Before I explain what a content upgrade is, try to remember how many time where you offered a cheat sheet, a downloadable PDF of a long post or a free template, workbook as soon as you started reading the post?

That’s exactly what’s known as a content upgrade.

Below, you can see a live example with a content upgrade for this post:

Bonus: Download this post as an e-book (free bonus inside) Click here to get it

Content Upgrade Insights and Examples

A content upgrade is a lead magnet that relates to the content a user is reading. For example, a content upgrade on this page will be a PDF of everything written here in this post. Since you are eager to know more about how the content upgrade works, The chances you’d want to download this post in a PDF format are really high.

It can also be a template for creating your own Content upgrade or it can be a cheatsheet, workbook, a recording, related course or an E-book. It should be anything that is highly similar to what a user is reading, viewing or listening to.

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Email Marketers use this to generate more leads by targeting a specific area of users by offering a relevant content upgrade as an ethical bribe.

I use a content upgrade on each of my most viewed posts. Head on to the post where I discuss how to reduce bounce rate of a blog.


Before the first heading, you can see a lead magnet section which says download this post with clickable links and template. That is my content upgrade. When you click on “get it here” link, you’ll immediately see a popup asking for your email. In return for your email, I will give you the content upgrade. That’s how it works.

Similarly, At the end of this post, you can see one of my category specific content upgrades.

It’s a two-step process, at first step you click on the link and at the second, a popup is shown asking for your email. Once you fill up and click on the button, you are redirected to the specific page where your bonus is kept ready for you.

You offer something valuable to the readers of your content and in exchange, the readers give you their email. The content upgrade is used on a particular set of content rather than offering them site-wide as the same.

If you run a food blog, You may have a lead magnet that shows “10 secrets of a great chef” but you can’t expect a reader of your post on “how to make cakes to be interested in it”. Instead of doing that, offering them a cheat sheet or a “checklist of making a cake with ingredients” can convert really well.

A content upgrade is basically an ethical bribe, also known as a lead magnet. All I’m doing is giving you a reason to optin and subscribe to my list. Gone are the days when people intentionally left their emails to subscribe to a particular blog just for receiving its updates.

Simple optin forms without any lead magnet don’t convert a fraction of what an optin from doing with a content upgrade as an ethical bribe do. They give your visitors a solid reason for giving you their permission to reach them again and again even if they don’t ever come back to your site.

The content upgrade is all about value. By giving something valuable, useful and beneficial to your users you are genuinely helping them in exchange for their email and other contact details. Also, note that content upgrades don’t work on every page and post, instead they are meant to be used on high-value landing pages that in general means your most viewed and traffic generating posts.

Effect On Conversion

Look the conversion rate after implementing this tactic:


It’s really high.

Content Upgrades should be made to add value. Sitewide optin from that show everywhere on your web pages don’t convert so well because they simply don’t add value and are not targeted. Targeting a specific audience by offering them something in their area of interest is what content upgrades do. As it sounds, it should upgrade the value of your content.

Read this case study of 492% increase in conversion rate by using content upgrades.

Also note, They should not be used on each and every blog posts. You have to be very selective while choosing the best content to start with

Finding A Content To Use It

Google Analytics has everything you need to get started with targeting specific posts for placing content upgrades for best conversion results. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Find your top landing pages using Google analytics
  2. Create A simple PDF of that page using Print friendly & PDF chrome extension – this will be your content upgrade
  3. Create an optin form and use the content upgrade as an ethical bribe/lead magnet
  4. Create an autoresponder that will deliver the promised content upgrade.

That’s how it works.

3 Simple Ways to Create a Content Upgrade

1. I have got a detailed tutorial on how you can create a content upgrade with an online tool “Beacon”. Its free and takes no more than 5 minutes to create your first one. You can use any of your login form content which is over 1500 words.

2. You can use Canva, Stencil or Snappa. These are online graphics tools and work the way you want. Simple go to any of the tools and select a type of graphic you want to create. You can use this tutorial to create an Infographic, Cheatsheet or an E-book. Each of the tools is free to get started with.

3. Using the spreadsheet. Use Microsoft Excel or Google spreadsheet to make a data cheatsheet you can use as a lead magnet. It takes no more than 10 minutes. You can use your top 10 or top 25 list content for doing that. Make sure the link you attach with the text are clickable or else the subscribers will have a hard time and may not like the upgrade you did 🙂

5 Qualities of a Great Content Upgrade (The people Love)


1. Make It Actionable – You know what makes a regular post and a post which gets massive response from audience different? The actionability. Make your upgrades a quick read and do guide. Every tactic you suggest should have an action strategy prepared. Not only this will make your subscribers more engaged with it but it will eventually improve your credibility as well.

2. Relevancy – This is one of the most important parts of content upgrade creation. Since they are used to target content interest specific readers, it is very important that you keep your upgrades highly relevant to the topic.

3. Special Feel –  What if I offer you a content upgrade as a collection of all of my private tools and tactics I use to rank my blog on Google and get more conversions? You’ll feel amazingly special. That’s what you have to do while promoting it to your audience. Make them feel special by offering them inner circle gifts and ideas.

4. Outlook – The reason why many bloggers and online marketers fail in getting more conversion even after using many content upgrades is its decoration and outlook. You have to make it appealing and attractive. Not from the outside only but from the inside too. Your subscribers shouldn’t regret using it. They should enjoy.

5. Uniqueness – Making your content upgrades more unique should be your prime motive. Thye should add value, be relevant but still, they have to be unique from other posts on your blog. Simply writing an ebook on same topics you’ve been posting but won’t work. Use your mind, go do a survey or use online tools like AnswerThePublic to know what topic is relevant to you and how you can create a unique lead magnet by answering the general questions.

WordPress plugins for Creating Content Upgrades Faster

There are a very few WordPress plugins that can create content upgrade right from your WordPress dashboard but the main fact is, Less than 5 of these are actually working as of 2018. I tried them, all of the 8 plugins.

So far two plugins work really great:

  1. Content Upgrades  by Krish
  2. Lead magnets by Contentupgrade.me

Both of these plugins still work and they will really save you a lot of time.

The best part of using it is mutual benefit. When you get the content upgrade, you can actually get more benefits for free and the one who offered it to you can now reach you with an email anytime.

If you aren’t using this tactic of generating leads faster than ever, you are missing out on potential customers every day.

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