Tents, beards, sign boards – what better way for the unwashed people of the world to get the message out!
They are fed up!
They are swarming in the streets!
It’s time those bad guys sat up and took notice of the 99 percent out here snorting pepper spray and body odor!
And just who are those bad guys we’re fighting? Why, they’re the 1%, of course! The “haves!”
Great! What are we fed up with!?
Er… A lot of things?
We, the repressed 99 percent, want so many things it’s hard to name just one to rally behind. It’s easy to argue that everything is broken and it all needs fixing.
But that inability to articulate what’s most wrong with the world is why Occupy Wall Street, Occupy London and any other Occupy movement will never work.
They don’t know what they are fighting for.
Blogging, however, has everything that the Occupy movement doesn’t.
While there are plenty of bloggers with beards and body odor, and more than a few probably live in a tent, most are just like the rest of the 99 percent.
The only difference between the rallying 99 percent and the blogging 99 percent? The bloggers know how to put a plan into effect.
If Occupy Wall Street wants to be truly effective they should take notes from effective, well-established blogging practices.
- Have a clear message. If you’re going to say something, please say it clearly and concisely so we can all understand. (Just what are we fed up with again? Oh right, everything.)
- Use simple phrases that are easy to remember. “99 percent” works well enough, but it doesn’t mean much to most of us. Wouldn’t it be better to say something like: “No taxation without representation!”? That one is more than 300 years old and works like a charm!
- The pen is mightier than the signboard. Nobody pays attention to signboards. They are great for slogans perhaps, but if you’re going to change the world or the financial markets it’s going to take more than a Sharpie and a piece of cardboard.
Use your words electronically to reach the masses with eloquence and class. Plus, if you make a spelling mistake you can use that handy delete key.
- Argue fully. Blogs are a great platform for arguing. How often have we started to post a response to a blog or write a forum post only to cut and paste the response to our own blog so that we can fully develop the response?
What better medium than the blog to argue for or against a position? A piece of cardboard? Take a stand through a reasonable display of knowledge, fact and certainty.
- Get real support. The best support you can make for an argument is someone smarter than you saying the same thing. And where are those smart people? Online, of course!
Use the internet as the information treasure trove that it is. Find real support for your positions and then link out to those authority sites so that others can do their own quest for real knowledge.
- Make it pretty. If you stink and you’re shouting, people will pay attention. However, it may not be the sort of attention you want.
Normally when someone is loitering on the street, we cross over to the other side and refuse to make eye contact. How is that helping the little man?
People camping for three months at a time aren’t pretty, but a blog can be!
Use pictures, fonts and all of the copywriting skills you’ve learned to make people feel at home on your blog and to deliver the message in a way that makes your reader enjoy the experience.
Nobody enjoys pepper spray and street violence after all.
- Use social media. This is a social movement. So use the social media!
It’s a simple formula: Blog outlines ideas clearly. Friends “like”, “tweet” or “digg” your post. More people read, “like” and comment, and the movement grows.
It works for John Chow, it will work for Occupy.
- Make people angry! If you really want to get people worked up, make them angry.
Successful bloggers are great at this. They can make you furious about just about anything simply by the way they choose their words.
Learn from this and fire people up the right way – with comments turned on, of course, to let everyone spew a bit of their own venom and add even more weight to your argument.
- Go global. We’re a global society and we have some global problems – the Occupy movement got that right, at least.
But isolated marches and camping sites aren’t going to have the dramatic impact we really need to create a big noise on the global market.
Blogging, however, is already as global as it gets – perhaps we should use the platform to our advantage. WordPress to save the planet!
- Be firm. We can’t stand someone who is indecisive. Make up your mind and then stand firm behind it.
Want better banking service? Fight for it.
Want all of your student loans paid off? Put it in a bold font or even use all caps.
If you’re going to make a statement, take a stand and stay there. Don’t be swayed like the masses tend to be.
- Fight one issue at a time. The biggest problem there is with Occupy is that the people behind it can’t seem to decide on one issue to fight about.
Everyone is out milling about and shouting. They are the 99%! But so what? Why is that a bad thing? Aren’t they in the majority? Shouldn’t that be a good thing?
Quit fighting a vague race behind fun slogans. Pick a race to fight. If you’re in the 99%, you don’t make $250,000 per year. So what?
