You’re a creator that has so much to share with the world and earn a good living doing it—but finding the exact way to do so is often really hard.
Authors, food bloggers, podcasters, finance coaches, yoga teachers and all the other types of creators have to show up regularly and create value for the people in their audience. But, with dozens of content formats and digital product types you can create, even the simple act of showing up can be overwhelming.
That’s where turning your knowledge into a plug-and-play formula comes in. It makes it easy for your audience to implement what you’re teaching and helps you scale your content and products in the long run.
What are plug-and-play formulas?
Anything your audience can take from you and easily implement into their work or life counts as a plug-and-play formula.
Think about this formula as a framework, something you can easily present as a step-by-step process or a checklist. It’s a concept you can turn into a guide or template your audience can add to their life with little to no friction.
Here are some examples for different creator types:
- Fitness coach: formula for workouts under 20 minutes
- Productivity coach: step-by-step planning process (weekly, monthly, and quarterly)
- Artist: guidance for brush lettering
- Financial coach: a framework for long-term investing
One of the strongest points of developing a plug-and-play formula is its flexibility and adaptability for different uses and formats.
For example, you can use it to build an ultimate guide, like artist Shelby Abrahamsen did with her bullet journal guide.
You can also use your formula to create a digital product—anything from a low-cost downloadable to a flagship course. Jerry Hietaniemi, the creator of Social Media Calendar, sells social media post templates for a range of industries.
The benefits of implementing formulas into your creative business
Your plug-and-play formula can be a true game-changer for you and your audience. Here’s why.
1. Make your content creation easier
Having a process that makes your audience’s lives easier means you can always tap into it for content ideas.
This works for the entire range of content formats and platforms, from micro-content types like Instagram Stories to advanced, hour-long webinars. A framework you developed makes it near impossible to run out of content ideas.
Let’s look at the example of a productivity coach that developed a step-by-step process that teaches their audience the most efficient way to plan their weeks, months, and quarters.
Here are several ways they could turn it into a source of content ideas:
- Three evergreen written guides: over 5,000 words long, they cover the three planning cadences and are updated twice a year
- Weekly blog posts: real-life examples of the planning process in use by people in the creator’s audience
- Lead magnet: a free, downloadable PDF with worksheets to assist in implementing the planning process
- Plan-with-me YouTube videos: a “peek over my shoulder” type video where the creator uses their own process to plan their time
- Instagram videos: weekly Q&A video answering questions about the planning process
- Daily Instagram Story: sharing the day’s agenda based on the planning process
- Podcast: episodes in a seasonal format that cover the planning process used by full-time employees, stay-at-home parents, entrepreneurs, students, freelancers, etc.
As Justin Moore, a sponsorship coach, said, “A lot of creators are struggling to niche down because they’re afraid they’ll run out of options, but I think narrowing down made it a thousand times easier for me to figure out content.” Building your plug-and-play process allows you to do just that.
2. Help more people using the same framework
You can make your plug-and-play formula accessible to your audience in many different ways.
One of the best examples of this is Tiago Forte, the creator behind Building a Second Brain. Having a ‘second brain’ means having a system to capture, organize, distill, and express information you consume—and Tiago’s entire business is built off of his process for doing that.
There are three main ways Tiago helps his audience build their second brain:
- Free content: this includes a portion of his blog (part of it is behind a paywall), a free email course, and a newsletter
- A premium, cohort-based course: the BASB course has a four-figure price tag and only runs a couple times a year
- A book: paperback and Kindle versions
The book costs around $20. The course costs $1,500 or more, depending on the course tier you choose. Tiago’s course existed long before his book, so he made his framework available to significantly more people than with the course alone.
Will people still buy his premium course, even with a low-cost book available? No doubt about it. The course is there to give access to live sessions, a private community, alumni mentor workshops, advanced tutorials, and more. These vastly different formats and prices are made for people with different needs and budgets and makes Tiago’s valuable framework widely accessible.
3. Become known as the authority on your topic
Want to become the go-to person for your topic? Your process can help you make it happen. When you build your online presence based on your unique way to solve a problem or reach an outcome, people tend to remember you for that specific thing.
This is another area where sponsorship coach Justin Moore said niching down made a massive impact. “When someone on Twitter asks ‘Who should I talk to about sponsorships/influencer marketing?’ a dozen people tag me,” he explained.
Your plug-and-play formula can help you promote your content, products, and yourself with more ease. It will give you confidence when sending pitches for podcast interviews, speaking gigs, links, guest posts, newsletter swaps, and many other opportunities.
4. Set the foundation to scale your business
Your plug-and-play formula will make it easy to find and onboard the right people to outsource to, from virtual assistants to more specific experts.
On top of that, you can use your formula to repurpose content you’ve already created into different types of paid products. For example, you can turn a live workshop into an on-demand product for purchase indefinitely, or use information from your paid course to create a free email sequence that promotes the course.
