Beginner’s Guide to Blogging Part 2/10: The Kennedy

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Blogging isn’t going out of style any time soon; with the ascent of content marketing, blogging, podcasting and video are on the minds of marketers and PR professionals all the time. In this 10-part Beginner’s Guide to Blogging series, we’re going to explore what makes a blog great and give you some structures and frameworks to help make blogging easier. Take from it what works and leave behind what doesn’t work!

Beginner's Guide to Blogging Series:

The Kennedy

The Kennedy is a blog post framework named after veteran marketer and sales trainer Dan Kennedy. Its structure is elegantly simple:

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In the beginning section of a Kennedy blog post, state the problem (P) that you’re going to address. What is on your audience’s mind? What struggle are they facing?

In the second section, agitate (A) the audience. In this paragraph, you state the impact of the problem if it’s not addressed.

In the third section, relieve the agitation by suggesting a general solution (GS). This keeps the reader of your blog post engaged; you’ve stated the problem and the impact, so it’s time to help relieve the tension you’ve created.

In the fourth section, drill down into your specific solution (SS). The specific solution very often incorporates a call to action.

Each section can be a paragraph or multiple paragraphs; there’s no limit to how long you make a section as long as it flows logically using this structure.

Example

Let’s say you sell a widget; for fun, we’ll call it a left-handed smoke shifter. Here’s what a very short sample blog post would read like, using the Kennedy structure:

Problem: Have you ever wanted to grill more during the summer, but you just can’t bring yourself to stand in the smoke of an open fire?

Agitation: Let’s face it, no one wants to stand in a cloud of smoke while they grill up some steaks for dinner or some burgers just before the big game. Research studies show that the smoke from your grill is just as harmful to breathe in as cigarette smoke, and the more your food is exposed to smoke, the more soot and other less tasty flavors get stuck to it.

General Solution: If only there were some way to move smoke around. Lots of people have tried different solutions, from fans to grilling using chimneys rather than regular grill grates, and these are good starts, but they often bring as much inconvenience (and burned food) as just standing around in smoke. What we need is a way to move smoke while not changing how we grill.

Specific Solution: Fortunately, engineers have worked on this problem and created an entirely new grilling method: the left-handed smoke shifter. Place the smoke shifter over your grill and operate it with your left hand. This keeps your right hand free to operate utensils and grill controls safely, while directing smoke away from you and your food. You’ll enjoy grilling so much, you’ll grill every meal! Buy one today at your local retail store.

Obviously, you’d want to adapt the Kennedy structure to your specific products and services and provide more content than this barebones example, but this is a fictitious example of how it might be used.

Use Cases

The Kennedy is especially good for selling things; unsurprising, as it was invented by a sales trainer. The logical flow from product to solution will help you clarify your ideas and eliminate extraneous content that doesn’t fit in with the flow, making your blog posts more clear. How strong the call to action is depends on how hard you want to pitch your product, but there’s always a direct pitch. If the post you want to write doesn’t have a call to action or a specific solution, then that’s a good indicator to use a different structure than the Kennedy.

In the next post in this series, we’ll take a look at a blog post invented hundreds of years ago by Benjamin Franklin!

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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Posted on August 5, 2014 in Blogging, Content Marketing, Marketing, Strategy

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change. Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim. He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.
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