Pick a real cause and fight tooth and nail for it. Not only will you be able to explain your position with the cameras on, you’ll be able to do the research and powerful writing you need to make your point effectively.
Fight for better work conditions. Fight for higher minimum wages. Fight for tariffs on imports. Fight for more regulation on Wall Street. Just pick one thing to unite behind.
- Stay on topic. Nobody’s interested in your blog when you’re wandering all over the place without a unifying theme or topic.
That’s why Occupy is doomed.
It’s all over the place. Once the Occupy folks pick a real topic they can practice the old-fashioned blogging technique of dealing with one thing at a time. One topic per post. It’s as simple as that.
- Scale your model. What’s the next step when you have a nicely generating blog? You scale it!
Make new blogs on different things you’re interested. Use your expertise to make it easier to find success in the next area.
Let’s pretend Occupy can find one message. Then they manage to unify behind it and then stick with it long enough to find success in that (niche) area.
Guess what? They can do it again and again in different areas – they will have figured out the formula for success!
- Use media. The media seems to love the Occupy movement. There’s always something new on the television about tents being dismantled in London or people sleeping on benches in New York.
While the media attention isn’t being very flattering most of the time, what if the tables were turned? Occupy has a brilliant opportunity to use media in their fight.
They should include videos, photographs and data analysis. Everyone likes to watch videos and see things in action.
If you can’t explain the problem to the rest of us, why not show us? Make a promotional video about it and throw it up online. We love to watch videos, after all.
- Use short sentences. Humans have short attention spans most of the time. Blame ADD or Prozac if you’d like, but most of us just manage to read a few lines before we tune out.
I’m frankly surprised you’re still reading at this point, actually. Short sentences and small paragraphs make it possible to deliver information quickly.
Succinct: Awesome word; even better concept.
- Find a solution. We can all find a problem.
Nobody is going to argue that everything in the world is perfect. There are obviously things that need improving and despite our advice here, Occupy does have a few justifiable concerns when they manage to articulate them.
But the secret of success is this: Don’t tell people there’s a problem without offering them a solution.
If you’re going to throw a fit (either online or in the middle of Wall Street) about college tuition you consider to be too high to be affordable, answer the inevitable question: What should we do about it?
- Build a following. Jesus knew it. Ashton knew it. Obama still knows it.
To be effective with any message, you have to build a following. Get people excited. Fascinate them.
Educate them. And then get them to subscribe.
Then, you can work over time to convert your following to your particular viewpoint on just about any issue at all.
- Repeat (Repeat). Create a category and fill it up! Writing one post about student loans isn’t going to change anyone’s minds. Standing in the rain for one day isn’t going to help your position much either.
You can either stand in the rain for days as many are choosing to do or you can write about your favorite topic many different ways.
Make your whole blog center on your student loans or any other topic and beat that issue to death – it’s the best way to make your point and make yourself into an expert on a particular topic.
- Do the research. It’s one thing to link to a single article on a topic, but it’s another thing to be able to blog about the most impressive breaking news on that same topic every time something breaks.
Staying on top of the research and digging around for the support your position requires can take you from being a blogger with an opinion to a blogger with a very educated option.
And that, my Occupy friends, is a blogger who is taken seriously.
- Write for your audience. Marketing 101! If you’re going to sell something, you have to sell it to someone.
Then – most importantly – you have to prepare that message for the audience correctly. This is a huge misstep for the Occupy movement.
The Occupy movement is trying to change government policies and corporate behavior (as best we can tell), but they are standing in a rowdy crowd in the middle of the street. Financial wizards and Senators don’t really care what the unwashed masses have to say. They like their information presented in a different way – a way that is just as classy as they feel.
Sadly the same can be said for most of the voting populace of the world. We like to listen to people who are educated. We get fired up when people in good looking suits tell us things that we can believe in. holding a misspelled piece of cardboard and exchanging fisticuffs with police officers isn’t going to get us fired up. It might confuse us at best, but most of us will just walk over to the other side of the street.
Don’t run off your audience with a lack of hygiene and fierce methods that don’t seem to include a clear message. Instead, follow this age old rule for an effective blog:
- Determine a clear, explicit message.
- Determine the audience you’re attempting to reach with that message.
- Make your message effective for your given audience.
- Refine your approach over time.