “how to”? I know I have, like, a million times.

Content upgrades with how-to guides don’t have to be long and complicated; they simply have to teach people how to do something.

Content upgrade with how to guides

What: A twenty minute screencast how-to guide for launching your own self-hosted WordPress blog.

Where: This content upgrade is presented on every podcast page on Michael Hyatt’s website; one example is this podcast: How to Conquer Your Email Inbox [Podcast S08E05].

Why: Michael Hyatt is seen as quite the expert when it comes to intentional leadership. His podcast is very popular and offering his visitors advice on how to succeed with their own WordPress blog through a content upgrade is undoubtedly a great way of getting more subscribers.

It’s even easier to make how-to guides for e-commerce websites. Most products are meant to be used in one way or the other. Offer your visitors content upgrades that show how to use a specific product.

If you run an e-commerce site with hair styling products, you can create how-to guides to show your visitors how to use the products.

You can also add a content upgrade that covers a range of products. An e-commerce site selling sporting equipment could do a written how-to guide on how to string a tennis racket, and then have that on all their product pages with tennis rackets.

This screenshot was taken from Sportsdirect.com, to illustrate where such a content upgrade could appear.

Content upgrade example with Sportsdirect

In this specific case, it would be a good idea to create a scroll sidebar with the content upgrade so that it follows your visitors when they scroll the page.

This content upgrade shows your visitors that you’re willing to give them a little extra, and many won’t mind giving you their email address in return as long as the content upgrade provides value in the right context.

How to: Creating a how-to guide is really not that time-consuming if you have the right tools.

If you want to teach your visitors something where you guide them on a computer, you should use a screencast tool that records your screen.

At Sleeknote, we use Camtasia. You can also use other services such as FFsplit or Telestream.

You can also create a written how-to guide in Beacon as we’ve done with the content upgrade for this post. It’s a how-to guide packed with all the best tips, tricks and tools to create the most amazing content upgrades.

Free Downloadable How-to Guide: Download this detailed how-to guide for content upgrades and grow your list today.

8) Use cases

Use cases are cases with users of specific products. That’s the broad definition.

We all tried to write a case study in school where we had to investigate a particular case within a specific company.

When you write case studies as an online marketer, the cases are usually your customers telling you how great your product is.

Case studies are great for showing visitors that other people like your product. They’re also great for exemplifying how others use your product.

If you have a blog post about increasing conversion rates, you could add a content upgrade to that post with a case study. It exemplifies the main arguments in your blog post, and visitors get a chance to see how it’s done in practice.

content-upgrade-use-cases

What: Case studies explaining how and why people use Drupal.

Where: On the front page of Drupal’s website.

Why: These are not content upgrades, but they would be perfect for it. Give people a few highlights from the case studies, and then offer them to read the full case study in a content upgrade.

Creating a case study content upgrade for e-commerce websites is a bit trickier than creating them for SaaS businesses.

However, it is possible. Don’t look at a case study as simply being people telling how good a product is or an investigation of a specific company. If you see them more as examples of ways to use your product, there are definitely opportunities for e-commerce stores to use them.

An online furniture store will serve well as an example here. Take for instance IKEA. When you walk around in the stores, you see entire apartments set up, so you can experience the furniture “in action” so to speak.

Why not do the same online, but with real-life cases?

I know it can be difficult, but try to ask your satisfied customers if they would send a few pictures of their newly acquired sofa in its “natural setting.” Use those pictures as content upgrades on the product page for that sofa, along with other examples of how to use it.

Once again I would place the content upgrade below the buy button as illustrated below on IKEA’s website.

content-upgrade-example-5

IKEA already have a lot of stuff happening at this page, so ensure that your content upgrade is visible by adding the previously mentioned yellow box.

It will both serve as inspiration for potential buyers, as well as heighten your credibility, since potential buyers will see that other customers are satisfied with your products.

How to: First, you want to reach out to potential users/customers to star in your cases. You can use an automation tool like Mixmax for outreach emails.

To schedule your meetings/interviews, you can use Calendly which makes it much easier to schedule appointments.

It’s a good idea to always record your interviews so you have everything handy for when you write the cases. If you don’t have time to listen to the whole recording, have it transcribed for easy overview with Rev.

