Want to double your email list? Content upgrades can be your magic bullet.

The beauty of content upgrades lies in their simplicity—they’re quick to create. But let’s be real, coming up with the right idea can be a nightmare. You might find yourself stuck, wasting hours trying to think of something that will truly resonate with your audience.

If you don’t want to spend countless hours brainstorming, you’re in luck. In this article, I’ll share 11 easy content upgrade ideas to help you breeze through the “idea generation” phase.

No more creative block. These tried-and-true content upgrades will help you deliver value to your readers and grow your email list effortlessly. Ready to skyrocket your email list? Let’s dive in!

What Is a Content Upgrade?

A Content Upgrade is a bonus piece of content you offer at the end of your blog posts. To access this valuable extra, readers need to sign up for your email list.

The key to a successful Content Upgrade is relevance. It should be related to the blog post and be something your audience actually wants.

For example, take a look at Growth Tools’ blog. Bryan offers a content upgrade that’s not only highly coveted by his audience but also perfectly aligned with his article on product launches:

Image 7

This seamless integration ensures that the upgrade feels like a natural extension of the content, adding real value.

Note: If you’re new to content upgrades or content marketing, I highly recommend checking 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 content upgrades you can create. It takes no more than 20 minutes and can provide immense value to your readers. Simply compile a list of your favorite resources into a PDF file.

Your resource list could feature the best articles on a specific topic, or it could showcase the top articles and videos for beginners in a particular field. The goal is to help your readers kickstart their journey toward achieving their goals.

The best part? You don’t need to stress about design. You can write your list in Google Docs and export it as a PDF.

When crafting a resource list, focus on quality content rather than flashy presentation. If creating a PDF isn’t your thing, you can also make a dedicated page on your WordPress site and redirect users there once they opt-in.

Quick, simple, and incredibly effective—resource lists are a win-win for you and your audience.

2. A PDF Version of Your Blog Post

Time Required: Less than 10 minutes

Let’s be real:

Your blog readers are busy. Whether they’re dealing with kids making a mess or juggling phone calls, distractions are everywhere.

Most of them will bookmark your post with the best intentions of reading it later, but let’s be honest—they’ll probably never get around to it.

Here’s where a PDF version comes in handy. By setting up an exit-intent popup, you can offer your readers an easy way to download your blog post as a PDF. Not only do they get to read it at their convenience, but you also get a new subscriber to your email list. It’s a win-win.

Creating a PDF is simple. Just copy your blog content into a Google Doc, then go to the File menu and select “Download” followed by “PDF Document.”

Boom. Now you have a handy download option that keeps your readers engaged and grows your email list.

3. The Checklist

Time Required: 30 Minutes

Offering a checklist in your how-to article can make life significantly easier for your readers. A quick-reference checklist not only saves time but also adds a sense of accomplishment as they tick off each item. Who doesn’t enjoy that?

The beauty of this content upgrade is its immense utility. It gives your readers an easy-to-follow summary they can refer to every time they tackle the task at hand.

Checklists are universally beneficial, regardless of the industry. For example, if you’re giving tips on choosing the right apartment, you can provide detailed advice in the blog post and offer a downloadable checklist as a handy content upgrade.

Take a cue from Brian Dean’s SEO blog. In his article on SEO copywriting tips, he includes a bonus PDF checklist that lists all 17 techniques discussed in the article, plus two additional ones.

Example Of A Checklist Content Upgrade - Content Upgrade Ideas

4. The Transcript

Time Required: Over an hour if you do it manually

Most podcasters include the transcript right on the episode page, but offering it as a content upgrade can be a game-changer. While not all your listeners will need a transcript, some will appreciate the ability to read your episode like an article, especially when they can’t plug in their headphones.

Getting a transcript for your podcast is easy and affordable—Fiverr offers transcription services for as low as $5. Once you have your transcript, just convert it into a PDF using Google Docs, and you’ve got a valuable content upgrade ready to go.

5. Audio or Video Version

Time Required: 1 hour

Some people are visual learners, and others prefer listening. Plus, not everyone enjoys reading long articles, but most don’t mind watching a video or listening to a podcast.

