Ultimate Guide to Skyrocket Your Lead Generation With Content Upgrades

Attracting high-quality leads can be a struggle for many businesses.  

Even after acquiring a large email list, how do you differentiate between leads that are qualified or where exactly they fall in your sales funnel?

A Lead-generation form is a great way to collect email addresses.  Although, creating more targeted forms for lead generation is a good idea – for example content upgrades – can assist you in attracting not only more leads, but also acquire valuable better-qualified clients.  

There is no value in a list of emails which is populated with those who will never buy from you.

You probably already should be getting ideas to target your blog content to specific buyer personas and to prospects at particular parts of the sales funnel.

Free downloads, such as lead magnets, can boost up your chances to create a better and more targeted email list.

What if you combine lead generation with content upgrades?  

It will definitely save you time, money, and headaches.  

But how exactly do you do that?

What are Content Upgrades?

A piece of content that you offer as a bonus to your readers in exchange for their email addresses, is a content upgrade.  This way it’s a lot like lead magnet.

This practice makes the process more specific.  

Your lead generation strategy might vary in different marketing angles, from PPC to cold calls.  

Using your content is an integral part of your strategy to generate leads.

For example:

You write a blog about your services which contain very good content.  

Instead of publishing the whole blog like usual, you can add a form where your readers would have to provide their email addresses to unlock the content.  

It’s like a paywall.  The only difference is that the readers don’t have to spend their hard earned money, all they have to do is provide their contact information.  

You have definitely come across a web page where you were provided with a small portion of the content and other part of it was blurred.  For you to read the rest you had to either sign up for a membership or fill out a form just to read on.

This strategy works in many cases, because it tempts the reader into signing up since they can see the blurred content in the background.

Why are Content Upgrades Better Than Standard Lead-Gen Forms?

Until now, content upgrades and lead magnets sound pretty similar to each other, right? And they are.

There’s a catch, though.  A lead magnet is pretty generic.  You create it for your entire audience.  

For instance, when you try to click away after visiting ‘Butcher Box’, you get presented with a popup.  

This is a lead magnet.  The lead magnet contains special offers, recipes, and other attractive incentives.  But, they aren’t specific if you notice.

Nonetheless, getting more specific is possible by using content upgrades on specific blog posts.  If your blog posts are intended for same audiences, you can use the same content upgrade for all of those blog posts.

Let’s say that you have an article Increasing Social Media Fans Through User-Generated Content, and you want to add a content upgrade to your article.  

You would want to get very specific about the type of content upgrade you include.

  • Templates or scripts to accumulate user-generated content
  • A trusted brand’s case study on the use of UGC
  • A recorded audio of the post itself

When you are attempting content upgrade, you should always propose content that deals specifically with the topic of the blog post.  In this case you would stick with content about social media and UGC.

You should consider the latest data points if you believe that content upgrades aren’t worth the effort.  

Records have shown conversion rates between 20 and 60 percent which is incredible.  If you experience slightly less impressive conversion rates, you’ll still get a chance to beat the competition.  

What Content Upgrades Should You Create?

As there are many different types of content upgrades that you can use, you should try to answer the following three questions before you settle on the type.

  1. Where is your reader in the sales funnel?
  2. What is the reader’s pain point or problem?
  3. What information is your article or post offering?

Let’s consider an example.

You have a sales funnel which has four stages: Awareness, Interest, Decision, and Action.

Maybe you’re targeting buyers at the bottom of the sales funnel.  They’re ready to take action.

You could create a content upgrade that could educate them on how to use your product more efficiently.

If the buyer is at the top of your funnel, ‘Awareness’, the best way to get them down the funnel is present them with a informational content upgrade.  

Whereas a buyer in the middle of the funnel might appreciate a comparison content upgrade.  

Let’s look at some very common and useful content upgrades.

Continued Content

As I earlier mentioned listicles.  They’re great for content upgrades because they let you simple continue the article.  

For example:

You have written an article 12 Overlooked Content Marketing Strategies That’ll Skyrocket Your Growth.

You could create a content upgrade that includes 12 more examples for your audience.  The readers could get them by providing their email addresses.

Next, you can add a teaser to the title, such as “I12 Overlooked Content marketing Strategies That’ll Skyrocket Your Growth [+ Bonus]”

This way, your audience knows that your post is special.  


Checklist makes life easier and organized, and people love them.  

Checklist can be very beneficial in a case if you have written a detailed tutorial on your blog.  By including a checklist as a content upgrades your reader will see all the steps and won’t skip them.  

Checklist is a great tool for creating a free and attractive checklist as a download.  Just visit the website and click on the “Make a free checklist” button.

