make a content upgrade

If you’ve read my recent posts on why content upgrades matter and how to optimize your results with them, you know why your blog needs content upgrades. But you may still be in the dark about how to actually make them. Although content upgrades do add a bit of extra work to your content marketing game plan, you don’t need to be a writer, designer, or rocket scientist to make good ones. Here’s how to make a content upgrade that gets you more email subscribers:

Need to make content upgrades that are simple to consume and look good too?
Download my free resource list on 10 tools for making high-quality content upgrades.

Step 1: Figure out which blog posts to tackle first

If you’ve been blogging regularly for a while, you may be feeling overwhelmed about which blog posts you should make a content upgrade for first. You may think the best way to go is to start making content upgrades a standard feature of every new blog post and use scraps of time here and there to add them to old posts.

This isn’t the worst idea you could come up with, but it also isn’t the best one. Here’s why: If you want a content upgrade to convert well, it can’t just exist on a page. The page also needs to get traffic. If you start by adding content upgrades only to new posts, you may be able to capitalize on the initial surge of traffic you get right after publishing and promoting a new post. However, for many of these new posts, your traffic may drop substantially and plateau a few days later.

What can you do instead? Target your existing blog posts that get the most traffic. This way, you can capitalize on a steady stream of blog visitors.

How do you figure out which of your existing blog posts get the most traffic? Check your blog’s Google Analytics account.

Once you’re logged in, use the left menu to select Behavior > Site Content > All Pages. This will give you a list of all the pages on your blog and key analytics for each one. Ignoring other pages, identify the 5 blog posts that have the highest number of page views.

make a content upgrade

These are the first 5 blog posts you want to make a content upgrade for. Once you’ve tackled these posts, you can move on to other ones.

Step 2: Understand what your blog post solves

Once you’ve identified a blog post that you’re going to make a content upgrade for, you need to figure out what the content upgrade will focus on. The first step to doing this is to understand what problem the blog post solves. After all, if you want your content upgrade to be valuable and actionable, it needs to solve a key problem your audience has. To make sure your content upgrade does this, you need to know what your audience’s problems actually are.

You may have a sense of what your audience is struggling with. But if you want to optimize the conversion rate of a content upgrade, you need to be as sure as possible.

So how do you figure out what keeps your audience up at night? Answer these questions, which I’ve modified from CoSchedule:

  • What is the blog post about?
  • Who is the audience?
  • What problem is your blog post trying to solve?
  • What are you trying to teach your audience?
  • What can you teach them?

Do you have an opportunity to ask your audience about the key challenges they’re facing? That’s even better.


In one of my blog posts, I share tips on how to write a services page that converts. The goal is to help my audience—businesses and bloggers—write their own high-converting services page for their website. Many business owners and bloggers don’t know what to write on their services page to help them gain more clients. This blog post walks them through the key components.

Related: 6 content upgrade tips that will skyrocket your email list + free fillable checklist cheat sheet

make a content upgrade

Step 3: Identify the best value your content upgrade can add

Now that you’ve figured out what your blog post solves, you’re ready to make a content upgrade for it, right? Not quite, but you’re getting close.

Before you start to make a content upgrade, you need to figure out what your content upgrade will be. Sure, you can dive right in and figure it out as you make your upgrade. But you’ll be able to produce a cleaner upgrade in less time if you come up with a game plan first.

How do you figure out what your content upgrade should be about? Read your blog post and think about how you could take it to the next level in terms of providing value. What would help your audience take the next step in terms of implementing the information in your blog post?

For example, let’s say you’ve written a blog post about making a beginner’s watercolour painting. Your content upgrade could be a shopping list of materials your reader would have to buy to make the painting. If your blog post is instead about why your audience should use a particular platform or tool to accomplish a task, your content upgrade could be a video tutorial on how to set up and use the tool. And if you’ve written a post on how to write a welcome email series for new subscribers, your content upgrade could be a 6-email welcome series template.

Need more inspiration? Download my free list of 27 content upgrade ideas.

Whatever you do, resist the urge to share a generic ebook or guide that’s only superficially related to the topic of your blog post.


Even once you know what to include on a services page, it can be tricky to start writing your own. That’s why the content upgrade for my services page blog post is a services page copy template and full example. This gives my subscribers an example to work from so that they have an easier time writing their own copy.

content upgrades

Related: 6 reasons why your blog needs content upgrades + free idea list

Step 4: Make your content upgrade

Now that you know how you can provide the best value to your audience, you’re ready to make a content upgrade (woohoo!).

There are lots of ways to make a content upgrade, and the specific approach or tools you use will depend to some extent on the type of upgrade you want to create. However, you can make many of the most common types of upgrades, such as checklists, lists, cheat sheets, templates, and how-to guides, by using Word or Pages and saving your file as a PDF.

Looking for a tool that can help you make a snazzy content upgrade? Download my free list of 10 tools for creating high-quality content upgrades.


You can check out a copy of the finished services page template and example by downloading a copy from my services page blog post.

make a content upgrade

Think systematically about how to make a content upgrade

In theory, a content upgrade can be just about anything you want it to be. But if you want your audience to like your upgrades and sign up for them, it’s important to be strategic when you make a content upgrade.

Instead of coming up with a half-baked idea as you go, take the time to figure out which blog posts to prioritize, understand what they accomplish, and identify the best way to upgrade their value. If you target the challenges your audience is actually facing and make it easier for your subscribers to tackle them, your email list will start to grow like wildfire.

Need to make content upgrades that are simple to consume and look good too?
Download my free resource list on 10 tools for making high-quality content upgrades.

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Want more email subscribers from your blog? Learn my 4 simple steps to creating effective content upgrades + get my list of 10 tools for making content upgrades.

How to make a content upgrade to get more email subscribers + free tool list
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