Lead Magnet Ideas and Templates for the Ultimate Content Upgrade

Allison Haag

| Jan 04, 2017

I've been listening to you, so I decided to write a post explaining how you can create your own content upgrade to grow your audience. Plus, I included examples and templates of lead magnets you can download.  

From the questions in chat during our recent Book to Course Summit to Facebook posts and questions on webinars, you've asked many, many times "How can I create an editable lead magnet?" 

Well, I have an answer for you. And not just one answer, but three!  

I've created 3 videos just for you explaining how to design your own editable workbooks, cheatsheets, toolkits, checklists, and all can be used as a freebie, lead magnet or content upgrade in your online course. 

Why 3 videos? Since I know we all have and use different software, I created a video for each Google Docs, Pages and InDesign to give you some options when creating your awesome new lead magnets. 

Lead Magnet Templates and Examples


But before we get into the details of the videos, let me answer why content upgrades (or lead magnets) are important.  

Why create content upgrades for your business 

Here at Teachable, we strongly support giving out free content to your audience.  

These are all examples of types of lead magnets…  

  • Toolkits/resource guides 
  • Free mini-course 
  • Checklists 
  • Handouts 
  • Downloads 
  • Worksheets 
  • Webinars 
  • Video series 
  • Podcast 
  • Video content  

Perfect lead magnets will help you build your email list quickly and make it much easier to sell. They’ll meet those two goals, but it check a lot of other boxes as well. 

Designing and promoting content upgrades or lead magnets are not just limited to online course creators either. If you are an author or writer, use them. An artist, use them. A blogger or YouTuber, use them.  

We use them ourselves here at Teachable, check out the pop up on our blog:

Lead Magnet Opt-In Example

It's nothing more than a beautifully designed checklist, which is one of the types of lead magnets I'm going to show you how to create. 

Your lead magnet should be a juicy piece of content that helps solve a pain point and makes your targeted audience's life easier, whatever your sphere or niche may be. In exchange, they'll give you their email address.  

Once your audience signs up to get your free resource, two things happen:

  1. They get content that they love and that helps them. This proves to them that you're trustworthy, and in turn makes them more likely to buy when you have an online course or other product to sell to them. 
  2. You get an email address to add to your list, which you can then use to either give them more free content or sell them something even more valuable.  

Now, to make a lead magnet (resource) your audience loves, it needs to check off these six boxes:

The perfect lead magnet checklist

These six boxes hone in on your audiences wants, needs and desires to encourage them to give you their email address.   

Content upgrades enhance the value of your online course 

As I mentioned before, worksheets not only help grow your audience, but increase the perceived & real value (yea, checklist!) of your course. 

Any extra material you include with your course content, like a workbook, cheatsheet, timeline, checklist, can be used when promoting your course, either on your sales page, in your emails, elevate various pricing tiers, or other social posts to incentivize people to buy. 

The value of bonus content is tremendous. It shows your students that you care about their success. They'll see that you took the extra time and effort to create assets to refine concepts, organize ideas, get the insider details, track progress, and ultimately help them remember what they learned. 

All of this will only contribute to the success of your students. More success from them, also leads to more success for you via their glowing reviews and testimonials about your course. 

Other ways to use (& resuse) your freebie 

Now once you create the lead magnet and use to grow your audience, it doesn't mean that it's the last time you can use it. Reuse it!  

You can keep sharing it with your audience in many ways, like  

  • Using it as a content upgrade in a blog post 
  • Share it in a welcome mat on your homepage 
  • Post it on your social channels or in groups you are a part of 
  • Find forums in your niche & share it there  

Each of these methods will allow you to share your resource with an interested audience and collect more email addresses.  

Check out our post on how to reuse lead magnets in 13 online communities

Okay, now that you know why you should create content upgrades, let's get into the how!  

How to create branded lead magnets in Google Docs  

This video covers creating editable content upgrades in Google Docs. Although Docs is a bit cumbersome and does not have all the advanced features as Adobe InDesign (or even Apple Pages), it's a widely accessible software that allows you to create bonus content that is easily shareable and editable! 

Plus, it's 100% free. 

In this video, I walk you through creating a content upgrade that can be used either as a tool kit, a cheatsheet, a worksheet, a workbook and all can be editable. 

