If you have been reading my blog or have gone through my free email course Build a Profitable Blog, you already know how important it is to be creating bonus content for all of your blog posts. We call those bonus downloads content upgrades, and they help you build your list (and make your readers happy!).
I've written before about how I design and create my PDF downloads and mini-eBooks in Pages, an application for Mac users. But I have gotten many questions about how you can create these gorgeous PDFs and downloads as a PC user as well.
So I called in my good friend Alisha to share with you how to create awesome PDFs and digital downloads for your readers. I'll let her take it over from here!
Running a successful blog isn’t always about you as much as we like to think that it is.
Our sole purpose here is to deliver amazing content to our audience & give them helpful resources that they can use in their journey.
This is what will make them come back for more, tell all of their friends how amazing you are AND make them trust you enough to buy your products & services.
I’m a creative & learn better when I can actually write out what I have learned.
My guess is a lot of you & your readers are probably the exact same way. An extremely helpful resource that I have been adding to a lot of my blog posts are free worksheets & workbooks for my readers to use as they are working their way through my posts.
These little freebies help your readers put action behind what they’ve learned and not to mention EVERYONE loves free stuff!
For example, I recently wrote a post on the importance of branding your creative business.
Branding is a very detailed topic, so I provided my readers with a free workbook that goes into all of the deeper details of putting their brand together.
Adding in these little incentives has also played a major part in my boost in pageviews & newsletter subscribers! (If you want to learn how to implement the strategies that turn readers in email subscribers and customers, check out Your First 1K.)
Today I wanted to share my process for creating these freebies for my audience and how you can create the same for yours!
WHAT WILL YOU BE CREATING & WHY
While you’re in the early planning stages of creating your freebie, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the purpose of this project?
- What are the main points I need to cover?
- How will this help my readers?
- What do I need to research further?
Remember: if your freebie is supposed to be an extension of a blog post, make sure it is something that they can actually use to get results.
For example, if I’m writing a post on the importance on knowing your target audience, then my worksheet would probably be a list of questions that my readers can ask themselves to discover their ideal customer.
MOCK UP A ROUGH DRAFT OF YOUR FREEBIE
Before you get ready to design, mock up a sample of your freebie on paper and go ahead and type up your text in Word or a Google Document. I’ve learned that getting a bulk of your project done before the actual design process will save you a lot of time.
CHOOSE YOUR LAYOUT PROGRAM
Next you’ll need to decide what program you will use to create your freebie. A few common options are:
- Apple Pages
- Adobe InDesign
- Google Doc
- Microsoft Word/Publisher
Since programs like InDesign & Apple Pages may not be accessible to you (and can be a little intimidating to learn), I’m going to show you how to create your freebies using Microsoft Publisher.
CREATING YOUR FREEBIE/CONTENT UPGRADE/LEAD MAGNET
I’ll be sharing a worksheet with you at the end of this post that will help you plan out content for your freebies, so I’m going to use that as an example to walk you through the process of designing your own!
Open up Microsoft Publisher and decide whether you want a horizontal or vertical blank document. Since you will want people to be able to easily print this off on their home printers, it’s best to use a standard paper size which is 8.5x11 inches or 11x8.5 inches.
2. While designing your worksheets, remember to always keep your brand in mind. Meaning, use the same or similar colors that are on your website and also the same fonts.
Publisher works in text boxes unlike in Microsoft Word where you can type anywhere. Simply click on the Draw Text Box button and drag the box to your desired length.
ADDING SHAPES & PICTURES
If you would like a design that is a little more detailed, then try adding in your own photos or adding your text inside of shapes.
Click on the insert tab then choose either “picture” or “shapes”. To type inside the shape, once you have it at your desired size, place a text box within the shape or photo.
You can make changes to which ever shapes you add by clicking on the “Drawing Tools” tab (right above Format) This will allow you to customize the color of your layout.
QUICK TIP: If you are creating a freebie that will require a lot of writing from your readers, make sure you’re giving them enough space to get out all of their thoughts.
If you’re creating a workbook or a worksheet with multiple pages, you can easily click on “insert” then “page”.
3. Once your design is complete, save your document as a Publisher file (this is so you can easily go back and make any changes later). Before you close your program, save the document as a PDF (this is how you will upload it to your website for your readers to download).
UPLOAD IT TO YOUR SITE
Upload your PDF to your website so that you can create a URL for your readers to easily download your freebie.
For Wordpress Users
Click on “Add Media” within your blog post.
Choose “Upload File” -- Choose the PDF you want to include.
Under “Attachment Details”, change the title of the document. This is what will show up in your blog post so change it to something like “Download Your Free Branding Workbook”.
Change “Link To” to Media File.
Lastly, click on “Insert Into Post”.
For Squarespace Users
Insert the Button Block.
When the edit box pops up, change the text. I personally like to change it to something like “GIMMIE THE FREEBIE” but you’re welcome to change it to something a little more professional like “Download your free workbook”.
Click on “Click Through URL” and then choose “Files” -> “Add file”.
Choose your PDF file then check “Open In New Window”.
Choose your button size & alignment and then click save.
CONNECT IT TO YOUR NEWSLETTER
Another great way for your readers to download your freebie, is to make the sign-up up for your newsletter in order to receive the download link.
This is something that I have just began to do (thanks to Mariah’s amazing advice!) and I have seen a major increase in subscribers because of it!
(For a detailed guide about how to use these freebies to grow your email list, check out my post Zero to 600: Content Upgrades.)
VIOLA! You have successfully created a new freebie for your readers! Pimp it out & remember to always show the value in what you’re offering! And don’t forget to download your Digital Project Planner Worksheet right here!