Content Upgrade Ideas

11 Easy Content Upgrade Ideas To Help You Grow Your Email List

A content upgrade can help you double the size of your email list.

Creating a content upgrade usually takes less than an hour but coming up with the right idea can be a pain.

If you don’t want to waste hours trying to come up with the perfect idea, you are in the right place. In this article, I will share with you 11 easy content upgrade ideas to help you get past the “idea generation” phase.

What Is a Content Upgrade?

A Content Upgrade is simply a bonus piece of content you can offer at the end of your blog posts. To download this bonus content your readers will have to opt-in to your email list.

A Content Upgrade only works if it is directly related to the blog post and is something your audience really wants.

Here’s a great example from Bryan Harris’ blog:

Bryan Harris Content Upgrade Example - Content Upgrade Ideas

This content upgrade is not only something his audience really wants but also is something that is completely related to the article it is a part of. This content upgrade is a part of this article in which Bryan explains his product launch process. His content upgrade is completely related to that article.

Note: If you are new to content upgrades or content marketing, I highly recommend you to check out our detailed guide on using content upgrades to grow your email list.

1. The Resource List

Time Required: 10-20 minutes

A resource list is one of the easiest types of content upgrades you can make. It takes no more than 20 minutes. All you have to do is compile a list of your favorite resources in a PDF file.

The best part about this content upgrade is that you don’t even need a great design. There are so many bloggers who offer resource lists made with Google Docs. They simply compile a list of resources in a Google Doc, export it as a PDF, and then offer it as a Content Upgrade.

When making a resource list, focus more on the content than on the presentation. If you don’t want to make a PDF file, just create a page on your WordPress site and then redirect your users to this page once they opt-in.

2. A PDF Version of Your Blog Post

Time Required: Less than 10 minutes

Let’s face it:

Most of your blog readers are “busy.”

Maybe their kids are running around making a mess.

Or maybe their phone is ringing.

Offering your readers a PDF version of your blog post won’t work as well as some of the other content upgrades on this page but it will help you get some of your readers to sign up.

Simply copy the contents of your blog post, paste them into a Google Doc, and then choose Export a PDF File from the File menu.

Many of your readers will want to save your blog post so they can read it later. This gives them a chance to do just that.

3. The Checklist

Time Required: 30 Minutes

Offering a checklist for a how-to article can make the life of your readers a lot easier. Having a quick checklist that you can look at while working saves a lot of time.

If you write how-to articles, offer your readers a quick checklist they can go through every time they try to accomplish what the article is about.

This content upgrade works in all industries. If you offer advice on how to choose the right apartment, you can offer the details in the blog post and a quick checklist as a content upgrade.

Here’s an example from Brian Dean’s SEO blog:

Example of a Checklist Content Upgrade - Content Upgrade Ideas

4. The Transcript

Time Required: More than an hour if you do it manually

While most podcasters like to make the transcript of their episodes a part of the episode page, some offer it as a content upgrade.

While most of your listeners won’t need a Transcript, some of them will want to read your episode like an article if they are in a situation where they can’t plug in the headphones.

You can easily get a transcript for your podcast from Fiverr for $5. Once you have the transcript, you can turn it into a PDF with Google Docs to use as a Content Upgrade.

5. Audio or Video Version

Time Required: 1 hour

Some people are visual learners.

They just don’t like to read.

Offering them a Video or Audio version of your blog post will increase the number of people your content reaches, and will also increase your subscriber numbers.

This works very well for How-To articles. Instead of explaining the steps with Screenshots, you can guide your readers through the journey with a video.

If you are scared of getting in front of the camera, this is a great way to get over that fear. To record a video content upgrade, you don’t need any fancy equipment or the skills of Steven Spielberg.

Just hit the record button on your phone and put the video online. Don’t worry about making it look cool. Your subscribers won’t care about the video quality as long as the content is good. Same is true for an audio podcast.

Remember, a video is worth a thousand pictures.

6. The Quick Start Guide

Time Required: 30 Minutes

This content upgrade can help you almost double your conversion rate for a blog post.

If you have written a detailed how-to guide that explains a lot of things, your readers will have to spend at least 30 minutes to go through the whole article before they can implement your advice.

Offering them a quick start guide will make their life a lot easier.

Strip all the details from your blog post and make it an easy guide that people can go through in a matter of seconds, not minutes.

7. The Email Course

Time Required: 3-4 Hours

Offering an email course for a complicated task can help you gain a lot of subscribers. If you offer advice on building a personal brand, you can offer an email course that takes your readers through the steps over the course of a week or month.

Here’s a great example of an Email Course Michael Simmons offers at the end of all his blog posts:

Email Course - Content Upgrade Ideas

He writes about Self-Improvement and in the last few months he has been writing a lot about mental models. He offers this email course at the end of all his blog posts on Medium:

Content Upgrade at the bottom of Medium post

8. The Case Study

Time Required: 2-4 Hours

Offering a case study can not only help you get a lot of subscribers, but it can also help you land a lot of consulting/freelance clients.

When you offer a case study, you prove two very important things:

  1. What you write about actually works.
  2. You know what you are talking about.

This not only builds trust with your audience but also with your prospective clients.

If you write a how-to article on building a personal brand, offering a case study as a content upgrade will get you a lot of subscribers. Your subscribers will want to see if your tactics/strategies/techniques actually work. And if you give them proof that it does, they will become a fan of yours for life.

9. Bonus Content

Time Required: 15 Minutes

If your article includes 30 tips to lose weight, cut out five from the article, and put them in a PDF. You can then offer these 5 tips as bonus content.

This way you don’t have to create any new content for your content upgrade. All you have to do is slice your blog post and remove some of the content.

Now, one thing that most bloggers do wrong with this content upgrade is that they change the title. If your blog post is titled 50 ways to do X and you put 5 of the tips in a content upgrade, don’t change the title to 45 tips.

This way when your readers reach the bottom of the blog post they will be tempted to download the content upgrade so they can read the rest of the tips.

10. The Template

Time Required: 1-2 Hours

A lot of tasks require redundant work that you can remove from the equation with the help of a template. If you offer your readers a template for your how-to articles, you can cut in half the time it takes them to accomplish the task.

11. Email Scripts

Time Required: 30 Minutes

Connecting with people over email requires writing. Writing an email to a stranger not only takes time but also makes some people very uncomfortable, especially the introverts.

When you write an email, several questions pop up in your head:

  • How should I begin this email?
  • Am I doing this right?
  • How should I end this email?
  • Did I leave some typos or grammatical errors?

When you offer an email script, your readers only have to change a few words and hit the send button.

Here’s a great example:

Ramit Sethi Email Script Content Upgrade Example - Content Upgrade Ideas

At the end of his blog post on reaching out to VIPs, Ramit Sethi offers this content upgrade.


If you have never created a content upgrade for your blog, stop wasting time trying to find the perfect idea. There is no one perfect idea.

To find the perfect content upgrade for your content, you will need to create a lot of different variations and keep testing them until you find the ones your audience likes.

It is hard work but it pays off very well.

Now, before you leave this page, I want you to do these two things:

  1. Leave a comment and let us know what you think.
  2. Pick a content upgrade idea and get to making your first content upgrade right now.

Mohit Gangrade is a freelance writer and internet marketer. He writes about WordPress and Web Hosting on Web Hosting Sumo and WP Obsessed.

1 Comment

  1. Yvette Chilcott on October 30, 2018 at 10:37 am

    thank you for this post, it’s EXACTLY what I’ve been wanting to do. Now I just have to figure out how.

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