Building a mailing list is the essence of life of your online business. The old adage "the money is in the list" cannot be true enough -- if you had a targeted list of prospects to correspond with each time you have a new feature, you will be able to avert a lot of time and effort by marketing it to your mailing list of targeted prospects.
You can genuinely build up a targeted list of prospects that are interested in your articles by offering a relevant download on your website. For example, let's take a look at an extremely brilliant example -- apple. When you download the free iTunes and QuickTime software from their site, they will ask you to complete an optional name and email form so that they can share you offers on songs that you can acquire via -- guess where -- iTunes!
In fact, you do not need to donate such a "fantastic" download such as full-feature software like iTunes. You can appeal to prospects equally well with some quality freebies such as a simple eBook, articles, or free wallpaper, and so on. The significant thing is that your download offers adequate quality for the client to be willing to give up his/her own email address to you to get it.
Anyhow, slapping together a commonplace download and putting a link on your website won't be enough to appeal to appropriate prospects. You will have to do some revision in order for your lead-generating action to be successful for you.
First of all, you must put your download form in a conspicuously place on your website. Preferably, dedicate a page to it and a link to that page from every other page on your website. That way, there is no way your visitors cannot find the download page, and when they do, you'll get some of them willing to give up his/her own email address to you to get it!
Also, you have to put a little creation into promoting your download. Clarify and expand on the values of the download, and why your visitors should download it. You might think why would anyone want to pass on a freebie, but most of your visitors are too lazy to take the time to download it because most of their downloads just sit on the hard drive collecting virtual dust. It is for that reason how it is important to show your visitors why they should download your freebie.