9) Challenges

Challenges can indeed become great content upgrades.

When you start a challenge it is important that you have done some research to see if your visitors would be interested in such a challenge.

As a technology blogger, you might create a sixty day challenge where participants have to come up with some kind of invention. You can even name a winner and give away a prize.

Your content upgrade would then be presented within a relevant blog post where you offer visitors a chance to join the challenge. If they sign up, they get the content upgrade which is the guidelines for the challenge.

Simple Green Smoothies have created a challenge content upgrade for their site.

Content upgrade challenges

What: A 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge lasting a whole month.

Where: The content upgrade is on their front page, where they also have their newest recipes and blog posts.

Why: Their site is called Simple Green Smoothies and it’s a website with recipes, blog posts, and a few related products that visitors can buy. The site is all about health and clean eating, which is why this challenge fit’s perfectly with this site and the purpose of it.

Once you’ve signed up, you’ll get an email with shopping lists, recipes, and all the other stuff you need to do the challenge.

Challenges can also be very beneficial for e-commerce websites. For instance, if you have an e-commerce site with sporting gear, you can create a challenge content upgrade within the product page of your newest running shoes. The content upgrade could then be a running program, where the challenge is to run three miles in thirty days.

Here’s an example of where it would be on Nike’s website.

Content upgrade example with Nike

Get people excited about your products by starting a challenge. That’s not all.

You can even create a social media group that participants have access to and can tell each other about their progress.

You can also create a hashtag for Twitter so they can share their progress and check in with them during the challenge.

How to: First you’ll need to draw up the rules and regulations of the challenge in a word document or in Beacon and convert that to a PDF.

Then you add the yellow box (or other box) with a trigger to your opt-in form. Your opt-in form then has to include a message that they’ve successfully joined the challenge, along with a link to the PDF file.

You can find the exact code for the yellow box, and a guide to create an opt-in form, here.

10) Templates

Templates come in many variations, such as email templates, budget templates, blog post templates, etc.

Templates are easy to make from the things you already use. If you have an email template that you use for reaching out to potential guest bloggers, you can make that available in a relevant blog post.

Why would you do this?

People love to save time and templates do just that. No matter what type of template you offer your visitors, it will save them loads of time and thus, provide high value to them.

content-upgrade-template

What: This is a content upgrade offering five free content upgrade templates to help you get started with content upgrades.

Where: It appears in the blog post: How to Grow Your Email List with Content Upgrades on The Collective Mill blog.

Why: This content upgrade is great because readers of this blog post are obviously looking for a how-to for content upgrades. These readers are much more likely to want an easy way to get started with content upgrades, and offering them templates to do so is a good way to help them, as well as collecting leads at the same time.

How to: How you create a template is very much dependent on the type of template you want to do.

The easiest way to create a text template is to do a PDF file with the text. You can use Beacon to create your PDF template.

If you want to offer budget templates you can create the templates in Google Sheets and convert them into PDF files.

Then you add the yellow box (or other box) with a trigger to your opt-in form. Your opt-in form then has to include a message that they’ve successfully joined the challenge, along with a link to the PDF file.

11) Slideshow

Content upgrade slideshow
What
: A slideshow including the main points of the blog post with visual aids and graphics.

Where: In a blog post about content marketing and SEO on the Sleeknote blog: How to Use Content Marketing and SEO to Compete with Amazon.

Why: The slideshow is a creative way of presenting the main points of the blog post, and the visuals and smaller amount of text in the slideshow make it more readable and easier to skim if you just want the main points and not the whole blog post.

How to: Slideshows are not that hard to create, but they do take a little extra time. Create your slideshow in Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Haikudeck.

Once your slideshow is ready, you can upload it to Slideshare. Remember to set the presentation to private and protect it with a secret link that your visitors will get access to through your content upgrade opt-in form.

Here’s a guide on how you upload private slideshows on Slideshare.

You can also use Canva to create amazing visuals for your slideshow.

12) Invitation

Isn’t it exciting when you open your mailbox and you see a beautifully-crafted invitation to a V.I.P. event?

