content upgrades for lead generation

17 Types of Content Upgrades to Increase Lead Generation With Your Blog

Your business blog is a tool for many things – educating your audience, generating awareness, and of course increasing your customer base. One great way to grow your potential customers is by using your blog as an instrument for lead generation. While you can always do something simple like include an email signup box in your blog’s sidebar, why not get a little more creative?

Readers who love your blog will be happy to enter their email address for more information, but it’s important to be more proactive about lead generation so you can increase your email list more quickly.

A bigger email list means more customer opportunities, more people to nurture, and a better chance of conversion.

One tried and true strategy for increasing lead generation with your blog is to offer content upgrades with your articles. Content upgrades offer more valuable information in exchange for an email address.

Unsure of what to offer as a content upgrade alongside your blog post? Here are 17 different types for you to choose from.

Note: If you’re looking for even more ways to increase lead generation, sign up for free Leadfeeder's 14-day trial and give it a try.

1. Continued content

One of the quickest and easiest ways to add a content upgrade to your blog is by simply continuing the content in a separate, email-gated document.

If you’re writing a listicle blog article with your top 10 or so, simply continue with 5, 10, 15+ more items in a content upgrade. Let your audience know they can learn even more in your upgrade PDF that you’ll email to them as soon as they sign up.

You can include calls-to-action for your content upgrade throughout the blog post to help increase the likelihood that someone will submit their email address.

2. Cheat sheets

A cheat sheet is a great content upgrade because it gives your audience something to keep nearby to help them remember the steps or parts of completing a task.

Here’s a great example of a cheat sheet to help web designers remember various CSS code snippets:

lead generation content upgrade cheat sheet

Create a one-page cheat sheet that your readers can easily print off and keep next to them to reference whenever they’re doing what you’ve taught them to do in your blog post.

Sure, they could always just go back to your blog post and read through it again, but a cheat sheet makes life easier, and that’s exactly what a content upgrade is all about!

3. Checklists

A checklist is another great type of content upgrade to help make your reader’s life easier. 

Give your audience the opportunity to keep themselves accountable by adding a checklist content upgrade to ensure they don’t miss a single step while completing the task you’ve taught them.

Take a look at this example below.

lead generation content upgrade checklist

It includes a branding checklist so that users know exactly which steps they need to take to create a strong brand for their business.

4. Master lists

A master list is like a massive resource of links, industry experts, book titles, tools, or any kind of resource that’s relevant to your content. Putting together a complete list of resources like this is a great way to give your audience a way to do more or learn more after finishing your piece of content. 

Here’s an example of this content upgrade in practice.

lead generation content upgrade mater list

Putting together a master list might take some time to compile initially, but these can be really valuable resources that will really help your audience learn as much as they can.

5. Printables

Not everything is digital yet. Put together a printable for those of us who still love the tangibility of pen and paper.

This is a really great content upgrade option because it’s so versatile. You can create a printable planner, goal tracker, expense tracker, and more. 

Just think of things people love to write down, how it could relate to your blog content, and create a printable content upgrade just for that purpose.

Here’s a great example of a printable content upgrade on a blog.

lead generation content upgrade printables

6. Video or audio

Provide a video or audio version of your blog post for audience members who prefer to watch and listen than read. Offering multiple ways to digest your content can help you to reach a wider audience.

Providing podcast or video adaptations of your blog articles is a great way to get even more out of your content, repurposing it and creating more content in less time. You can even share old live streams as a content upgrade.

Here’s an example of a blog post repurposed into a video.

lead generation content upgrade video audio

And while this example is simply embedded into the original blog content, you can always emailgate this content by publishing it as an unlisted video on YouTube and sharing it exclusively via email.

7. Reports

If you’ve conducted some in-depth research into a topic, compile a report on it and use it as a content upgrade for relevant articles.

These types of content upgrades can also take a lot of time, research, surveying, and more to create, but they can be wildly popular.

Not only can you use them to increase lead generation, like Later did with their Instagram Influencer Marketing report below, but you can also become more of an authority on the subject.

lead generation content upgrade reports

Creating an industry report like this can influence other industry blogs and businesses to write about your findings, linking back to your report.

So not only is this a great way to increase lead generation, it can also be wildly helpful in building backlinks to your site.

8. Case Studies

One great way to build your email list and customer base at the same time? Show off how your customers and users have seen success with your product or service.

Case studies are powerful for many reasons, one of the biggest being that it shows various types of customers how they can use your product or service and real life success stories from others.

Many websites will host case studies on their site that are easily accessible, but using case studies as a way to generate leads is also a smart idea.

9. Worksheets

Make your article interactive by providing worksheets or workbooks for your readers to follow along with.

This can be a fun way to help your audience understand something complicated or for you to walk them through putting something together, like business goals, a business plan, a new content marketing strategy, and more.

Here’s an example of a 2020 goal planning workbook content upgrade.

lead generation content upgrade worksheet

Consider if your topic makes sense to have a workbook created alongside it for your readers to complete while they read your blog post.

