Grow Your List with Easy Content Upgrades

Using content upgrades to grow your list can be tough if you’re not sure what types of content to give your readers.

You know you should be offering content upgrades to your readers as a way to grow your mailing list. But sometimes it’s not easy coming up with an opt-in idea for every post you write.

The other big complaint about using content upgrades is the amount of time it takes to create them. If you plan your content well, thought, creating the actual content upgrades don’t have to take much time at all.

Where the time comes in is creating the opt-in forms and setting up the mailing lists and sequences you’ll need to deliver your content. And that’s a task that’s easily outsourced to a virtual assistant.

So, in the spirit of giving your readers content upgrades that work for them, here are five different types of easy content upgrades you can use to grow your list.

Content Upgrade Idea #1 – How-To Video

Video is the most popular form of content online today. A short how-to video is seen to have as much, or more, value as a 20-30 page ebook. More even, because in sticking with the make it short and usable requirement for content upgrades, you are giving your reader something they can use immediately.

To create a short how-to video, you don’t need any fancy equipment. As long a you have a microphone you can use a free service like to create a short screen capture of a process you’ve outlined in your post. Record the video, use the screen shots in your post, and then offer up the actual video as an opt-in gift at the end.

simple content upgrades work best

Content Upgrade Idea #2 – A Free Consultation

If you run a service-based business of any kind, a free consultation can be the perfect content upgrade for your readers. Because you’re giving up your time to actually speak to someone and answer their questions, this type of upgrade has one of the highest perceived values of all opt-in gifts.

To set up a free consultation, have your reader opt-in for the upgrade first, and then redirect them to a scheduling app such as “TimeTrade” in order to book an appointment. You don’t have to offer long calls – PAC Expert Author Kathryn MacLean offers free 15 minute consults with all prospective new clients.


This is a great way for your readers to get to know you, and for you to get to know them as well.

The only thing I would caution is that if you are going to use a free consultation as a lead generator, you make sure you have enough time to follow through with this type of offer.

Content Upgrade Idea #3 –Worksheets

Worksheets are among my favorite content upgrades to offer. They work especially well in self-help and personal development niches.

For example, if your post asks a series of questions that lead the reader through a process, then offering up a worksheet with the questions printed out and a few blank lines for them to write their answers on is a useful content upgrade.

Worksheets are easy to make as well. All you need to do is create a simple word document with the questions and blank lines. You don’t need a cover, or any fancy graphic design skills. Save your document as a PDF and offer it up as a printable worksheet at the end of the list of questions in your post.

Content Upgrade Idea #4 – A Short Email Course

Short email courses are another one of my favorite types of content upgrades. When you create a short 5 or 7 day course that solves one problem related to the blog post you’re offering the upgrade on it does two things:

1. It lets you share additional expertise with the reader so they can easily implement what you’re teaching in the post; and
2. It puts you in their inbox for 5 to 7 days in a row after the initial signup.

When you think of it, one of the biggest problems with list building is what to send your new list members after they’ve signed up and accessed the free gift. An email course takes care of that at least for the first week. And ideally, assuming that your readers are engaged and doing the lessons as you send them, by the end of the course you’ll know where else they need help through the questions they ask and the feedback they provide.

To set up a short email course, all you need to do is write the lessons and upload them to your autoresponder. Then let the power of automation do the work in delivering the lessons.

You could even set up a free Facebook group for people taking the course to come and ask questions if you wanted to go the extra step to engage with them.

Grow your list with short email courses

Content Upgrade Idea #5 – A Free Preview

If you have products for sale, such as e-books and how-to courses, then offering a free preview as a content upgrade is one of the easiest things you can do. Not only will giving away a part of your product help to grow your list, it will also help the presell your product.

Offer up a chapter from a book, or a module from a course that relates to the content in your blog post and you will then be able to follow-up with a three to five message series that shares more information about the product and how it can solve your readers’ problem.

As you can see, creating content upgrades doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Giving your readers content that they can easily engage with and also promotes the products and services you offer is a win-win for both of you. Your readers get the information they need to solve a problem, and you get to build a list and a community of people who want and need what you have to offer.

You can learn more about content upgrades and get my free checklist (another type of content upgrade) of Content Upgrades That Get Results at

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    1. Kathryn Maclean April 16, 2018
    2. Emi Koulev May 9, 2017
    3. Nisha Garg May 6, 2017
    4. Ruth Bowers April 22, 2017
    5. cheryschmidt April 14, 2017

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