This guest post is by Michael Alexis of Michael Alexis.
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:
- Your manifesto becomes a consistent path for you to follow with your work.
- It becomes a rallying call for readers to share your vision.
- 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.
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.