What is covered:  

  1. Basic document set up 
  2. Adding page numbers & formatting for two different layouts 
  3. Using headers & footers to create templated design elements 
  4. Formatting images and using text wrap 
  5. Making sections for editable answers  
  6. Saving for your audience to use   

One important thing to note about using Google Docs is how to share the worksheet with your audience after you've created it.  

Don't share the direct link of the document. Instead, go into the document share settings (blue button in the top right corner), and make sure the share link has the "Anyone with the link can view" setting.

Sharing lead magnets created on Google Drive so they are editable

Then copy that shareable link, and give it out to your audience. This way, they have to create their own copy of your document so they can write it in or edit it however they want. Otherwise, everyone will be working off your original copy, and it will change each time someone uses it.   

Alternatively, if you are creating a cheatsheet or toolkit that is more informational vs. needing to be editable, you can export the document to a PDF and share that with your audience too.  

How to create editable content upgrades using Apple Pages 

In this tutorial, I show you some basic features, like creating styles, checklists, making tables and other editable elements that will allow you to have an workbook in no time. 

The cool thing about using Pages is that if you’ve used Keynote, the layout & functionality are very similar, which will make using it much easier.   

What is covered:  

  1. Basic document set up 
  2. Beware of text wrap 
  3. Formatting images & tables 
  4. Creating shape styles & saving colors 
  5. Making it editable in Pages & in Acrobat  

One thing to watch out for, which I do explain in the video is Pages' text wrap feature.  

Whenever you create a new shape or text box, it automatically adds text wrap around the object, which when it appears on the page, it looks like it deletes elements you've already created.  

Don't fret though. Nothing is deleted. It has just been pushed out of the way. All you need to do is select the element you just added to the page, click on arrange, and under the text wrap drop down where it says automatic, change it to none. 

Then if it has pushed other elements away, they will reappear.  

How to use Adobe InDesign to make an editable lead magnets 

Since InDesign is a pretty beastly and more advanced design program, I  created this video on the assumption that you know how to use the basics of InDesign. It is an advanced video, not a step-by-step setup guide. 

I do walk you through setting up certain elements that make creating an editable workbook SO. MUCH. EASIER. Plus, I've shared a few of my favorite tricks too. 

What is covered:  

  1. Using buttons and forms to make an editable workbook 
  2. Mastering the master page 
  3. Creating paragraph styles to be used throughout the document 
  4. My favorite keyboard shortcut  

InDesign is my favorite program to use. It's the software that made me want to become a designer - I just thought it was so fun to play around in. Most of our Teachable content upgrades & resources are created with InDesign.  

If you're just starting out with designing resources, don't feel like you need to use this program. It is an advanced software tool, and as I've shown in the other videos, you can create beautiful content upgrades and lead magnets without it.  

If you realize that you are starting to create many digital resources, then test it out. Adobe offers a 30-day free trial of their programs before having to buy it, which I totally recommended doing, if you're thinking about moving over to InDesign. 

Out of all three of the platforms, InDesign definitely has the largest amount of control and flexibility, but it is afterall made just for this purpose.  

Now to help you get build beautiful content upgrades and lead magnets, I want to share with you all of the templates I designed in the videos.

Download free lead magnet and content upgrade templates


It includes the Google Doc link, InDesign file (both CC & a .idml file) and Pages (both newest version and 09), plus links for all the fonts I used. 

Before you do anything with these templates, make sure to download the fonts.  

Here's how:  


  1. Download the files from Font Squirrel 
  2. Open the .zip file 
  3. Open Font Book (via applications or through search) 
  4. Drag font file into Font Book  

PC: So I'm a total Mac girl now and have forgotten my PC roots, so use this article from Font Spring, which explains how to download fonts on Windows 7, Vista, & XP.

We hear you! For months you've been asking

My favorite design resources 

So I can't write a post about design without sharing design resources with you! All the best, just for you :) 





  • Melyssa Griffin (love her & everything she does) 
  • Elle & Co. (Lauren has made a business off of design & her resources are beautiful) 
  • Pinterest (I use it all the time to search for design inspo) 
  • Creative Market (they send you 6 new freebies every week!) 
  • Love Plus Color (I'm sure you coulda guessed it, but everything Jessica does is colorful & gorgeous. Her blog is filled with helpful design tips)  

Have you created lead magnets before? Been wanting to? Let me know in the comment section below, and if you've created a lead magnet, link to it! Let's share what we've done.

Allison Haag is a Product Designer at Teachable who pulls design inspiration from her worldwide adventures.