It makes you feel important and excited, all at once. Give your visitors that same feeling by offering them an invitation to an event in exchange for their email address.

Content upgrade invitation

Many marketers do public speaking and attend other events where it’s possible for visitors to buy tickets to come and see the event.

Create a blog post outlining the most important points of the event, and add a content upgrade where you offer visitors an invitation/ticket to your next event.

Make the invitation look as inviting as possible, as if you were sending it by mail (as in the old fashioned paper way).

But what about e-commerce?

You can also create this type of content upgrade for your e-commerce. If your e-commerce is a wine store, you can create a content upgrade with an invitation to visit people in their homes and do a private wine tasting.

At wine.com, I would place the content upgrade on the product pages of the wines that were available at the tasting.

content-upgrade-example-7

This type of content upgrade requires a bit more work, and you need to have staff available to host the wine tastings. However, many online wine stores already offer private tastings, so it wouldn’t be much effort to create a good looking invitation and add it as a content upgrade to some of your products.

How to: To make your invitation pop, it’s important that you use a program or service that allows you to experiment with different designs, images, fonts, etc.

To help you along, I’ve listed a few tools that can help you do just that. You can see them below:
Canva (Free tool)
Evite (Free tool)
Adobe Illustrator (Monthly paid subscription – For more advanced design)

All of these tools have basic features you need and more to create beautiful invitations. If you’re not up for the task yourself, you can always hire a freelancer to do it for you, such as Upwork or freelancers.com.

13) Ebooks

Ebooks have become more and more popular, and you can find them everywhere on the internet on all kinds of websites.

You might have noticed that many of your favorite novels are now available as ebooks on Amazon or your digital library service.

Ebooks are popular because they are easy to access compared to lending or buying a physical book. With e-books, you get the book immediately, and you can download it directly onto your computer.

Content upgrades with Ebooks

What: Free ebook: Shave 10 Hours off your Workweek by Michael Hyatt

Where: The ebook is available for download on Michael Hyatt’s website under many of his pages with podcasts. Find the content upgrade here.

Why: The ebook provides great value because it offers people a chance to save loads of time, which we all know is valuable in today’s society. The ebook is a free gift offered to new subscribers.

Ebooks tend to be more time-consuming than other content upgrades. They need to be detailed and provide valuable information on a specific topic.

So why spend the extra effort?

Once you’ve created your ebook, you can use it over and over again. As Michael Hyatt does in the example above, you can offer your ebook as a content upgrade on all the pages where it could be relevant.

It’s also possible to offer ebooks on an e-commerce website. Let me explain how.

Again, your product pages are the ideal places to add ebooks as content upgrades. If your e-commerce sells baby clothes and other baby-related things, you can add a content upgrade with an ebook about how to get your baby to fall asleep, how to dress your baby according to the weather, or you can create an ebook with bedtime stories.

Content upgrade example with alexandalexa

In this example from alexandalexa, I would create a scroll sidebar again that would follow when the visitors scroll the page.

The possibilities are endless. When you create your ebook, you can ensure that it falls under different kinds of topics on you website, and you can use it on multiple pages.

How to: You can create your ebook in Beacon or Atavist, where you can choose from an array of ready-made templates, or you can enlist a professional service such as Booknook to do it for you.

Experiment with different types of designs, and remember to add visuals throughout the entire ebook.

14) Cheat sheets

Cheat sheets are not just for cheating at tests. In this context, they are completely legal.

Cheat sheets are awesome because they give readers a shortcut to the finish line, so to speak. They usually offer readers an easy way of achieving what they want. Take this example from vWriters blog:

Content upgrade cheat sheets

What: A cheat sheet that gives you 21 different content upgrade ideas to help grow your email list.

Where: It appears in a blog post about content upgrades written by Steve Shaw: Build Your List With Content Upgrades: On Your Blog… And Beyond!

Why: The great thing about this content upgrade is that it’s super relevant to the content in which it appears. The content is a blog post about content upgrades, and the content upgrade itself is a cheat sheet with ideas as to what kind of content upgrades you can do. It doesn’t get more relevant than that.

The cheat sheet is also an easy way to get the knowledge provided in the blog post in a much more palatable and simple way.

