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