Content Upgrades for List Building, Growth & Sales – WPCP: 114

content upgrades

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I’ve been talking about Content Upgrades for a while now.

Not that I’m an expert by any means, but it’s definitely a focus and something that I have first hand experience with. And it works.

I don’t quite remember when I first tested using content upgrades (it was a while ago)… actually, I think it was when I created a PDF for a tool called Reachly (they don’t exist anymore) that was for Pinterest. It was the early days of Pinterest and I was using it quite a bit (more for fun than for marketing) and when I came across Reachly (which I think eventually became Pinerly), I fell in love with it. It had a beautiful interface and was super easy to use. I have no idea what inspired me to create the PDF, but I just got caught up in the moment and went to town. I had heard about content upgrades before but hadn’t paid too much attention to them. At the time I had an opt-in offer on my site but was not focused on building my list (more on that in a bit).

First, let’s talk about what a Content Upgrade Is

I know… it sounds pretty obvious, but there are a few different schools of thought on the matter.

Some might tell you it is only when you provide more/additional content that is relevant to the content the visitor is reading /consuming.

For the sake of keeping things simple, I’m going to say a content upgrade is anything that provides additional value to your visitor.

Meaning, if you have amazing content that your reader might want to reference in the future, then providing that content in the form of a downloadable PDF is helping them (I don’t know about you but I suck at bookmarking things and coming back to them. I just don’t want to do it, so instead I save links and rarely go back to them. I know… doesn’t make much sense). Keep in mind though if you’re going to copy & paste a post into a PDF for easy reference, simply be transparent about it. Don’t position the opt-in like they’re getting something more. What I’ve done in the past is something like “If you want to download this post for easy reference click the button below” (or however I’ve linked to it).

Personally I prefer creating something additional to the original content.

It gives you more credibility with your audience and creates an asset for you in the process.

Content Upgrades aren’t just PDFs

I think the default for creating a content upgrade is something in the form of a PDF, usually an ebook or guide.

Here are a few other options for content upgrades (and yes, I know some of these are in the form of a PDF but think ‘not an ebook’):

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  • Audio file (clearly I’m a fan of audio… you have lots of options here – interview, teleseminar, audio from webinar, etc.)
  • Video(s) (You can do a mini-course, a how-to, a screencast… whatever. Just keep the length of the videos shorter. No one wants to watch one hour-long video)
  • Infographic
  • Checklist
  • Manifesto
  • Webinar (on-demand training)
  • Case study (yes, a PDF, but a tangible example of where something worked for you)
  • … and of course ebooks

If you’re stuck with what type of content to create for your content upgrades (I’m starting to feel like I’m keyword stuffing here with the amount of times I’m using the word content), take a step back and think about what would help you the most. One thing I find most helpful is an actual example of when something has been used or implemented.

Take this podcast & post as an example (this literally just came to me as I was writing this).

I’ll be including some tools and resources for content upgrades below. I could (can?) easily create a downloadable PDF with links to all the tools, a checklist for the process of creating a content upgrade (which may vary depending on what tool you’re using) and maybe a video with one of my favorite tools (this could actually be a product to sell.. hmm… maybe I’ll just include the checklist 😉 ). I could also include the audio download of the podcast for easy reference (no point in making someone come back and listen to it, right?).

How you do this depends on your own personal creative process.

There are times when I get ideas out of the blue (when I’m not at the computer) and I’ll send myself a note or save a note in my phone so I don’t forget it (the joys of getting older), but most of the time my creative juices start flowing when I’m doing the work.

Let’s take my daily emails as an example.

Over the last month or so I’ve been emailing almost daily (I’m getting there… and I’m too proud of the progress I’ve made to beat myself up for not hitting the ‘daily’ piece of this yet).

It’s a different style email and format than most people teach (I follow the Ben Settle method… #bensettlefan , what can I say. His stuff works and he’s hilarious). It’s a story format with one link in it.

And I LOVE it.

I have no idea what I’m going to write about until I sit down to write it.

Often times and idea for the email will come to me when I’m waking up or watching TV the night before, or because of something I’ve read when I sit down to my desk to begin my workday.

The beauty of this method is that it’s through the practice of it that you start to get more and more ideas. Writing for me has become more fun and way easier because I’ve been doing it for a while now.

And nothing will help you get better at something like daily practice.

The same thing will happen for you with content upgrades.

The more you create them the easier they’ll get.

You can also have a few you can insert into multiple pieces of content. Like my ‘Ultimate Guide to Thrive Content Builder’.

I can insert that content upgrade into any post I’ve created for Thrive. I’ve tagged the subscribers so I know they’re interested in Thrive products and I can easily segment and email them when there are new Thrive products or updates.

Tools for Content Upgrades

Do to the need to get this podcast recorded, I’m going to list these in a simple bullet list with a short description but will go into more detail in the podcast.

  1. Thrive Content Builder & Thrive Leads: Thrive leads makes it easy to deliver a lead magnet right in the same window (I need to do a video on this)
  2. Vyper Content Upgrades: Easily offer content upgrades & delivery (this isn’t released as of this publication yet but will be soon)
  3. Shortcodes Ultimate plugin: Free in the repository. You have to get a little more creative with this one but you can use a handful of content boxes for this (but still need a lead capture or opt-in box connected)
  4. Content Upgrader: Also a free plugin that requires some sort of opt-in box like Thrive Leads, but has custom templates for creating the content upgrade box
  5. Content Upgrades Pro: Premium plugin for creating the content upgrade box, opt-in box & delivery option (thank you page or email)
  6. Opt-in Monster: Similar to Thrive Leads
  7. Canva: for creating your PDFs (infographics, ebooks, checklists, etc., what I use for all my PDF content upgrades)
  8. Snappa: another tool for creating Infographics
  9. Zencastr: for recording audio content upgrades
  10. Screenflow or Camtasia: Screencast videos for video options

These are just a handful of tools for content upgrades… there are plenty more you can use or try for growing your list with content upgrades.

After recording this post I’ll definitely be diving deeper into content upgrades… and quite possibly creating a product.

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