Creator examples to inspire your plug-and-play formula
We’ve mentioned some hypothetical examples of plug-and-play formulas, along with a couple real-life ones. Let’s dive into five more formula examples from creators to inspire you to create your own.
1. Khe Hy, RadReads: $10K work
Khe has developed a popular framework called $10K work. It focuses on combining unique skills with high-leverage activities to achieve growth, financial freedom, and total control of your time.
A great place to start exploring this concept is Khe’s $10K Institute page. It introduces $10K work through a video, promotes a free $10K template in Notion, and lists the most valuable resources from the blog for each of the four quadrants of the $10K matrix.
Khe’s course, Supercharge Your Productivity, helps his students implement the $10K framework with Notion.
This concept is the foundation of everything Khe does through RadReads. Want to see the true impact of his work? Check out the Twitter search for @khemaridh $10K. Khe helps and reaches thousands of people with his framework.
2. Courtney Chaal: the $100K roadmap
Courtney Chaal is a business coach that helps service providers streamline their signature service.
If you run into Courtney’s content on the web, there’s a chance you’ll see at least one mention of $100K in it. Courtney’s high ticket coaching program is called Yay for $100K and focuses on helping service providers add $100K to their bottom line.
Courtney’s $100K formula is the foundation of her client capacity calculator, free masterclass, podcast, and roadmap. By building her content and products this way, Courtney makes sure her process is easy to implement regardless of where her audience members are when they find her.
3. Hilary Rushford: the two-part fashion cocktail
In my inbox, there are emails from Hilary from as early as 2018. That’s when I first heard her talk about her style formula called the 2-part fashion cocktail. The formula is about combining a basic clothing item, like plain jeans, with a bold piece such as a red blazer.
It’s one of the basics of her Dress Your Shape free class, and it’s also one of the pillars of Hilary’s paid course, Style and Styleability.
Even though this free class is an evergreen webinar (and promotes the paid course on autopilot), Hilary still makes the 2-part fashion cocktail part of her ongoing content.
For example, she dedicated a podcast episode to this formula in 2021. She also references it when sharing and analyzing her outfits on Instagram Stories and why they work. It’s a huge part of her work and something she can keep building upon.
4. Cara Chace: the Theme Day Planning Method
Cara Chace is a Pinterest and productivity coach. In the productivity side of her business, she developed a planning framework she named the Theme Day Planning Method—a process for creating an ideal work week that focuses on making space for values and priorities.
Cara has turned her method into three tiers of options for her audience.
First, they can sign up for her free ideal work week printable planner. This lead magnet introduces her audience to her planning approach. Then, they can upgrade this printable with a $7 bundle that includes additional options.
Finally, Cara offers her Theme Day Planning Method course, which includes step-by-step videos, digital and printable versions of the planner, and a course workbook to make progress easy.
Having such a structured, easy-to-reference method means Cara’s audience can tap into it whenever they need it—and she can build it into her ongoing content, such as her weekly newsletter.
5. Nick True: YNAB checklists
A big focus of his content is You Need A Budget, or YNAB, a piece of software that helps with budgeting. To help his audience with YNAB, he published a 9,000+ word guide to YNAB and a quick start video guide which originally got over 600,000 views (and he published an updated version since).
Nick also built a huge library of videos with beginner and advanced YNAB tips. To make implementation of those tips simple and smooth, he created downloadable YNAB resources, a lead magnet with free checklists, routines, and guides.
He links to this landing page under every YNAB-specific video, after which he welcomes new subscribers with an automated email sequence and continues to make YNAB easy with regular newsletter right after.
YNAB and budgeting can be overwhelming, but Nick made it easy for his viewers and readers to get started with a powerful bundle of free downloads he can keep promoting and reusing across his creative business.
How to find the right plug-and-play formula idea for you
If you’re ready to create your own framework that will fuel your content and products, here are three final tips to help you get started:
- Identify your most popular content. Jump into analytics of your website, YouTube channel, or email list and look for pieces of content that got the most views and engagement. Are there topics that people visit and share way more than others? If so, consider it a clue. If there are multiple content pieces on similar topics that always perform well, explore merging the concepts they cover into your unique framework.
- Ask your audience. Tap into your existing audience to survey them about what they value most when it comes to your content. Ask them how you made the most impact on them so far. You can send a survey email to your list, post a question box on Instagram Stories, go live on Facebook, and more.
- Consider this an experiment. Whatever you uncover in your analytics and audience surveys is just a starting point. From there, take the approach of a scientist: take an idea and experiment with it. You can test an idea with a landing page and a few shorter pieces of content before you fully commit to it to see how your audience responds.
The right plug-and-play formula will be at the crossover of what you love teaching most and what your audience wants to implement into their life. Dig into that crossover—it will be worth it.
Scale your business with ConvertKit
Scaling your plug-and-play formula works best with the right tools. ConvertKit lets you create free landing pages and opt-in forms to launch your plug-and-play formula successfully.
And when you’re ready, you can start using powerful, intuitive automations that will help you achieve even more with your formula. Grab your free ConvertKit account here.