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“Would you like fries with that?”

“Do you want to supersize your drink?”

“Would you like to make it a combo with pop and a cookie?”

The fast food industry knows a thing or two about upgrades. Just imagine the truckloads of extra fries McDonald’s sells every year – and the millions in additional revenue.

But what if you could apply that same principle to your content marketing?

What if every person who read your blog opted in for your premium content? How many more people could you get on your list? How many of those people would eventually turn into customers?

Say “hello” to your new content marketing best friend … the content upgrade.

I believe that LeadPages coined the term “content upgrade”. A content upgrade is a premium resource that complements a specific blog post. Readers can opt in for these resources from the body or end of your blog post. For example, if you publish a post on cloud security, your content upgrade might be a checklist that readers can use to determine where they have gaps in their cloud security.

Here’s an example of a content upgrade that I included in one of my LinkedIn Pulse articles. The article was called “How to Plan Your 2015 Content Calendar”, so I offered an editorial calendar template as an upgrade. The offer converted at a rate of 61% and brought 634 more people to my list (and counting).

My other content upgrades are converting at rates between 42% and 56%.

picture of the content upgrade for an editorial calendar template that got me over 600 new subscribers

How is a content upgrade different from other lead magnets?

You likely have lots of premium resources on your website such as white papers, ebooks and on-demand webinars. These resources might be a valuable part of your marketing, helping you attract more leads and grow your list.

However, you can only promote these resources so many times before your audience gets tired of seeing them. Plus, these resources may not fill a reader’s most pressing need. For example, you might promote a white paper about improving employee productivity on every page of your blog … even if many of your posts don’t relate to this topic.

Content upgrades take your blog posts to the next level, as they provide readers who are already interested in the topic with a useful tool or resource.

Where will I find the time to create all these content upgrades?

Including a content upgrade in every blog post will have the biggest impact on your conversion rates. However, this likely isn’t realistic. Producing a content upgrade even twice a month should help you boost your opt-in rates.

Content upgrades don’t have to be as in-depth as a white paper or 45-minute webinar. Think about small, useful tools that will complement your blog post. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • Worksheets
  • Guides
  • Step-by-step plans
  • Tutorials
  • Training videos
  • Data from your research
  • White Papers
  • Bonus tips. For example, if your blog post is “5 ways to achieve X”, include a few additional tips in your upgrade.

You can even create a PDF of your blog post and offer it as a content upgrade. If you think this sounds lazy, consider that you may have readers who want to save your posts or email them to colleagues. Loz James, The Content Champion, has achieved 7%-46% conversion rates with this technique. However, he stresses that “you have to offer extremely actionable, step-by-step strategies in the post, so it’s worth downloading to refer back to later.

Think about the upcoming items in your editorial calendar. Would any of your blog posts perform better with a content upgrade?

3 Ways to Apply This Information Now

Image of the content upgrade checklistDownload the
“Content Upgrade Checklist:
9 Steps to Turbocharging
Your List Building With
Targeted Resources”