10. Guides

This can be a full guide or a quick start guide, but putting together a step-by-step can help your audience learn how to do something even more easily, while you walk them through it every step of the way.

These are often created in document form, but can even be made as a webinar or presentation. Here’s a great example of a guide used as a lead generation tool from Tailwind.

lead generation content upgrade guides

11. Challenges

Make your content upgrade fun for your audience by inviting them to join a challenge. This can be a small email challenge or a big challenge that you create a Facebook Group for all participants to keep everyone accountable.

The best way to do this is to write a blog post about doing something like growing your email list to X amount of people, or creating X amount of content in a certain time frame, then challenging your audience to do it with you.

Here’s a great example of an email challenge content upgrade.

lead generation content upgrade challenge

It sounds hard to do, but by creating a challenge around it, you’re making it fun and productive for your readers.

12. Email courses

Provide a week-long or month-long email course with even more valuable information for your audience. This can lead into a paid information product with more info or end with a CTA to your SaaS product or a service.

These are great options to have as a content upgrade because they take less time for you to create and less time for your audience to digest than a traditional online course.

Plus, you can create a simple 5-day email course on a variety of basic topics, like how to write an abandoned cart email, ways to promote your website, and more.

Here’s an example of an email course content upgrade in action.

lead generation content upgrade email courses

This email course takes a basic topic like how to create digital products, and turns it into a quick 5-day how to.

Be sure to use an email testing tool to make sure that your course lessons will land in your audience’s inbox on time and in the proper order.

13. Infographics

Another great content upgrade option is an infographic. You can easily make infographics with a graphic design tool like Visme.

Infographics can be seriously awesome ways to provide even more data, statistics, and information to your audience in an easy-to-understand and digestible format.

Here’s an example of an informative infographic that can be used as a content upgrade to share even more data and content in a visually appealing format.

lead generation content upgrade email infographic

Infographics can include data visualizations like charts and graphs to share numbers, text blocks to share snippets of content, flowcharts to map out steps to complete a task, and more.

14. Scripts

If you’re telling your audience how to do something in your blog post that involves communicating with others, creating a content upgrade that gives them exact scripts to use to help them out.

This is a great example of just how to use this script by Career Contessa. They’ve compiled a script for their audience to master when they’re looking to negotiate a raise with their boss.

lead generation content upgrade email script

Other ways to do this can be text message scripts for realtors, scripts to help lower cable bills, and more.

15. Templates

On a similar note, creating templates (spreadsheets, emails, etc.) can also help your audience complete the task at hand more easily. They’ll be thankful for your business for helping make it as easy as possible.

While email outreach tool Respona includes email subject line templates within their blog post, other sites like CoSchedule share various templates as a content upgrade, as you see below.

lead generation content upgrade email templates

Templates can be spreadsheets, editorial calendars, email templates and more, and these are great ways to offer a content upgrade alongside your blog content.

16. Ebooks

An ebook is a great way to offer even more knowledge that doesn’t quite fit in a blog post. Length can be as long or as short as you want, but these are great for longer form content, content that requires more design to understand, and more.

Here’s an example of an ebook’s call-to-action within a blog post.

lead generation content upgrade email ebooks

If you’re not sure how to make an ebook, starting with an outline and an ebook template is a great way to dive in.

17. Free trials

Give your audience a sneak peek into your product, or into the premium version of your product, for a limited time. 

Even if you have a free version, giving them access to all the bells and whistles can be a great way to convert users to paying customers even quicker.

Here’s a great example of Leadpages offering a free 14-day trial to their blog readers.

lead generation content upgrade free trials

You don’t even have to get as fancy as all that. Check out this quick free trial content upgrade from a Leadfeeder blog post.

lead generation content upgrade leadfeeder trail

This can be a great way to increase lead generation and generate more customers all at the same time. Win-win, right?

Increase your business’s lead generation

Using a combination of these 17 types of content upgrades is a great way to ramp up your lead generation efforts. Including ways for people to sign up to your email list in a multitude of blog posts improves the chances that your readers will submit their email addresses.

Note: If you’re looking for even more ways to increase lead generation, sign up for free Leadfeeder's 14-day trial and give it a try.


Chloe West
By Chloe West

Chloe is a Content Marketing Manager at Visme, an online graphic design software. She loves to write about digital marketing and design and find new ways to engage audiences through content. Chloe is based in Charleston, SC, where she loves exploring her city with her son.


Now that you're here

Leadfeeder is a tool that shows you companies that visit your website. Leadfeeder generates new leads, offers insight on your customers and can help you increase your marketing ROI.

If you liked this blog post, you'll probably love Leadfeeder, too.

Sign up

Leadfeeder knows the companies visiting your website

Install today to start identifying new business opportunities.

See for yourself

Free trial. No credit card required.

As seen in

  • Forbes
  • Entrepreneur Magazine
  • Fox
  • Mashable
  • Social Media Examiner