You can personalize your checklist according to your need.

You can add a title, select fonts, colors, and other details as well.

Cheat Sheets

You can create a cheat sheet for almost anything you want.  It can work just as well as a checklist.

It should include plenty of value, though.

For instance you’re writing an article about how to create the perfect headline.

You can create a content upgrade that includes headline formulas your reader can use for their needs.  Now that’s a valuable cheat sheet.

Video or Audio Transcripts

Yes, it is true that some people prefer to read content than to listen or watch.  If you’ve created a blog post with a video or audio component, as a content upgrade you can offer the transcript of the video or audio content.

We have always heard that video and audio are preferable to text, this is something opposite to what we hear on a everyday basis – especially among younger consumers.

But, Pew Research Center conducted a study in 2016.  It revealed that younger people actually prefer to read the news than to listen or watch.  

This can be applied to other content.  Providing the transcript of your video or audio content gives your audience options which can expand your readership.


Guess what!  People still print out documents whether they are at their office or home.  We have not gone totally digital yet.

Some type of content works better as printable than others.

You can offer printable quotes, reminders, or other documents that might help your audience.  


Worksheets can become extremely valuable to your audience if you base your brand on education – regardless of the topic.  

If you are running a web development company, you can do a content upgrade by teaching your audience how to use small snippets of code.  You could create a worksheet that invites users to create their own code based on your instructions.

You could provide the answers in a separate document in addition to the worksheet.  You can provide a separate document or a link inside your worksheet.

Do not worry about teaching your customers how to do the service you provide.  Instead, teach them how to do something, then test their retention.

You want people to remember you?

Make sure you are generous with your knowledge, people will definitely pay attention.  

Case Studies

A case study validates a theory and shows how it has worked in the past for a brand or a person.  Thus, people love a good case study.

Utilize a cast study to state something you’ve done or to talk about another brand.  Later on you will need access to that brand’s data and results.

You can use case study as a free download for anyone who’s willing to provide a first name and email address.

Whatever the case, people won’t download your content upgrade unless it promises incredible results.


Not talking about mathematical/algebra formulas here [though you can use them if they are relevant for your content]j. Instead I am talking about step-by-step guide to success.

Let’s say you have a blog where you post content on how to keep a lawn healthy.  The best practice for you would be to create content upgrade that dives deep into details on what the best brands of fertilizer, the best times to cut the grass, and the appropriate watering schedule.

Another way to improve upon this idea is to create infographic as a content upgrade.  

It could work just as well as expandable content.

Scripts or templates

Sometimes readers are looking for exact step-by-step process to complete a specific task.  In such cases ‘scripts or templates’ are the best solution.

For instance I often provide script suggestions for sending outreach emails.  You could do the same for conducting a sales call or soliciting donations for a nonprofit.  

Providing multiple validations of the scripts give your readers an option, which is always a good strategy.

When your readers need to create a document for prospects, clients, or vendors a template works the best.  They can fill out the template according to their business needs after downloading the template.


You already probably have noticed that my content is usually long.  Some of my posts are 10,000+ words.

I personally feel that long content allows me dig deep into subjects that my readers really care about.  But, there are always some readers who do not have the time to read all of my content in one seating.

These readers can bookmark those posts, of course, but content upgrades offer another option.  

Create a PDF of your blog post as expandable content.  Now users have the option to download your content and read it at their leisure – even if they’re offline.  

How Can You Set Up A Content Upgrade?

Hello Bar tool makes it easy to create your own content upgrade.  The tool allows you to offer your upgrade on any page on your website.  

You can start by creating your upgrade and figuring out your intended audience.

Next, sign up for an account on HeloBar.com if you already haven’t.

Once you are in, head over to the ‘content upgrades’ in your dashboard on the left side of the screen.  

Click on “Add New Content Upgrade” at the top of the screen.

You can then fill out the information on the left to create your content-upgrade form however you want.  

Once you install the script on your website, you’re done!

You content upgrade will appear in the blog post of your choice.


Revolving around a single landing page with an opt-in form doesn’t have to your only lead generation strategy.  In fact, it shouldn’t.

Content upgrades will provide you with more qualified, interested leads and can boost your conversion rates while increasing your chances of making the sale.  

Why?  Because content upgrades are more on point and targeted than generic lead magnets.

Make sure every upgrade should serve a very specific purpose.  Always keep in mind persona of the buyers, and always know where your buyers fall in your sales funnel.  

Some of the best options of content upgrades are as follows:

  • Continued Content
  • Checklists
  • Cheat Sheets
  • Video or Audio Transcripts
  • Printables
  • Worksheets
  • Case Studies
  • Formulas
  • Scripts
  • PDFs


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