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From Zero to Manifesto in 4 Easy Steps

This guest post is by Michael Alexis of Writerviews.com.

Chris Guillebeau’s 279 Days to Overnight Success has been downloaded over 100,000 times, and the guys over at ThinkTraffic credit their manifesto to the first viral traffic bump on Expert Enough.

They didn’t slave away finding the right words to empower their mission, defining values, and getting the end result all dolled up for publishing just for the kicks—a manifesto is the mark of a serious blogger. And they have been known to offer three incredible benefits:

  1. Your manifesto becomes a consistent path for you to follow with your work.
  2. It becomes a rallying call for readers to share your vision.
  3. You can offer it as a free download to snag email subscribers.

Basically, when you create a manifesto, you go from thinking, “I have a blog” to realizing the start of your world-changing movement—overnight.

I learned the information in this post from this interview I did with Kyeli and Pace Smith of Connection Revolution, a mission to change the world.

With such a large goal, this blogging duo have explored many ways of reaching their audience, including publishing a book and earning over $20,000 the first time they offered an online course. So let’s see how Kyeli and Pace created a great manifesto.

Step 1: Hit them with the problem, then hug them with your solution

If we didn’t have a manifesto, the Connection Revolution would be a hodgepodge of apparently unrelated junk. —Pace Smith

The first step in creating a manifesto is to come up with an idea. This idea should be a cohesive vision for your blog’s larger goal. It will make it really clear why you are doing what you are doing.

Brainstorm your idea by asking what’s wrong with the world you engage with. If you blog about children’s hockey, maybe you think it’s a problem that physical contact is allowed when the early-bloomers outweigh the others by 30 pounds. If you blog about activism, maybe you think people should do more and protest less. If you blog about blogging, what’s wrong with that world?

You’ll use your words to paint a really ugly picture that gets people to say, “Yeah, you’re right! I’m not okay with that either.” But, don’t dwell on the negative, or Pace warns you’ll “become a documentary and people will feel horrible and drained.”

Instead, you want people to feel good after reading your manifesto. So, the second part of the idea is to tell a story about what a perfect world could look like. The perfect world of little league sports. The glorious dream of contact-free play! Make it a vision as vivid as you possibly can.

Want an easy way to remember all that? Think IDEA. Initially Depressing Eventually Awesome.

Action step: Create an idea for your manifesto using this easy formula: IDEA = [What's the biggest problem with your world?] + [What does your ideal world look like?].

Step 2: Revise and outline your idea

Sometimes I think I must have been in a drug addled haze or something. I felt like I had a brilliant idea, but then when I bring it into the world people will be like “what are you talking about?” —Pace Smith

Once you have your idea(s), spend an afternoon considering it. You can do this by reading what others have written about the topic, conversing and communicating it to others, or journaling. This process will clarify your thoughts and feelings. You might also develop new viewpoints and see what resonates, especially if you talk about your ideas with others.

When you are satisfied that you’ve come up with “the idea,” create an outline. This could be a mind map, table of contents, or something similar that starts to provide structure to your idea. By seeing the flow of ideas you can ensure that they are logical and you haven’t missed key steps.

Action step: Revise (or refine) your idea by talking about it with a friend. When you have the idea, create an outline containing the major points.

Step 3: Write your manifesto (with the help of a plan!)

Everyone says “I wish I had time to write a book”, but actually everyone has time to write a book, you just need to make it a priority. —Kyelie Smith

You might write a blog post in one sitting, but a manifesto can take weeks. So to make sure you finish, you need a plan. Set a schedule that compliments your regular routine and make it a habit. An example is writing your manifesto one hour a day for six days a week. If you are like me and write in bursts, commit to drafting a certain number of pages in a certain number of days.

You can also do a daily brain dump. This is a writing practice that you do before your public work, and is intended to clear your mind. Spend 15 minutes writing about your distractions: the cat that keeps biting you even though you rescued it from the streets of Beijing, how difficult it is to experiment being a vegan when you can’t eat wheat, or whether CommentLuv is good for your blog.

By having a plan, and clearing your mind to execute it, you will finish your manifesto.

Action step: Commit to a writing schedule. It can complement your current writing habits, or jolt you into action.

Step 4: Give your manifesto a design that complements the theme

I really loved your manifesto and the design was awesome! —Kyelie Smith

The design and custom illustrations for Connection Revolution’s manifesto cost between $500 and $800. Worth the investment? Absolutely. Professional design complements your words, and enhances their value.

Pace and Kyelie hired a designer and artist they knew in the offline world. The designer had never created a manifesto before, so she researched what others charged and then they all negotiated.

Another way to find a designer is to look at the credits in another manifesto you liked. Usually the author will credit the designer for their work. If there is no credit, send the authour a quick email saying that you liked it, and especially the design—then ask for the contact information for the designer.

Action step: When you have a designer and price settled, revise the work until it’s just as you like. Make the design consistent with your blog theme.

Have you created your own manifesto? Thinking about it? I’d appreciate your thoughts on how to create a good one.

I’m Michael Alexis and I video interview the world’s top bloggers at WriterViews. Check out this ProBlogger article from when I interviewed Ramit Sethi.

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Comments

  1. Hi Michael

    It is really a good read. Very inspiring and encouraging. We should always try to divide our problem and then organize them into small pieces.

    Planning is needed in every step.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. Love the easy 4 easy steps with actionable tips. I really liked #1…it’s an attention grabber.

  3. J. Delancy says:

    279 days to Overnight Success is simply awesome as is this post. I plan to use the IDEA model on my next post which comes out on Monday, 13th of August.

  4. Ehsan Ullah says:

    Hello Michael,

    Those are great steps. I would have to start creating my manifesto step by step by following these steps.

  5. Ayaz says:

    Hi Michael,

    These are great points and its been a worth reading it and I would start creating my manifesto with the help of your mention steps. Thanks for sharing great information :-)

  6. Anne Bevan says:

    I really liked the article (especially “idea”) and clicked to see the interview on writerviews.com, which was lovely.
    What is most confusing, however, is that there is absolutely no live link to “connection revolution” – not to their website, not to their blog.

  7. I am much more into doing video than writing, so I am interested in how this process could turn into a short film instead.

    I’m sure it could work using the same steps, and it’s not something you see almost anywhere.

    Thanks a bunch,
    -Gabe

  8. its great blog and also confusing in few technical points

  9. Although I seriously doubt that I’ll write a manifesto any time soon (but you never know) your article gave me some great ideas for future blog posts on my site. I love how you broke it down – there are so many issues in the dog rescue community that many are trying to resolve, breaking them down and addressing them in pieces is doable and will make a great read.

    Thanks!

    Kimberly

  10. Hello Michael, now i’m working in the first step. Thanks, a big hug. :D