I have to admit that blog posts around the social space are getting a little stale.
It seems like everyone (including me) has found a formula for blog writing, and we are kicking out posts like cars off an assembly line.
While the posts are generally good, I think we can do better.
This is easier said than done. The problem isn’t just choosing an interesting topic; it’s choosing the vision of each post. These days, the most common types of posts are lists, how-to’s and opinions (or rants). Bloggers choose a type based on their goals: to impress, teach or persuade.
To take posts to next level, I challenge writers to go deeper and think about the strategic objectives of their posts.
To do this, bloggers can learn a lot by studying presidential campaigns. Campaign communication experts use three basic speeches to achieve specific goals. Here is each type, and how you can use them to add more punch to your blog posts.
1. Stump speeches
These workhorses are the bread and butter of the campaign trail—they outline the candidate’s core principles. Campaign communicators tailor the stump speech to the audience, and change it often to address new opportunities. It forms the foundation of the political campaign.
The stump speech is the blog post that consistently details your perspective on your niche. It delivers relevant information without surprises, and is so closely aligned with your beliefs and voice that regular readers can identify your post before knowing that you wrote it.
2. Policy talks
Candidates often need to dig deep into a specific issue. Policy talks establish the candidate’s expertise, and define a clear-cut position to the public. Candidates don’t give policy talks too frequently, as they are often too in-depth and unwieldy for daily use. However, they are the anchors that ground the campaign and give it legitimacy.
For blogs, a policy post is an epic review of a specific subject. It defines the blogger and helps him or her take the high ground in a particular area. These posts attract links, bookmarks and retweets due to their thoroughness and careful research.
3. Game changers
Sometimes you need to shake things up. Game changer posts alert your readers that things are going to be different. They offer new perspectives, or take a stand against “rules of thumb.”
Great game changing speeches include Ronald Reagan’s “Tear Down this Wall” speech in Berlin, Germany, or John F. Kennedy’s “Ask Not What Your Country Can Do For You” masterpiece.
A game changing blog post grabs your topic by the throat and turns it upside down. Game changers aren’t for the timid—they shock, inspire and force your readers to reconsider their approach and their beliefs.
Here’s the deal though—most bloggers can pull off a game-changer only once or twice in their blogging career. So don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t published your game changer. It will come. Just don’t force it; nothing is sadder than a blogger screaming that they have a game changer when all they have is a run of the mill stump speech.
You will know you have a game changer by your reader’s reactions. Game changing posts spread like wildfire, and become the meme that governs a niche.
Putting it all together
I’m sure you are chomping at the bit to create your game changer, but I’m going to reel you back. In fact, I recommend that you spend 90 percent of your time writing solid stump posts—posts that are simple explanations of your core beliefs, perspectives and ideas.
As you write stump posts, you’ll get the urge to kick out a policy post. Do it. Take the time to make it great.
Then, one day, a game changer will bubble to the surface. It may scare or inspire you, but start writing regardless of what you feel, and don’t stop until it’s done.
Stanford Smith is an online marketing strategist and V.P. of Marketing at Fluency Media. He blogs at PushingSocial.com, where a version of this article originally ran.