Readers who might have abandoned this post because they thought it was too long and time-consuming to read now have the option to download this content upgrade instead of reading the full post.

E-commerce businesses can also use cheat sheets on their websites. An example could be if you have an online store with training equipment, you could offer a cheat sheet with training programs: “Download your free training program.”

Content upgrade example with Reebok

On Reebok’s website, the content upgrade could appear below the “add to cart” button, on all the product pages with training clothes.

The training program could then be divided into different levels, according to the different target groups. This way, visitors would get a chance to choose the training program they think is right for them, and you would get a very valuable lead that you could convert into a customer later on.

People love free stuff, and with the high prices in the gyms, this type of content upgrade could reel in a lot of valuable leads. Your visitors get value, and you get value.

How to: Creating a cheat sheet is not an impossible task. I realize that a training program may take a little longer to create than a cheat sheet for content upgrades.

However, the more effort you put into your content upgrades, the more your visitors will appreciate them.

So here’s what you do.

You can use services such as Cheatography to create your cheat sheets by using their templates or create one from scratch. It does however, require a bit of design and coding knowledge.

Alternatively, you can hire a freelancer through UpWork to do your cheat sheets for you. It might cost you a bit more, but you’ll ensure a high-quality product that your visitors will love.

15) Infographics

You’ve probably already seen hundreds of different infographics online and know what they look like.

The reason there are so many infographics out there is because they work. They are easy to read, they are (usually) visually appealing, and they can contain a lot of information without seeming confusing or overwhelming.

Infographics can be used for all sorts of things, and they usually serve the purpose of explaining something.

Content upgrades

Share this Image On Your Site

What: This is an infographic illustrating all the 19 different examples of content upgrades presented in this blog post.

Where: The infographic is made specifically for this post about content upgrades.

Why: This infographic is not a content upgrade, as I wanted to show you the whole thing to give you a good example of what an infographic is. This infographic is super relevent to this post, as it shows all the 19 content upgrade examples in a very clear and fun way.

If you want the complete how-to guide for all examples, you can download it below. It contains all the necessary tips, tricks, and tools needed to create awesome content upgrades.

Free Downloadable How-to Guide: Download your guide now, and grow your email list with content upgrades.

Infographics have the potential to work just as well on e-commerce sites as they do on blogs and other sites. Use them to solve a problem that you know your visitors might have.

Let me explain how.

Your e-commerce site sells cleaning products of all kinds. Cleaning products are a necessity in all households. Moreover, good cleaning advice is always appreciated.

We’ve all tried to spill red wine on a shirt or our couch, and sometimes we just end up staring at it or throwing a lot of paper towels on it because we don’t know what to do. And the stain never comes off.

I will repeat myself; cleaning advice is always appreciated, so why not offer it in a content upgrade on your site? Create a simple infographic that explains how to get red wine stains (or other kinds of stains) off your precious clothes and furniture.

Add the infographics as content upgrades to the product pages they are relevant to (the products that will help you get the stain off), and watch how many signups you’ll get from it.

Tide sells all kinds of laundry detergents and cleaning products, so offering an infographic about stain removal on this specific page, could prove very valuable.

A good trick is to show the top or half of the infographic to show people what they get and then have them sign up to see the rest of it.

I guarantee you’ll see a huge difference.

How to: If you’re not an expert in design and creating infographics, no worries. There are plenty of services that can create infographics for you, such as 99designs, Upwork, and freelancers.com

If you’re up for the task yourself, you can create your very own infographic in Adobe Illustrator.

16) To-do lists

A to-do list can in some cases be a very annoying thing when it lists all the chores you have to do for the day.

I remember when I was young, I would sometimes get a to-do list, and every chore had to be done before I could go out and play or watch TV.

This is not the case anymore — at least not when it comes to creating awesome content upgrades.

Many would put to-do lists on the same footing as checklists, so let me explain the difference between the two.

A to-do list is a list of things you can do but don’t have to do (unless your mom tells you to), whereas a checklist is a list of things you must do to reach your goal.

Content upgrade with to-do lists

Can you create a to-do list for an e-commerce site? Of course, you can!

If you sell video equipment, you can draft a to-do list with all the things you should do before working with video, such as lighting, sound check, etc., and offer it as a content upgrade to your visitors.

