How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades
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Before we get started, let’s first tackle what a content upgrade is. A content upgrade is a free bonus that you offer to your readers inside of a blog post. A content upgrade is also different from your standard freebie (ex: an e-book you would offer across your blog). What makes a content upgrade unique is that every single one you create is tailored for a specific blog post. That means you’re creating a bonus specifically to compliment and enhance an article that you’ve written.

Let’s say you have a food blog that focuses on cooking and eating organic products. This week, you’re writing a blog post that is all about the nutritional value of kale. An example of a content upgrade would be a PDF that includes three recipes where kale is the main ingredient. Again, you are creating a bonus specifically for that one blog post.

Or let’s say you run a wedding blog that focuses on engagements, wedding, and honeymoons. Now you’re writing a blog post about 10 amazing places to go for your honeymoon. A perfect content upgrade to go along with your blog post would be a packing checklist on everything you need to bring.

A content upgrade can come in all different shapes and sizes. If you’re a photographer, you can put together a photo pack. If you’re a graphic designer, you can put together a PSD file. Content upgrades can be just about anything as long as they provide value to your audience, relate to your blog post, and they’re free:

Worksheets
Checklists
Planners
Resume Templates
To-Do Lists
Digital Fonts
Calendars
Resource Lists
Swipe Files
Challenges
Recipes
Webinar Recordings
Sewing Patterns
Case Studies
Clip Art
Invitations

I also created 5 FREE content upgrade templates to help you get started. ☞ GRAB THEM HERE

Why are content upgrades so important?

Now that we’ve gone over exactly what a content upgrade is, why are they so important? Content upgrades will help you grow your blog and brand while building a stronger relationship with your audience. Also, if your content upgrades are jam packed with evergreen content, they will keep driving traffic back to your blog. However, the most important reason you should start creating content upgrades is because they will help you grow your email list. And I’m not talking about a slow and steady increase. I’m talking about a “holy crap my email list exploded over night” increase.

Over the last 6 months, my email list has grown by 2,627%! That’s insane!
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Plus, content upgrades convert extremely well. I have content upgrades that are converting at 33%, 40%, and even 50%. You can check out my highest converting content upgrade here: How to Write an Epic About Me Page for Your Blog.

Other bloggers are also growing their email lists dramatically from content upgrades. Chaitra from PinkPot Studio went from 100 subscribers to 3,000 subscribers in 3 months. And Jenn from Hello Brio grew her email list 6x in 8 month!

Why do you want to grow your email list?

When I first started blogging, I always heard how important it is to grow your email list. Sadly, it still took me way too long to get on the bandwagon. I don’t want you to make that same mistake so I wanted to include 5 reasons why your email list is crucial to growing your blog:

1. Your email list will be around when your social media accounts go away (MySpace)
2. It’s one of the best ways to stay in touch and build a relationship with your audience
3. You own your email list and it’s a free (or extremely cheap) marketing source

4. People typically check their email multiple times per day
5. The more email subscribers you have, the easier it is to sell your amazing products

How do you integrate content upgrades with your blog?

I’ve gone over what a content upgrade is and why it’s so important to grow your email list. However, I thought this article would be missing something if I didn’t show you my exact process.

A few months ago, I started using Leadpages and it has changed my life. Now I’m able to create professional opt-in forms, track my conversion rates, and sync everything with my MailChimp account. They really do everything for you! So I’ve included step by step instructions on how to use Leadpages to integrate your content upgrades with your blog.

The first thing you want to do is create your content upgrade. If you’re creating a checklist or worksheet you might want to use Word or Pages. If you’re creating a photo pack or digital font you can put together a zip file.

Step 1: Once you’ve created your content upgrade, head over to Leadpages.net. If this is your first time using Leadpages, you will need to integrate your email marketing service. If you’ve already done this, you can skip down to step 4.

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Step 2: Click on the little arrow next to your name, and then “Integrations”.

