“Every major religion has a text. A manifesto is that for your blog or business.” - Jeff Goins
Many of our greatest thought leaders on the web have cemented their authority through producing larger bodies of work. This includes e-books, free guides, and traditionally published books. In Tribes, Seth Godin even cites writing a manifesto as one of the most important things you can do to build a tribe. Creating a larger body of work results in a deeper emotional connection to your work that simply can’t be established with an individual blog post.
When you share something bigger with the world, people become invested in your body of work. They connect with your philosophies and what you stand for They go from being spectators to tribe members and raving fans.
Bodies of Work that Have Transformed Tribes
1. The World Domination Manifesto
Chris Guillebeau cites his world domination manifesto as one of the major turning points in his journey. The manifesto has been downloaded over 100,000 times. He’s gone on to publish two books, become a household name on the social web, and is working on his third book. It’s hard to argue with those kind of results.
2. Life and Times of a Remarkable Misfit
AJ Leon launched his blog sometime last year. But he did something quite unusual. His second blog post was an incredible manifesto. It’s been downloaded over 100,000 times and created a cult like loyalty to his work.
3. The Extraordinary Achiever’s Manifesto
This is a shameless plug for my own work. But I can tell you it has certainly transformed my tribe over at The Skool of Life. They know who I am and what I stand for.
In each of the three cases above. a larger body of work resulted in a significant impact.
The Shelf Life Social Media Results in a Minimal Impact
You’ll never hear somebody say “that status update changed my life.” Tweets and status updates don’t change lives. The shelf life of social media is far too short to have a meaningful impact on people you connect with.
Tweets and status updates are like televisions commercials. Blog posts are like episodes of TV shows and larger bodies of work are like movies.
You probably don’t have a clue what commercials were on the air a couple years ago. We don’t ever talk about a particular episode of a TV show 10 years after it’s been on the air. But the movies, have a very different quality to them. Have you ever ever heard of any of the following movies?
- Top Gun
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- The Godfather
We talk about movies decades after they’ve been released. They have an evergreen quality to them. They are larger bodies of work. We refer back to them over and over again. Sometimes they change lives.
Chances are every one of those movies triggered an emotional response of some sort in you. Great content triggers an emotional response in the person who consumes it. A larger body of work is much more likely to create this kind of impact than an individual blog post. Think in terms of creating movies instead of commercials and tv shows.
A Simple Secret for Creating Larger Bodies of Work
Take a closer look at many many manifestos, e-books, and books. The creators aren’t afraid to leverage existing content. Find common threads in your work and you’ll notice seeds for larger bodies of work. However, this is not an excuse to slap things together. It’s an opportunity to polish and refine your best work. Develop content in a way that it serves your ultimate needs. Publish content with the intention of packaging and keep an end in mind.
Design for Impact
If you take a look at the Manifestos that I mentioned above, you’ll notice that the design work is impeccable. Even though they are completely free a great amount of attention was given to the details. You might wonder why anybody would invest so much in something they are giving away for free. It sets a standard and amplifies impact.
The value of good design can’t be overstated. Same words and bad design will reduce the effect. Think of this way. Imagine your favorite action flick minus the special effects. The dialogue and the storyline are the same, but it won’t have the same impact on you.
Why invest so much effort in something you give away for free? It’s simple. It enables ideas to spread. Maybe you can charge 20 dollars and sell 20 copies. You earn $400.00. Let’s say you give it away for free and 10,000 people find out. You can’t measure the ROI on that because it’s simply too great. Look where it lead for the people I mentioned above. This is an excerpt from my book, The Small Army Strategy