Content upgrade example with to-do list sony

At Sony they already have a how-to guide on some of their product pages. However it’s not a content upgrade and when you click it, you are directed to a Q&A about 4K videos.

This product page would be ideal for a to-do list content upgrade listing all the steps to succeed with video.

The list is not a “need-to-do” checklist of all the things you have to do before working with video but rather a list of great advice to help you get the best out of your video.

To-do lists work because we are, as individuals, very dependent on to-do lists in our daily lives. We use them at work and at home, so why not offer them online as well?

We use to-do lists to remember everything we’d like to do a specific day or in relation to a specific event because they give us a great overview.

How to: Again Beacon is a great tool for creating to-do lists. You choose a template matching your website and your product, or you create your own from scratch.

17) Calendars

Yes you heard right – calendars.

A calendar can also function as a content upgrade. It’s not used much today, but it has the potential to become an effective content upgrade.

Have you ever received a calendar in your mailbox with an advertisement from a company in your local area? Most of us have, and somehow it always ends up hanging on my kitchen wall, overwritten with my scribble. I never think I need a calendar, but I always end up using one when I get it.

Content upgrade using calendar

Online stores can use calendars just as well as offline stores can. The only difference is the way in which they are delivered. Instead of sending them to people’s mailboxes, you should offer them as content upgrades on your website.

But how? Let me explain.

If your online store sells costumes and other holiday items, a calendar is the ideal content upgrade. Your products are very seasonal, meaning that people usually buy costumes when there’s a holiday coming up, such as Halloween, Shrovetide (in Scandinavian countries), Christmas, etc.

Content upgrade example with calendar

In this example from Buy Costumes, I would add the content upgrade on the front page inside the marked area illustrated above.

In this particular case, it’s important that your content upgrade doesn’t just appear in a small yellow box. It has to be just as eye-catching as the other content in that area.

Create a calendar with all the holidays on it, as well as important calendar days for your business, such as Black Friday, Christmas sales, summer sales, etc. It’s a great way of reminding those who download the calendar to check out the sales.

Remember to add pictures of different costumes to the calendar, as well as your company name and logo. Thus, those who have the calendar will remember your business because they see the calendar every day.

The calendar is a fun and different kind of content upgrade, but if you put some effort into the design, and how you present it, you’ll definitely get more newsletter subscribers.

How to: There are a number of different services to use when you want to create a printable calendar. Here are a few of them:
Timeanddate.com (Free service which provides a number of different options and templates)
Calendar Labs (Also free, and offer a variety of customizable calendar templates)

18) Videos

We. Love. Video.

It’s a proven fact. From January to May 2015, 100,000,000 hours of Youtube “how-to” videos were watched in North America. That’s an increase of 70% from the year before.

These videos include everything from home improvement and cooking, to beauty tips. We love to watch how-to videos because they are much easier to understand and follow because we can see everything that’s done.

90-of-smartphone-users-turn-to-their-smartphone-for-ideas-while-doing-a-given-task

E-commerce sites should definitely take advantage of this massive opportunity, as well.

Take for instance the beauty tips. It’s one of the most popular searches on Youtube, so why not include such videos if you run an e-commerce site that sells beauty products. On your hair product pages, you offer content upgrades with videos showing visitors how to style your hair with your various products.

On your make-up page, you offer videos showing visitors how to create stunning looks with your make-up products.

Once again, I would add the content upgrade below the “add to bag” button, as illustrated in this example from Strawberrynet.

Content upgrade using videos

On your nail polish page, you add videos about how to create funny and beautiful nail designs with different kinds of nail polish.

And so on and so on — you get the drift. Take advantage of these opportunities and see how much your business will grow from it.

People would much rather watch videos than read text, so it’s just about getting started.

The videos might take longer to make than other types of content upgrades, but they are also incredibly popular and well worth the time if you put some effort into it.

How to: If you want to record a video, you’ll of course need a video recording device. There are many different types of videos you can do. If you want your video to be very informal and short, you can simply use your phone to record it.

This makes the video very authentic, as well as personal.

