Using Content Upgrades for Lead Generation - Duct Tape Marketing Consultant

Using Content Upgrades for Lead Generation

Using Content Upgrades for Lead Generation

By John Jantsch

Content is the voice of strategy. It’s how you communicate that you’re different, it’s how you build trust, and it’s ultimately how you get and keep clients today.

However, the age old free eBook for all is no longer that effective. Prospects now want highly relevant content and will only subscribe or opt-in to things that address a specific want or need.

To make sure you are giving your audience what they want, I’ve outlined how to dramatically increase opt-ins using a technique know as content upgrades.

Types of content

Content is no longer a nice-to-have for businesses, it’s a necessity. Different types of content should be used with different intentions, including:

  • Building awareness
  • Building trust
  • Educating your prospects and customers
  • Curating other people’s content that you trust to build credibility
  • Other people’s content – curating content to share information people will trust you to give
  • Creating content to build referrals.

While content development is a necessity, it can be a major time suck for businesses, so it’s important that businesses are developing it with a purpose. You need to know how to produce content that does more for your business. You need a total content system.

Your total content system should consist of:

  • Monthly themes
  • A content delivery platform
  • An editorial calendar

It’s important to map out your content strategy in order to set yourself up for effective content upgrades.

How to create your list of themes for the year

Developing the topics for your content system doesn’t need to be difficult. There are a number of ways to come up with these ideas:

  1. Brainstorm with partners, your team, and customers to get your juices flowing
  2. Use tools such as the Google Keyword Planner (free as part of your AdWords account). Put in your search term and it will turn up ad groups, or Google’s suggestions or categories of content that may be important for you.
  3. Review Wikipedia articles’ table of contents and outlines of key topics.
  4. Use BuzzSumo. The core BuzzSumo functionality is the ability to turn up the most shared content on any topic you choose. When helping clients build an annual editorial calendar I often help them identify the landmark themes I believe need to make up their total body of work and then turn to BuzzSumo to fill in specifics areas that seem to have the most appeal based on the number of shares.

Getting started with content upgrades

For a content upgrade editorial plan, you need to target one well-written and useful blog post that you’ve written per month. In the middle of that post, place an opt-in box that features an offer that is relevant to the content within the blog post. So, for example, if I wrote a blog post about the 16 Step Checklist for the Perfect Blog Post, my opt-in CTA offer in the middle of the post could be “Download the free tool: Perfect Blog Post Checklist.”

This type of lead capture approach works because the offer a visitor receives is valuable to them. The offer is shown to a targeted group of people. This visitor is more likely to click on the opt-in because they were already interested in the material in the blog post, as opposed to a cold opt-in request.

We find that on visits to our website, if we have a strong ask or pop-up box, those typically convert between 2-3%, but it’s not a very targeted approach. In contrast,  when we do a good content upgrade, these convert between 12-15% consistently because it’s as though we tailored the information to something the visitor is interested in. This has become the gold standard for businesses today.

The formula we see working is instead of a pop-up, we use an in-line or two-step form that grabs people’s attention and is very specific. Two-step is done by placing hyperlinked text in the post that links to a pop-up with an email request in order to obtain an offer, in place of a form (for those who have form phobia). This is proving to be very effective for now.

Types of upgrades that I find valuable to get started with include:

  • Checklists
  • Resource guides
  • Tool lists

How to make this content even more valuable

I have two words for you: Facebook advertising. You want to drive traffic to the content you’re producing, and Facebook is a great way to do that. Create a status update pointing to your selected blog post, boost the post, and see what happens.

Recommended resources

I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend some of my favorite resources for coming up with content upgrade ideas. They include:

What tips and tools do you have for using content upgrades for lead generation?


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