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Step 3: Next, click on your email marketing service in order to connect. Depending on which service you use, it may ask you for your API key or access to your account.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 4: After you’ve finished integrating your email marketing service, click on “Leadboxes” and then “Create New Leadbox”.

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Step 5: Once you’re inside your leadbox, enter the name of your opt-in form on the top.

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Step 6: Under Integration settings click on “Integrate form with” to select the email marketing service you want to use. And then under “Using” choose what list you want your subscribers to go into once they opt-in.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 7: Once you’re finished, click “Customize this form”.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 8: Now you can change what your opt-in form will look like. The first thing you want to do is click on “Header Text”.

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Step 9: Once you’re there, you can change the text that’s on the top of your opt-in form.

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Step 10: To change the image, click on “Form Image”. Once you’re there, it will look like this:

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Step 11: Click on “Heading Style” to change your main header. Once you’re there, it will look like this:

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Step 12: To change the color and text of your button, click “Submit Button”. Once you’re there, it will look like this:

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Step 13: Under “Form fields” you can add additional forms. For example, you can ask for the subscriber’s first name along with their email address. All you have to do is click on the ones you want. Also, if you don’t like the order of each field, you can drag and drop them into different spots.

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Step 14: The next step is to customize the email you’re going to send out once someone opts-in. On the very top of the form, click the “OFF” button and then “customize this email”.

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Step 15: I send my email subscribers to my free library of resources. So within the email, I give them the link to that page along with the password to access it.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 16: Once you’re finished customizing your email, click “Save”. Now it’s time to create your thank you page. Open a new tab and head on back to Leadpages.net. Once you’re there, click on “Create New Page”.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 17: Pick out the leadpage you want to use as your thank you page and click “use template”.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 18: If it’s a drag and drop template, click on “Use the standard builder”. Now it’s time to name your page and start customizing. Don’t worry, it’s just as easy as before.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 19: Once you’re done editing your page click “save”, “publish”, and then copy the URL.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 20: Click “DONE” and you’ve finished putting together your thank you page. Below is a screenshot of what mine looks like.

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Step 21: Head back over to your leadbox inside the other tab and click on “thank you page”.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 22: Uncheck “Use default thank you page”, paste in your new URL, and click “Okay”.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 23: Then click “save” and “publish”. Once the different publishing options appear, you can create a text link, button link, or image link.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 24: Once you’ve chosen which link works best for you, copy the HTML code and paste it inside your blog post.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 25: Make sure it looks okay before you click “Publish”.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com

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Step 26: Click “Publish” and you’re done!

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com


You can also send your content upgrade as an attachment which would be sent to your subscribers as soon as they opt-in. I personally send an email with access to my free library of resources instead of sending an attachment. That way they have access to the content upgrade along with other freebies. However, if you want to send an attachment, it’s really easy to do:

Click on the little arrow next to your name and then click on “Lead Magnet Delivery”

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com

Click on “Upload New File”, choose the file you want, and click “open”.

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com

Once it’s saved and you’re in your leadbox, click on “Select lead magnet”, choose the one you want, and you’re good to go!

How to Grow Your Email List With Content Upgrades - Leadpages - TheCollectiveMill.com


I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions, always feel free to contact me. And don’t forget your free swipe file: FREE SWIPE FILE: CONTENT UPGRADES


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6 Comments

  1. I just started to incorporate content upgrades in my blogs and I’m so excited for this! Great post!

  2. I just launched my blog yesterday, and I’ve included a content upgrade in one of my posts and will also include one in my next newsletter. Do you have any tips or can you reference any articles about building readership? What was it like when you first started blogging? Thanks!

  3. Great tips! I loved that included a step-by-step guide to creating a Leadpage. I haven’t tried Leadpages but will have to look into them.

  4. Great articles..I love your work..I’m going to incorporate content upgrades to my blog posts. Hope it works for me too. Thanks!!

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