A good tip is getting a celebrity or a professional make-up artist, for instance, to participate in your videos. It would significantly increase the value of your video, and you will get a lot more signups. This does, however, also require a bit more planning.

If you want to record an interview with a celebrity or professional, or if you want to create a longer how-to video, you need video recording equipment that will create videos of high quality and resolution.

Also, remember to zoom in when necessary. Always have the viewers in mind when shooting the video so you ensure the “viewing experience” will be optimal.

19) Exclusive interviews

The last content upgrade I’m going to present to you is exclusive interviews.

Exclusive interviews are interviews with experts regarding a specific topic.

Take this example from Forbes, for instance:

Content upgrade using exclusive interviews

What: An exclusive interview with Forever 21’s Do Won Chang.

Where: This is an article on Forbes, where Do Won Chang has been interviewed, and the author has written an article about the interview.

Why: This interview is not a content upgrade but an article derived from an interview. Thus, it would be ideal to offer a content upgrade in this post with the full interview in written form or as a podcast or video.

This is yet another prime opportunity for e-commerce sites. Let’s reuse the example from above with the online beauty store.

How, you might ask?

Let’s reuse the example from above with the online beauty store.

If you sell hair products, you could try to land an interview with a celebrity hair stylist, such as Ted Gibson, who would tell you all about the newest hair trends.

Take this example from Naturally Curly, where they sell Ted Gibson products. The content upgrade with the interview would be ideal for this product page.

Content upgrade example with Naturally curly

You could also ask an influential beauty blogger, such as Alix from I Covet Thee, to do an interview with you.

Not only would this content upgrade be super valuable to your visitors who were looking for hair advice, but a professional hair stylist endorsing your business and your products would also increase both your popularity and your credibility.

Before you reach out to potential experts, you need to ensure that you already sell their product on your site if they have a product. You should also engage with them on social media to create a relation with them before you reach out.

How to: First, you need to research people you’d like to interview. Start out by following them on social media and engage with them. They’re more likely to say yes to an interview if you’ve shared their content and liked their profiles.

When you get to the outreach, you can use an automation tool like Mixmax to create your emails.

To schedule your interviews, you can use Calendly.

You also have to consider what the form of the interview should be: video, podcast, or transcription. In any case, you need a recording device that will ensure high-quality sound and video if that’s the case.

Video requires a bit more work, but they are also the most effective and appealing.

Exited about getting started with content upgrades?

You should be! They are so effective, and with our ultimate how-to guide, you can get started on your own content upgrades immediately. This guide includes all the best tips, tricks and tools that will help you create any of the content upgrades seen in this post. Get your guide, and get creative.

Free Downloadable How-to Guide: Download your how-to guide right away and start converting visitors into valuable email leads.

Wrap up

As you’ve hopefully seen throughout the post, content upgrades can come in many different forms and varieties.

Content upgrades are a great way of giving value to your visitors while you get their email address in the process. It’s a win-win situation.

No matter what type of content upgrade you decide to use, make sure that it’s relevant to the content in which you want to present it, as well as to your audience.

I hope you’ve learned a thing or two about content upgrades in this post and that you’re ready to get started.

Feel free to ask questions or share your own content upgrade stories in the comments below.

Emil Kristensen
Emil is the CMO and co-founder of Sleeknote. When he’s not busy with writing awesome content and building the Sleeknote brand, he spends his time reading and watching vlogs on YouTube (big fan Gary V). Fun fact: between the co-founders he is the fencing champ.

You might also like these...

  1. Holy crap. This is a monster-post.

    Thanks for all the insights Sleeknote! What are your thoughts about content upgrades on mobile devices?

    Reply
  2. Such an awesome article!!! And thank you for including me.

    Reply
  3. Great summary guys. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. Wow. This is the most useful article I’ve seen in a while. Thanks for posting!

    Reply
  5. Thanks for featuring our food blog as an example!

    Reply
  6. Conversions with content upgrades. This is an informative post.
    Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Reply
  7. Great resource. Thanks for sharing.

    I included your infographic on my site.

    Reply
  8. First of all I would like to say great blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing. I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my ideas out there. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips? Kudos!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign up for a bunch of useful insights: Subscribe to our newsletter: