What is a content upgrade? You may have heard this term being mentioned more and more and with good reason.

A content upgrade serves two purposes.

  1. Provide useful and valuable  information in a handy or preferable format.
  2. To collect email addresses for the website owner.

The first is what the visitor gets from the exchange, the second is what the writer gets from it. So what is it exactly?

What is it?

A content upgrade is a complimentary piece of media that is relevant to another piece. For example:

A transcription of a podcast interview in a handy PDF or a step by step video to go alongside a blog post about a piece of software.

The additional piece of content needs to be relevant to the original content it is being offered from. It also needs to offer some form of utility to entice the reader to want more.

Why use content upgrades?

Content upgrades are a great way to both extent the conversation around the subject matter you are discussing as well as a much easier way of getting people to subscribe to your email list? Today it is getting much much harder to get people onto your email list and just as hard to keep them on there. Just adding a box to the bottom of your website with the line “subscribe for our newsletter” is no longer enough. You have to sell it and give people a reason.

How does it work?

It works by embedding Calls to action (CTA) in your content offering the content upgrade. You should then ask them to enter an email address in order to deliver the promised content upgrade to them. You can use plugins or even your email provider in order to do this. I would suggest having at least 2 calls to action on each piece of content. One in the middle and one at the end. Remember it needs to be completely relevant to the topic you are talking about in the original content. If it is off topic it will be far less likely to work and in fact will just spoil your content.

What happens after?

One thing I would suggest you do not do is add them to your generic email list. Often I see this happen. Remember the only thing the recipient is expecting is the content upgrade and maybe a few more emails related to that. If you are going to email them more than once you really should make that clear that by giving you their email address they are agreeing for you to contact them via that email address. After a few days of sending them the content upgrade you can then follow up with another CTA and offer them something again of value such as an email course or another piece of content again in the same subject matter as they were originally interested in.  You should then plan a series of emails to lead them towards your goal. The goal could be selling a course, or a book or buying something from you. If you intent to add them to a general mailing list at least let them know and offer them the opportunity to un-subscribe first.

Why do all of this?

Content upgrades will build trust and open the door to communicate with a relevant and targeted audience. You will then have the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and build trust. If you build your content upgrades with a clear path and problem you are solving you can identify people you can help and serve. Many forms of digital are getting harder and we need to work harder in order to get that permission and then deliver real value. People are busy and sometimes the offer to get a quick summary PDF with a step by step guide is really useful and something we can get now and consume when we are ready. We need to find new ways of offering utility based marketing and then building trust.

This sounds like hard work

It is, and that is the future of digital. If you want to stand out and be heard then you need to step up and do the work. There are no quick fixes and short-cuts any longer. The internet is saturated and everyone now has a publish button so we need to stand out and offer more. Cherish every single subscriber, viewer and reader. Do not abuse their permission and do not be afraid or upset when you lose a subscriber. If there are no longer looking to solve the problem that your product or service provides there is no point you clogging up there inbox.

Do they work?

That depends on the amount of utility and value you are prepared to give away. The more value the more likely it is someone will want it. Then get your email sequences in place and continue to help them solve that pain or problem and you will be in with a chance of helping them via your product or service.

If this is something you are thinking about doing and have no idea where to start let me know and I will be happy to help you get started. Do not worry if you do not have an email list or provider yet either there are many options that do not cost the earth. Drop me a line [email protected] and i will be happy to point you in the right direction.