Offering a video or audio version of your blog post can significantly expand your reach and boost your subscriber count. This approach is particularly effective for How-To articles. Instead of using screenshots and written steps, guide your readers through the process with a video.

If the thought of being on camera makes you nervous, this is a perfect opportunity to overcome that fear. You don’t need fancy equipment or Spielberg-level skills to create a compelling video content upgrade. Just hit the record button on your phone and share the video online. Don’t stress about making it look professional—your subscribers care more about the quality of the content than the production value.

The same applies to audio podcasts. High-quality content will always win over high production values, so focus on delivering value to your audience.

6. The Quick Start Guide

Time Required: 30 Minutes

Want to nearly double your blog post’s conversion rate? A Quick Start Guide might be just what you need.

If you’ve crafted a detailed how-to guide, your readers might spend at least 30 minutes digesting all the information before they can put your tips into action. Why not make it easier for them?

Transform your comprehensive article into a streamlined Quick Start Guide. Strip away all the extra details, leaving only the essential steps. This way, readers can grasp your advice in seconds, not minutes. They’ll appreciate the convenience, and you’ll see a significant boost in your email sign-ups.

7. The Email Course

Time Required: 3-4 Hours

Offering an email course on a complicated task can be a game-changer for growing your subscriber list. For instance, if you’re sharing insights on building a personal brand, create an email course that guides readers through the crucial steps over a week or a month.

A fantastic example of this is Michael Simmons’ email course, which he promotes at the end of his blog posts. Simmons, who writes extensively about self-improvement and mental models, uses this strategy effectively on his blog to engage his audience:

Email Course - Content Upgrade Ideas

8. The Case Study

Time Required: 2-4 Hours

Offering a case study can do wonders for your email list and your client base. It’s not just about gaining subscribers; it’s about showcasing your expertise and results.

When you offer a case study, you’re proving two critical things:

  1. You know your stuff.
  2. Your methods get results.

This not only builds trust with your audience but also instills confidence in potential clients.

For instance, if you’ve written a how-to article on building a personal brand, adding a case study as a content upgrade can attract a ton of subscribers. People want to see if your strategies actually work. When you provide concrete proof, you’re more likely to turn readers into lifelong fans.

9. Bonus Content

Time Required: 15 Minutes

Got a listicle with 30 tips to lose weight? Here’s a quick win: trim five tips from the article and package them into a PDF as bonus content.

This approach means no extra content creation—just some clever repurposing. Simply slice your blog post and remove a few tips.

However, many bloggers make the mistake of adjusting the title. If your post is titled “50 Ways to Do X” and you pull out 5 tips, don’t change the title to “45 Tips.” Keep it as is.

This way, when readers reach the end of your blog post, they’ll be tempted to download the content upgrade to get their hands on the rest of the tips.

10. The Template

Many tasks involve repetitive work that can be streamlined with a template. By offering your readers a template related to your how-to articles, you can significantly reduce the time it takes for them to complete the task.

Think about it: a well-crafted template can cut their workload in half. It’s a simple yet powerful way to provide value and help your audience be more efficient.

For instance, in their article on SEO for SaaS companies, Siege Media offers a free spreadsheet for keyword analysis:

Siege Media'S Kob Analysis Spreadsheet Content Upgrade

This kind of resource not only aids your readers but also positions you as a practical, helpful expert in your field.

11. Email Scripts

Time Required: 30 Minutes

Crafting an email to someone you’ve never met can be daunting and time-consuming, especially for introverts. The process often brings up a slew of questions:

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

Offering your readers pre-written email scripts can significantly ease this burden. With a ready-made template, all they need to do is tweak a few words and hit send.

Take Ramit Sethi’s blog post on reaching out to VIPs, for instance. At the end of his insightful article, he provides an invaluable content upgrade—a polished email script:

Ramit Sethi Email Script Content Upgrade Example - Content Upgrade Ideas

By providing these scripts, you’re giving your audience a tool that saves time and boosts their confidence.


If you’ve never created a content upgrade for your blog, don’t waste time searching for the “perfect” idea—because it doesn’t exist. The key is to experiment with different variations and keep testing until you discover what resonates with your audience.

Yes, it’s hard work, but the rewards are worth it. Keep at it, and you’ll see your email list grow in no time.