The Ultimate Guide To Creating Insanely Useful Content Upgrades

When it comes to growing your list there's no better place to start than the content upgrade. 

Want to grow your email list & provide amazing free value to your readers? Look no further than the content upgrade. I spill the beans on all the strategies for increasing your conversions AND saving you time! - The Ultimate Guide To Creating Insanely Useful Content Upgrades,

(If you've not come across content upgrades before, it's simply a piece of free bonus content that your readers can download in exchange for their email address.

Content upgrades tend to have higher conversion rates that other more general lead magnets (e.g. a site-wide free email course) because they relate directly to the article that your reader has just enjoyed. This means your article has perfectly prepped your new readers so that they can't help but sign up for your free resource.) 

Content upgrades are pretty great but they can seem daunting. How will you find the time to create these resources on top of the articles you're already producing? How can you ensure your readers will actually want the resource you've spent time creating?

If these concerns resonate with you then you're in the right place...

In this guide, I'm going to walk you through exactly:

  1. How to create content upgrades that provide REAL value to your audience (because let's face it, no-one needs another pointless worksheet clogging up their inbox) 
  2. How to POSITION your content upgrade in a way that will maximise your conversions.
  3. How save time creating content upgrades WITHOUT sacrificing their quality.
Let’s face it - no one needs another pointless worksheet clogging up their inbox.

Sound good? Let's get into it. 

1. Your content upgrade should provide ONE specific result. 

When creating a content upgrade it's really useful to think about it in the same terms as you would a paid service or offering.

Whilst you won't ask for money in exchange for this resource, you are asking your readers to hand over their email address. (I don't know about you but I protect my inbox at ANY cost - if I'm going to hand over my details I expect something valuable in return.)

So, like a paid offering or service, you need to emphasise what's in it for your readers. 

Ask yourself: 

  1. What could your readers want after reading the article you've written?
  2. What could make actioning the content you've shared even easier? (e.g. do they need a template, a step by step checklist e.t.c.?) 
  3. What TANGIBLE results will they have after reading your content upgrade? 

Remember, there's no such thing as TOO specific! There is a lot of generalised advice on the internet, if you want your content upgrade to convert it needs to be LASER-FOCUSED to your readers specific needs in that moment. 

EXAMPLE: The Career Contessa's free financial guide is offered throughout an article titled 'A Finance Expert Wants You to Stop These Bad Money Habits ASAP'. The article sets out some great tips and perfectly preps the readers to get more in depth help in order to 'stop wasting' & 'start saving'.

[Top tip - check out how the download button also makes reference to the results with the simple phrase 'I'm ready to change' in place of a more generic 'Download now!']


There’s no such thing as TOO specific! Your content upgrade needs to be LASER-FOCUSED to your readers specific needs in that moment. 


2. Reduce your reader's investment as much as you can.

As well as emphasising the amazing results that your content upgrade will deliver to your reader, reducing their perceived investment will also sky-rocket your conversions. 

HIGH conversions = HIGH ROI for your reader (LOW reader investment + HIGH value)

HIGH conversions = HIGH ROI for your reader (HIGH value + LOW investment)

What does this actually mean for you content upgrade?

A 100+ page e-book is probably not going to convert as well as a condensed cheatsheet because of difference in the time investment for your reader. 

When it comes to creating a content upgrade, less is more. It's important to consider what is the most condensed format that you can deliver the promised results in. 

That's why checklists, just like the Ultimate Guest Posting Checklist ( you can download a copy below) remain my content upgrade of choice. Checklists are easy to digest and high in value as you are giving your audience step-by-step, in-the-right-order, everything-they-need instructions.

The Ultimate Guest Posting Checklist

Want to improve the perceived ROI of your content upgrades right now? Here's some copy you can use in your title/descriptions:

  • "ready to go"
  • "copy and paste scripts"
  • "drag and drop/ plug and play templates"
  • "grab & go resource"
  • "cheatsheet/checklist"
  • "literally EVERYTHING you need to X"
  • "so you can get started TODAY"

3. Create irresistible graphics

Irresistible graphics are key to the success of your content upgrade but if (like me) you're not gifted with design don't panic.

You don't need to spend hours making your content upgrade look pretty for the sake of it, great visuals simply need to communicate a high ROI (return on investment) to your reader.

For example, check out this worksheet from Nesha Woolery. The design is relatively simple (you could create a similar resource in Word or Pages) but the visual is highly effective because it demonstrates that the resource is easy to digest and places the focus on the real 'must-have' VALUE that she offers to her audience. 


You don’t need to spend hours making your content upgrade look pretty for the sake of it, great visuals simply need to communicate a high ROI to your reader.

A great way to communicate a high ROI is to help your reader's visualise themselves actually using your resource. 

For example, Braid Creative do this really brilliantly with this photo of their branding e-course. There are little notes scribbled on the pages, pens e.t.c. which help their readers see themselves using the resource to brainstorm and brand your business.

Example Vegan Checklist


If you don't have the time/ photography skills to stage a photoshoot for your content upgrade you can create a similar affect using mock ups. 

In Guest Post Like An Expert I teach my students to create mock ups like this example cheatsheet. This way you can place your content upgrade in any setting (an iPad, desktop computer, on a table e.t.c) in a matter of minutes. 


4. Create FEWER content upgrades.

So you're probably thinking this all sounds like a lot of work right? 

Creating content upgrades can be really time consuming on top of producing the original content for your website, especially if you want to create something of real value and position it like a pro. 

Here's the thing... you don't need to produce a new content upgrade for EVERY article that you produce (in fact, you really shouldn't) 

Instead, spend that time creating a really valuable content upgrade and create a suite of articles that lead to it. 

EXAMPLE - Caitlin Bacher does this really brilliantly with her Facebook Group Host Roadmap - it's a signature, evergreen content upgrade which she links to across multiple pieces of content. 

How To Create Irresistible Content Upgrades That People Actually Want
Here’s the thing... you don’t need to produce a new content upgrade for EVERY article that you produce (in fact, you really shouldn’t) 

As well as saving you a heap of time, creating less content upgrades can do wonders for the perceived value of your offering - like Caitlin's roadmap, your resource becomes not just one more throw away download but more of a signature resource.

5. Promote your content upgrade with guest posting

Guest Posting is THE best way of turbo boosting the conversions of your written content. If you're content upgrades on your articles bring in 10s of new email subscribers, guest posting can bring in 100s of new subscribers per article. 

If you're a beginner/ you're struggling to attract traffic, it's a waste of your time to continue sharing your content on your own website in the hope that your dream readers will come to you. 

With guest posting you can stop waiting for your readers & go out and find them!

Content upgrades are at the heart of successful guest posting because they give your new audience an incentive to come over to your website and stay in touch with you.

Guest Posting
If you’re a beginner/ you’re struggling to attract traffic, it’s a waste of your time to continue sharing your content on your own website in the hope that your dream readers will come to you. 

If you want step-by-step instructions for pitching, landing and writing guest posts that convert like CRAZY then look no further than The Ultimate Guest Posting Checklist:

The Ultimate Guest Posting Checklist

Ready to really TURBO-BOOST your content upgrades? Check out my new e-course Guest Post Like An Expert, the insanely comprehensive, step-by-step guide to growing your list & becoming an expert with guest posting. 

(p.s. there's only a few days left of early bird pricing so grab it while you can!)