4 Examples of Downloadable Content for Lead Generation

Content marketing works. We’ve talked about it before, and it’s making the press as well. People are tired of being sold to, and they’re ready to read relevant, valuable articles and talk to friendly representatives to learn how a solution can help them. Part of the success of content marketing has to do with its implementation within a company. Meaning you need to pay attention to said content, be sure those reps are trained, and focus some energy on watching what content goes where.

downloadable content is a great way to extend your content marketing and encourage people to opt-in to your email list.

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And that’s the focus of today’s article: specifically, what works well as downloadable content. Everything from free eBooks that dig a little deeper into a topic to white papers that drill into the technical details or even a full-on training program—all have their place in a solid content marketing strategy.

A quick note before we get too far into the weeds: we’re not going to be discussing paid content; that’s a much larger topic for another day. We’ll keep it to completely free and open and gated content.

Gated here means the content you put behind a wall, asking readers for basic information like a name and email address before making the download available. This is an excellent way to grow your email newsletter list or build a lead database. What’s important to remember is that if you’re going to ask for personal details like that, you need to ensure the content you’re offering is worth it.

Downloadable content strategies with proven track records

Among all the premium or so-called “freemium” content, there are certain types that work better than others to entice readers to offer up their contact details.

  • Upgraded content: This is a contextual way to encourage people to subscribe by advertising a deeper look at a topic they’ve already shown an interest in by reading a particular piece. If your blog post or landing page goes 20% of the way into a subject, this content will take them to the 70% mark or beyond. eBooks work great here, as the ability to take the content on the go or move it to an eReader makes it more usable.

  • Whitepapers: If you’re in a technical field, whitepapers are another option. They come with the bonus of being reusable in multiple scenarios. You can offer them attached to relevant blog posts as a gimme when someone signs up for a webinar or other offering, and you can send them out to academic publications for further reach.

  • Webinars: These have taken off in recent years with the simplification of production and widespread adoption of high bandwidth connection speeds. The real-time nature and interactive Q&A are huge selling points for this medium, and among the reasons, this type of gated content has one of the highest ROIs of all.

  • Academy: If your field is something people might want further training in, offering an academy is a fantastic way to gain authority and build trust. Classes can be structured however works for you. Videos, text lessons, and interactive sessions with a professional are some options.

A bonus to the last two: recordings of the lessons or webinars can be made, then offered as yet more premium content attached to different future offers. That means more ROI for the effort put into one event or lesson.

4 companies doing downloadable content right


Inbound marketing automation is a growing sector of the software world, and Hubspot is one of the fastest-growing providers. Starting in 2006, at this point, they have surpassed the $1B in revenue and show no signs of slowing.

Their content marketing includes several levels, starting with their 2 popular blogs aimed at the top of the funnel sales and marketing folks and going all the way to a member-only Academy offering industry certifications. Their downloadable library includes eBooks, webinars, and case studies that go into more depth and can be of great assistance when planning an inbound strategy of your own. Full disclosure, we are a Hubspot partner agency.


This Robotic Process Automation powerhouse and its use of marketing automation software is cutting edge. To add to their already extensive blog archive, they launched a developer collaboration platform and a free academy that offers certifications in their software. They are also growing their library of eBooks and case studies every month. UiPath started the Inbound Marketing journey in 2015 with less than 2,000 visitors per month and grew that by a factor of more than 1,000 within 7 years and more than 10,000++ new contacts coming into the CRM system every month. 


Regarding marketing on the largest B2B social media platform, who do you think knows the most? Yep, LinkedIn publishes a successful blog and offers a comprehensive downloadable library of eBooks, whitepapers, and study reports. Everything you need to begin marketing your company on the site is available for free, is well-written, and is highly engaging.

When LinkedIn first started offering ads and other marketing opportunities, they noticed that adoption was sluggish. When they asked around, it turned out that there was simply a lack of clear instructions for getting started. Once they began publishing their guides, adoption took off, and revenue went through the roof. It helps that they followed suitable inbound methodology by directing people to dedicated landing pages straight from blog posts and announcement emails, then to a form, and finally to the download.


This software provider is taking the demo slice of the webinar world to a new level by offering options. You can sign up for a scheduled live demo, you can download a pre-recorded demo, or you can even request a live, personal one-on-one demo with one of their specialists.

This allows potential customers to work around their busy schedules and get the information they need to become happy customers. It also gives Infusionsoft (now Keap) more eyeballs on its other content. Once you finish your demo, you can select from a library of options to continue learning and dive deeper into their feature set. Additionally, by recording the demo sessions, the company can use them as incentives in email campaigns and post to social media, getting more bang for their marketing buck.

Wrapping it up

Content is not all the same. Start with a blog that targets the top of the funnel, move to eBooks that fill in more details, and add webinars or academies to make experts out of your clients. Now, your potential clients, existing customers, and the general public can get a fuller sense of how your product can help them, and they can even see it in action before pulling the trigger. Downloadable content is a fantastic way to build your authority further and become a trusted source of information.


Blogging and Content Marketing

Jesse hails from Seattle, Wa. When he’s not creating great content, or staring at his laptop screen waiting for inspiration, he’s probably walking in the trees somewhere in the foothills of the nearby Cascade Mountains.

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