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 Franklin is a blog post framework named after an old sales technique called the Ben Franklin close.
In the beginning section of a Franklin blog post, state the problem (red) that you’re going to address. What is on your audience’s mind? What struggle are they facing? The Franklin is adept at handling complex issues with multiple viewpoints, so frame that out in the beginning.
Once the problem is framed out, begin to tackle the points and counterpoints in two separate sections. In the first section, you’d list one set of perspectives. In the second section, you’d list the opposing viewpoints and perspectives. These should be roughly complementary and roughly equal in size. If you dedicate three paragraphs to one point of view, aim to do the same for the opposing point of view.
At the end of a Franklin post, state your conclusions and make a judgement about which perspective you favor, if any, and what call to action or takeaway you expect the reader to have.
Let’s say you sell roasted coffee, as an example for a short Franklin-style post:
Problem: Coffee is a necessity for many working professionals to be effective in their jobs. There are so many different options when it comes to your morning coffee, from the local mega-chain to roasting your own. Today, let’s look at whether home-brewed coffee is the right choice for you.
Pros: Home-brewed coffee is significantly less expensive than going to your local mega-chain. In some cases, you’ll pay up to $5 for mostly water – only about 3% of what’s in your cup is actual coffee. Done properly, home-brewed coffee can be better tasting than store-bought coffee. Finally, home-brewed coffee has a lower environmental impact.
Cons: Home-brewed coffee may be less expensive than going to the local mega-chain, but part of what the mega-chain is selling is the experience of being in a “third space” between work and home, something that home-brewed coffee can’t deliver. Home-brewed coffee can be better tasting if you know what you’re doing, but many consumers rely on cheap machinery and no knowledge of the science of coffee, resulting in lackluster results. Finally, home-brewed coffee has a lower environmental impact but a less positive economic impact; in the long run, more jobs can mean people can afford to live in a more environmentally conscious way.
Call to Action: Is home-brewed coffee right for you? If personal economy, taste, and convenience are important, then it’s definitely the way to go. Buy some today from XYZ roasters.
Obviously, you’d want to adapt the Franklin 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 Franklin blog post structure does help to sell things (hence why many sales professionals use it as a closing technique) but it’s also ideal for any complex issue that merits legitimate side-by-side comparison of points of view. It’s prone to being biased in one point of view over another, so if credibility is important, ensure that your counterpoints are almost as strong as the point of view you’re writing in support of. In the end, a thoughtful, thorough exploration of issues around a topic can convey your authority and knowledgeability of a topic, implying strong credibility as an expert.
In the next post in the series, we’ll look at what frogs can teach us about blogs.
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology