In this post I’m going to show you how to stop using blogging as a way of bringing a handful of new visitors to your website, and start using it strategically to build your email list. To do that, I’m going to talk about content upgrades, what they are, give you some top examples, and explain how to set them up on your website.
Phew – that’s a lot to cover! Let’s get started.
Please note this post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclosure for more information.
This blog post is part of a whole series I’m writing on list building. If you haven’t done so already, you can read the first 3 blog posts by clicking on the links below:
Part 1: How to start an email list on your brand new blog
Part 2: How to easily get your blog visitors to sign up to your email list
And Part 3: How to copy the experts and grow your list twice as fast
Content upgrades – the secret to blogging strategically
The the good old days of the internet, the theory was that you could write a few blog posts, get heaps of traffic to your site, and voila – you’d have yourself a ready made online business.
Nowadays, it doesn’t really work like that. There is more competition, traffic is harder to come by, and you need to work hard to stand out from the crowd.
That’s where content upgrades come in. Content upgrades are essential a bonus piece of content that you produce alongside a blog post, that your readers can download in exchange for their email address.
It’s great for list building, and it’s one of the best methods for adding high quality subscribers, because if someone has gone to the effort of reading your entire post and decided they liked it so much they wanted to “upgrade” to your bonus content, then what you have there is a loyal, genuine and interested email subscriber. They are the best by far.
Producing your own content upgrade – some inspiration to get you started
In the free membership area that I’ve put along with this series, you can download my list of 20 quick and easy content upgrades (see what I did there?), but for the purpose of this post let me outline a few guidelines as to what makes a great content upgrade.
PDF / printable: If you have added some valuable content to your blog post – perhaps a menu plan for a diet, a great upgrade is a PDF printable version of the same content. This is really easy to put together, and a lot of people will sign up for the sheer convenience of having that information in their hands.
A bigger list: If you are writing a list-based blog, you can offer a bigger list as your upgrade. For example, you might list 10 great websites for promoting your blog content, and have an upgrade where you list your top 25 websites that get you the highest amount of traffic.
Step-by-step guides: Guides are really useful. If you go into detail in a post about something that is helpful, why not put together a numbered, step-by-step guide that people can download.
Checklists: Another really useful option. For example, if you write a post about how to set up your WordPress blog, you could include a checklist of all the things that need to be covered before the website goes live. Checklists often go hand-in-hand with a lot of how-to-posts.
So that has, hopefully, given you a good starting point for the type of content you could start adding to your blog posts.
How to set up a content upgrade on your blog
Content upgrades typically sit at the bottom of a post, and there are two ways you can add them. The first is by linking to a dedicated landing page, like I’ve done with this blog post (which links to my free membership area). The other option is to use a plug in such as Popupally or Optin Forms to promote your content upgrade in a sign up box at the bottom of your posts. I touched on those two tools in the first blog post in this series which you can read here.
How fast will your email list grow?
From my own experiments with content upgrades, they add an extra 5% more signups to my email list every month. Saying that, I don’t use them on all posts so I could probably double that if I added them to every blog post. But for the short amount of time it takes to produce a content upgrade, they are certainly worth the effort.
5% might not sound like much but think about that in terms of the number of extra email signups over the space of a year and it really does make a difference. What’s nice is thinking that if I sat down today, wrote a new post, wrote a content upgrade to go with it, that is going to add lots of new email subscribers to my list – that makes it very motivating when you can see results right before your eyes!
Well, I hope you’ve been enjoying this blog post series so far. A list building series wouldn’t be complete, of course, without touching on that dreaded of all subjects – traffic! So in the final post of this series I’m going to outline my best traffic sources, and a few tips as to how to maximise your traffic with minimal effort.