Content upgrades are amazing! Before I started using them on my blog my list growth was extremely slow. We’re talking turtle walking on superglue kinda slow.
There’s no question that content upgrades are my best list building strategy. It’s such a simple concept. You know someone is interested in a particular topic because they’re reading one of your posts. That means there’s a really, really, really good chance they’ll be interested in something that goes along with the post.
Generic opt-in freebies are a thing of the past in my mind. If I visit your site to learn about smoothie recipes, I don’t want to download a 700-page ebook about making pasta. Give me a nice short pdf with a few of your favorite smoothie recipes. Am I right?
So let’s get you started with creating content upgrade buttons that look like this.
WHAT YOU NEED BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
In this tutorial, we’re going to focus on getting your content upgrades added to your site, not actually creating them. Before you get started here are two things you should have in place.
- Content Upgrades (duh!) – This one is pretty obvious. You need to actually have one or more content upgrades ready. If you’re unaware, a content upgrade is something you can offer a reader of your blog post in exchange for their email address. Generally, it’s going to be something closely related to what the post is about. For example, let’s say you have a blog post about the benefits of healthy smoothies. A good content upgrade to that would be a recipe or a handful or recipes. You would add a button that details what it’s about and asks for an email.
- An Autoresponder – You need a way to actually deliver your content upgrade and collect email addresses. The easiest and best way to do this is using an autoresponder. I personally use Market Hero but there are other popular ones as well. Do a quick Google search and you’ll be able to find one that suits your personal needs.
CONTENT UPGRADE PREVIEW
If you haven’t already done so, you need to create a preview of your content upgrade. You CAN skip this step and not use a preview image but I wouldn’t recommend that. Having a preview of the upgrade will increase the perceived value and will help your conversion rate. People like to have an idea of what they’re getting.
The first thing to do is open the content upgrade. Easy enough, right?
Now you want to take a screenshot of the title page along with 1 or 2 of the inner pages. There are a few ways to do this.
Option 1 (Mac): You can use the built-in screen capture feature with the shortcut Cmd+Shift+4. This will open a selection tool that will allow you to grab a portion of the screen.
Option 2 (PC): With your content upgrade open, hit the Print Screen button on the keyboard. Then you can open paint and hit Ctrl+V and it’ll paste the screenshot. Then you’ll have to crop out the parts of the image you don’t need.
Option 3 (Both Operating Systems): You can use a screen capture software. I occasionally use SnagIt (mainly use the Mac shortcut). It allows you to easily capture portions of the screen and quickly add symbols etc. If you’ve seen my other tutorials you would have noticed arrows, circles, and other markups. Those one were most likely done with SnagIt.
Once you’ve taken a screenshot of the title and 1 or 2 of the inner pages you’re ready to move on.
CREATE BLOG IMAGE
You’re now ready to create the image for your blog that showcases the content upgrade and asks the reader to take an action. The actual size of the image you’re going to create is going to vary depending on your specific blog theme. It’ll also depend on if you have sidebars etc. I’ll give you the dimensions I personally use. You can use these as a starting point, but you may have to do some experimentation to find a size that fits your site nicely.
For this example. I used Canva to create the image as it’s a free option available to everyone. If you’re already using another image editing software go ahead and use that one. You can still follow the basic steps and achieve the same result.
1. Visit www.Canva.com and create a free account if you don’t already have one
2. Click on the Create a design button
3. Click on the Use custom dimensions button and enter the dimensions for your image
The goal here is to create an image that looks sort of like a banner. It’s going to be fairly wide and not too tall. For my blog, a size of 710px wide x 250px tall works well (that’s with a sidebar). Like I said, you can use this as a starting point and experiment to find one that works well for you. The key is to get the width right. You may also be able to find the exact size of your theme’s content area by looking in the documentation.
4. Choose a background color
You want to change the background color from the default, white, to something that will help the banner stand out from your blog text. You can choose something subtle, like a gray, or you can go for a brighter color that stands out a little more like yellow. I personally use gray shades in mine so they stand out from the text but don’t become overly distracting. The con to that is that you may have a slightly lower conversion rate because it’s not as “in-your-face”. Go ahead with what you think suits your blog best.
5. Click the Uploads button
6. Click Upload your own images
7. Select and upload each of the pages of your preview (created earlier)
8. Drag your uploaded preview images onto the banner
If you drag them on from the last page to the first you won’t have to worry about re-arranging any of the layers.
9. Resize your images to fit the banner properly
10. Rotate the pages a little (optional)
You can get a professional looking preview by rotating one or more of the pages a little. Play around with this until you find something you like.
11. Click the Elements section
12. Choose the Shapes button
13. Choose a shape and create something that looks like a button (you can play around with colors and opacities to find something you like)
14. Click the Text section
15. Add text to your button
Keep the text simple. If you’ve seen any of my buttons they usually say something like “Click to download (whatever the upgrade is)”. Keep the wording short so it’s easy to read on the button and get straight to the point. Don’t overthink this.
16. Click the Download button and save your image (Recommendation: Download as PNG)
There we go. You now have a cool-looking button to showcase your content upgrade. Also, you now have a template you can go back and change when you want to add different content upgrades to other posts. You just have to change the button text and preview image.
ADD THE BANNER TO YOUR BLOG
Now you add the banner you’ve just created to the blog post it’s related to. I recommend you have the image in at least two places throughout the post. Put the first one about a third of the way through the post and the next at the end.
If you have a blog and are prepared to add content upgrades to it, you should already know how to add images to your blog posts. I’m not going to go over that here. If you’re unsure, a quick Google search should sort you out.
HYPERLINK THE BANNER IMAGE TO OPT-IN OR LANDING PAGE
The next step is to turn the banner image into a link. The link should go to an opt-in form of some sort. I use a 2-step opt-in form from Thrive Leads which allows me to create a pop-up that is triggered when the link is clicked. Another easy option is to link the reader to a very simple landing page that asks them to enter their email to get access to the content upgrade. You should already have an understanding of how to collect emails if you have your autoresponder set up.
DELIVERY THE CONTENT UPGRADE
The final step is to deliver the content upgrade. There are many ways to do this. I’ll give you a couple of the easiest ones.
The Google Drive Method
- Create a free Google drive account (if you don’t already have one)
- Click the NEW button and select File Upload
- Find and upload your content upgrade
- Select your content upgrade from your Google drive folder
- Click the little person button
- Click Get shareable link
- Copy and paste that link into your Welcome email
The Resource Library Method
I have a whole post on how to set up a free resource library. It basically allows you to create a password-protected page to house your content upgrade(s). In your email, you send a password to your subscribers and a link to the page with the upgrades. It works well and looks good too!
There you have it. You now know how to create great-looking content upgrades and add them to your blog posts.
Let me know in the comments below where I can find your content upgrades. I’d love to have a look!