cf #10: build your own million-dollar spreadsheet

This is contentfolks—a fortnightly newsletter where I share short lessons & ideas about content that makes a difference, sparks action, and truly serves its audience.

Hey you 👋

Content comes in many formats that are often word-based—but occasionally a piece works incredibly well while having almost no words at all.

What if I told you that a simple spreadsheet can change the course of your entire business?

True story:

Think about what your audience REALLY needs

We’ll get to the story of the million-dollar spreadsheet in a second, but first let’s make sure we’re all on the same page.

Your goal as a content creator is to serve your audience—which means they dictate what you make, not the other way around. If you insist on giving them ten thousand words when all they need is a k̶n̶i̶f̶e̶ 2-column spreadsheet, you’re not doing your job.

But!, if and when you do finally give them the spreadsheet they’ve been looking for, they might reward you big time.

💡 A practical example 💡

A few years back, Ronnie Higgins was running a content series about event promotion at Eventbrite. If you’ve ever organised an event (online or elsewhere), you’ll know how hard it is to stay on top of everything—so Ronnie created a simple spreadsheet that any event organiser could use to plot marketing and advertising activities over the course of 16 weeks:

Ronnie invested 2-3 hours into the spreadsheet, called it “Event Marketing Template for Planning your Advertising Activities,” and set it live on a landing page with a form people needed to fill before downloading.

Turns out that blog posts and guides about event planning are useful, but what everybody truly needed was this very scrappy spreadsheet. The more people found and downloaded it, the more they started signing up for Eventbrite and using the company’s paid services to organise their one-off events → $$$.

There’s more. About a year and a half later, Ronnie had another idea—he made a copy of the spreadsheet, added a minor tweak, renamed it “The Ultimate Template for Planning and Promoting Multiple Events,” and immediately solved a very similar pain point for a completely different audience → even more $$$.

This 4-hour spreadsheet generated hundreds of thousands of leads and contributed millions of dollars in revenue. Also worth noting: as an evergreen content piece, it continued to be a top-performing asset throughout the entire four years Ronnie spent at Eventbrite.

How this story applies to you

So that’s how Ronnie made Eventbrite millions in deals with a 4-hour job.
But what about you?

There are many spreadsheets I created over the years, though I’ll be honest—none of them were ever as successful as Ronnie’s.

…but perhaps yours will be?

I hope this inspired you to think about an alternative content format that could do wonders for your audience (and your business, as a result) 😉

PS: speaking of spreadsheets, here’s a tip → to find hundreds of publicly available templates, just google [topic you’re interested in]. Pretty handy: