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How to Use a Manifesto to Spread your Blog’s Message

This post is by Clare Lancaster, of WomenInBusiness.com.au.

Ever since I read Chris Guillebeau’s manifesto, 279 Days to Overnight Success, I’ve been inspired to create one for my own blog. The way that it communicated the message of his blog, packaged in an attractive, shareable, valuable asset that cemented his place as a niche leader, was enough to make this blogger gush.

After nine months of blogging I decided to create a manifesto for my blog. I can honestly say it was one of the best things I’ve done.

It’s helped me:

  • communicate the purpose and mission of my blog (which has helped keep my posts consistent in their message)
  • attracted the “right” people
  • built community and solidarity with those “right” people
  • spread my message to the networks of “right” people, attracting them to my blog.

It’s been blogged, shared, tweeted, emailed, and printed out. I’ve received emails of thanks, one woman wrote to tell me she had printed it out and given it as a gift to her (all female) staff.

So, what exactly are blog manifestos, and should you create one for your blog?

What is a manifesto?

A manifesto traditionally communicates the values and beliefs of a group of people or organization. The most common form of blog manifestos are ebooks.

A manifesto that offers special value for your readers can act as a viral marketing tool for your blog. It gives the reader an idea of the bigger picture and purpose of your blog, and empowers them.

A manifesto is a method of structuring your message in a way that your audience finds relatable, desirable and, most importantly, attainable. It communicates a set of ideals and invites a reader to join you on your journey.

How to create your own blog manifesto

Like any trend, the more popular manifestos get, the harder it is to break through the noise. Look to see what’s being produced in your niche and do something different. Be original: think about what your particular audience wants, needs, and will find irresistible.

I created my manifesto as a one-page poster designed to be printed and stuck to a wall. Find the best way to communicate your message to your audience. It doesn’t have to be an ebook. It doesn’t have to be a long story. It just has to have impact.

Give your manifesto away freely—you want it to spread. You also want it to be linked to your blog, so brand it strongly, but not obtrusively.

Don’t forget about your own assets when promoting your manifesto. Link to it from your email signature, add it to your navigation bar and your mailing list welcome email, and blog and tweet about it.

What’s your message?

Here’s the catch; you need a strong message before you even think about creating a manifesto.

If you haven’t already, taking the time to think about your message will improve:

  • your branding
  • how your audience relates to you
  • your value offer and niche positioning with your readers
  • your editorial direction and overall purpose

So my question to you is: what’s your message? How does your message help your readers? What’s going to make them share your message with their network?

Clare Lancaster offers blog reviews to help improve the business performance of your blog. She is passionate about helping people make their own path in work and life and can be found on Twitter most days (@clarelancaster).

About Clare Lancaster

A trained designer, Clare became an accidental marketer in 2001 when she fell into the world of SEO and has worked online ever since. When she's not on Twitter or writing for women in business, Clare reviews blogs and works with passionate online business owners to overhaul their business results.

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Comments

  1. Ebooks i.e. Manifestos will greatly give exposure to a brand name. I will try to get onto it once I spend some time in pro blogging :P

  2. Awesome, I am going to have to try this, but I think I’ll call it a “Constitution” instead of a “Manifesto.”

  3. I hadn’t thought about creating a manifesto until reading this post. Now you have my brain cells stretching to pull this in. :)

  4. Melinda says:

    LOVE IT! I’ve already started working on mine,

    Thanks!!!!!!

  5. Sid Smith says:

    This is such a fabulous idea. I especially love the 1-page concept, which seems so much more useful. I recently posted my first “The Big Idea” video, which summaries the big idea of my articles in 60 seconds or less in video format. The 1-page manifesto is a perfect addition. Thanks!

  6. karen gunton says:

    thank you so much for this post and for sharing your manifesto. (which i LOVE by the way! it reminds me of my LuLu Lemon shopping bag which people always comment on when i am out. like carrying around some inspiration in your back pocket for when you need it.)

    i love Chris Guillebeau’s manifesto, 279 Days to Overnight Success as well, it is what inspired me to start my little biz blog to help other mums. i never thought of making my own manifesto until now though, and am so thankful for the inspiration. =)

  7. Amy says:

    Look what you’ve done! You’ve inspired change! You’ve inspired people to think differently about their blogs! Love it! I too will be joining the list. Thx Clare…really great.

    Amy Parmenter

  8. Michelle says:

    I’ve been planning to get on a manifesto soon anyways…and your post just gave me an awesome idea! Thanks, I’m excited to give this a go now. :)

    I love that you included the tip about making it easy to spread – I’ve seen some people who create a manifesto but make it very hard to get to and then send to friends, which kind of defeats the purpose. Putting a link in your blog manifesto in an email signature is also a great idea, and one I hadn’t thought of.

    Fabulous post, Clare!

  9. Anyone interested should check out http://www.changethis.com, a site that Seth Godin co-founded which is a great place to launch and spread your manifesto that has been in operation for years.

    Mine is called:

    The Wizard of Oz is a Carny. Follow the Yellow Brick Road.

    Introducing Social Capital Value Add: Value Based Management for the Networked Age.

    You can see how my two blogs were launched in support of the manifesto here:
    http://bit.ly/dvWOrk

    Good luck!
    Michael

  10. dotCOMreport says:

    This is certainly a great idea…I know I am constantly looking for great messages that inspire me; imagine the amount of other folks like me looking for the same? Then I provide them with my message (in the form of a manifesto) and brand it with my url…voila!

    Thanks Clare.

  11. Claire,

    Yes, I like Chris’s 279 days Manifesto a lot. I agree, it has also made me thinking about it. Now you have motivated me enough to start one or do free ebook soon.

  12. Oops, I meant clare. Mis-typed it above. I thought it was spelled like one of my friend Claire.

  13. TJ says:

    Wow, I love this post and have been enjoying this blog. Making a mission statement and a poster button is something do-able for even a non-techie blogger like me. You guys are making the internet a better place! Keep up the good work. Greetings from germany, tj

  14. Ngozi Nwoke says:

    Hi Clare.
    This is a great idea! A different approach – it doesn’t have to be an ebook as long as it impacts the readers.
    Thanks for sharing this

  15. Sandra says:

    This is a very interesting idea – It will certainly have greater impact than the usual about page.

  16. Ireti Paul says:

    Thanks for bringing this up and shedding more light on it. I have gone through so many awesome manifestos @changethis.com but never thought about writing one for my blog. Chris manifesto is so unique and i read it once every month – sort of a guide to me. This post has got me thinking about how to come up with one.

    Thanks clare.

  17. What a great idea!

    I will be implementing this myself for the various blogs I work on and use it as a blueprint for taking the blogs forwards – we all need a track to work on and this seems ideal.

  18. Very cool indeed.

    Anything that’s brief, pithy and the point AND grabs your readers attention…..

    Very smart. Will add that concept to my site, thanks!

  19. Can we see you Manifesto poster somewhere?

    I put mine in my first post, but it is now buried. This is a great idea.

    Is you poster an actual poster, or is it just on the web?

  20. I have a ‘Notes’ page on my blog, which acts as a sort of manifesto – and I will add to it from time to time.

  21. LOVE IT! I’ve already started working on mine,

  22. Barry Wells says:

    Hi Clare, thanks for passing on this info. It’s an excellent idea that i will follow up on, you’ve really got me thinking.

    Your one page manifesto is straight to the point and the way you’ve changed the text styles adds all the more impact to the message.

    I’ll be printing it out but would get a clipped ear from the wife if i stuck it to the wall ;)

    Thanks Clare,
    Barry

  23. Dan says:

    Writing up a manifesto would force me to think about what it is I am actually trying to communicate. I like the idea. I have just started a blog and am battling with the message and content: http://www.mycafespace.com/wordpress/ (how’s that for slipping in my blog:)))

  24. I have done this for my blog, with great enthusiasm. Those who have read it have sent me private messages that they love it, but it needs more love and passing around for sure. :)

    It was a delight to come up with because the image and story came to me so quickly and fully. If you’re curious, my name takes me to the home page of my site and clicking on the happy egg at the bottom of that page takes you to the manifesto page.

    So far my manifesto hasn’t grown my blog but it did clarify my purpose and message for me.

  25. Hi Clare,

    Your article has come with perfect timing as I am revamping my blog and redesigning my free ebook as the “Make It Happen Manifesto”.

    My ebook was also inspired by Chris Guillebeau’s World Domination ebook:-)

    Thanks Clare for your wonderful insights.

    And good luck with spreading your manifesto even further.

  26. I had actually thought about this as well. I had the opportunity to meet Chris a couple of weeks ago, and actually read his manifesto a couple of months ago. Need to reread it and get to work on mine! I recently launched a new blog and the manifesto would be a great way to help people understand where I am coming from.
    Bernice
    http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2010/finding-the-perfect-balance/

  27. Raj says:

    Looks like a great idea but need to understand more as this is the first time I am hearing about anmanifesto for a blog. Ebooks I understand, but can I create one page manifesto and publish it as post or page on the blog? If I publish it as a post or a page how does it help for my blog?

  28. You’ve said it really well Clare. I can say from my own experience that my manifesto has helped me communicate the purpose and mission of my blog and attract the right group of people.

    A manifesto will say a lot more then any post you write on your blog and it will always be something to stand out and to go back to if you put effort into writing it (one page or 30 pages) to make it amazing. Unfortunately, writing manifestos is becoming more of a trend then a trying to communicate a new idea. There has been a lot of rewriting and trying to repeat somebody’s successes. Manifestos work when they communicate something new, when people discover themselves it that new approach and when they get inspired by it.

  29. Yup, manifestos (manifesti?) are hot. This all reminds me of Charles Foster Kane’s “Declaration of Principles” moment in Citizen Kane, Orson Welles’ classic film. We’re telling the world what we’re about to do and rallying all like minds to join us at the table.
    Tally ho!

  30. Dave Ursillo says:

    Great piece. I never considered a blog manifesto to have the explicit function of helping forge an audience of readers who can see you or your blog’s specific purpose, intentions, objectives and goals. I’m redoubling my efforts to make an awesome manifesto for my blog :)

    Best,
    Dave