Wooo, are you ready for this? This is going to be a game changer for you fellow bloggers out there if you’re not already making sweet ass content upgrades like a pro.

 How to Make Awesome Content Upgrades with Canva

If you’ve been blogging for more than five minutes, you’ve probably heard how important having quality content upgrades are to growing your blog’s following, and your email list… which helps grow your blog’s following. You get what I’m saying. And yes, it’s so true, content upgrades are truly the best thing since sliced cheese on sliced bread.

Let’s cover a few basics first before we dive right in…

What’s a Content Upgrade & Why Should I Care?

Valid question, pal. So a “content upgrade” is something that your visitors can download (or access) in exchange for their email address. So you get their contact deets, and they get some sort of cool THING. Like this shameless example:

The key here is to make the content upgrade not only valuable to your visitor to make them want to give you their email address to get it, but also to make it relevant to the original post it’s in. So for this post, I’m offering a five point checklist you can download to ensure your content upgrade is on point and ready to conquer the world. Easy, right?


Are Content Upgrades Actually Effective?

Yeah, mon! (I recently returned from Jamaica.) It’s true what all the cool kids say: content upgrades will help you grow your email list fast. OK great, but what’s so awesome about having a bunch of dumb emails? Email marketing is still the #1 most effective marketing channel on the planet, yo.

If you sell products, or plan to in the future, developing a strong email list should be your goal from the beginning. Also, well, it’s just kind of nice to know that some people out there are reading your content… right? (Is my insecure nerd showing?)


OK Fun Time!

Fancy people use InDesign, Illustrator or Photoshop to create awesome content upgrades and you know what, that’s probably the best way to do it, if you know how to use those programs.

There are even cool templates you can download on places like Creative Market that are all designed for you, and you just need to edit in Photoshop, like this one I’ve had my eye on.

However, if shelling out $20/month for Adobe Creative Cloud and $40 for the template above is out of your reach right now, there’s a super easy way to make awesome content upgrades for FREE in Canva.

Let’s get started…


How to Make a Content Upgrade for FREE in Canva

Canva is a great tool to use if your budget is tight, you don’t know how to use Adobe programs, or… ya know… you’re on an iPad or something. So let’s get started. For this example, I’m going to make a really popular type of content upgrade: a workbook.

Open up Canva, and select a new 8.5×11 Document.


You can scroll down the templates on the left to find a base to start from, or just work from scratch. For this example, we’ll make something simple from scratch. Simple is better anyway.

So click on the Elements tab on the left, and on Shapes. I chose a triangle. It pops it into the middle of your document, so just drag it where you want. You can also resize it by clicking on the dot on the corner and dragging it to the new size you want. I put my triangle in the bottom corner. Ooooh, so trendy.


To really up the trend factor, I decided to copy my triangle to the opposite top corner. To do this, I clicked on my existing triangle, pressed Command + C (on Mac, Control + C on Windows) and Command + V to paste it. I clicked the little rotate symbol, and dragged it to fit into the other corner. Easy. Try out some cool shape placements, yo!


Next, I added a little line to go underneath a headline. Just go to Elements -> Lines. You can change the colour of your line by clicking the colour swatch at the top. Canva will even auto-align your line with the corner of my top triangle. Fancy shiz.


Time to add some text now. Click on Text on the right side, and you can add a headline, subheading, and my personal favourite – your website URL to the bottom of the page. Just click on the text option you want, place it where you want, edit the text – just play around with it til you like what you’ve got… like this!


Now, do the same thing with adding text to add your questions. To create an answer area, just go back to your Shapes and draw a rectangle, and fill it with a colour. Like so…


Super easy! If you want to add more pages that follow the same format, just click the copy page icon on the right of your document.


Once you’re done creating your document, click Download at the top. Choose a standard PDF format. That’s it! You’re ready to upload that bad boy to your blog and set up your first content upgrade! Wowza!


Making Your PDF Fillable on a Computer

If you want to make the PDF form fillable on a computer, you can open the PDF you just downloaded in Adobe Acrobat DC. Unfortunately there’s no free way to do that, that I know of. You can purchase Adobe Acrobat DC here, and find out how to make the darker answer fields we just made fillable on a computer here.

I always like printing out worksheets anyway and filling them out the old fashioned way, so not having fillable fields isn’t the end of the world.


Key Points to Make Your Content Upgrade High Converting

When I say high converting, I mean that people want to download it, and so they give you their email addresses.

Here are some key things to remember to make your content upgrade successful:

ALWAYS think about your audience! Will they find this information useful, informative, interesting?

Is your content upgrade valuable enough for me (your reader) to give you my closely guarded email address?

And finally, have you kept it aligned to your blog’s branding? That means both the look of it (colours, font, style) and the voice of it — how you wrote it, what language you use. Does it FEEL like you?

Psst: if you’re not sure how to develop a consistent brand voice for your blog, check out my post on how to create a blog brand voice here. Spoiler alert: it comes with a content upgrade workbook. Shocking, right?


Download the Content Upgrade Checklist

Oh hey, look, it’s a content upgrade. I hope you found this post useful and are off creating your awesome content upgrades right now. I made this five point checklist of things to remember when you’re creating those worksheets, workbooks, checklists, ebooks or whatever else you’re makin’!

This checklist will help you make sure your content upgrades are on-brand, on-topic and create value for your audience every single time. Don’t leave home without it, folks.