Publishing manifestos isn't just for politicians or awful and violent people radicalised at online forums. Anyone can write their own manifesto. I highly recommend it for those who wish to define their personal brand or build a creative business.
A manifesto is at the same time a statement and a call to action. It can provoke change, and create movements. It influences and motivates.
The word manifesto comes from Latin word manifestum, meaning clear or conspicuous. It creates clarity for you and for your customers.
It can be very inspirational. For you and for your customers. It reminds you about why you do what you do, and it helps everyone else to understand it better too.
Simply put, your manifesto is a declaration of your ideals, beliefs, intentions, values and views.
A manifesto helps with your branding, content creation and building your products and services. It works as a part of your brand, and expands your mission and value statements. If you have trouble with describing your services or creating an about page for your blog or business site, create a manifesto first and use it as a base.
Additionally, a manifesto can help with search engine optimisation (SEO) and otherwise getting noticed online or offline. It can create buzz around your business and build your visibility. A manifesto helps you to be established as an expert in your field.
For a creative person like yourself, writing a manifesto is an interesting and fun project. It may take time. The good news is, a manifesto can (and should) evolve. If a statement in your manifesto doesn't apply to you, your brand or your business anymore, it can be changed or removed.
A manifesto must never include things that aren't true to you, your brand or your business. Your manifesto is something you really believe in. False statements become very easy to spot sooner or later.
You can publish your manifesto in many different and creative formats. Basic text page on your website, a poster with hand lettering, infographic, a downloadable PDF, a comic strip, a video or audio, a song, or anything else that voices your message the way that feels most true to you, your brand or your business. If you decide to create your manifesto in some sort of an image, video or sound format, please include a text version of it for clarity and accessibility.
Before you can publish your manifesto in any format, you must write it. Here's how to write your manifesto:
1. Get motivated and inspired
Start with looking into other people's manifestos. For example, you can read my Meaningful Manifesto. Obviously, don't try and copy other people's manifestos, just see what they have done. This boosts your motivation and gives you ideas on what to include in your manifesto and how to manifest it. (See what I did there?)
2. Do a brain dump
Start writing down your beliefs, values, goals, things that motivate and inspire you and reasons for why you do what you do. Pretty much anything that pops in your mind.
It can be helpful to write these ideas as I statements (or we statements, if you are creating a manifesto for a business with more than one people). Create simple sentences beginning with "I believe...", "I want...", "I know...", "I value..." and so forth. But at this stage the format isn't that important.
Don't worry about the grammar or other such details. This is just for you (or your team) at this point.
I putting these ideas away for a moment, or preferably days or weeks. A little break can give you clarity.
3. Identify what's important
After giving your brain an appropriate time to reset from that dump, it's time to dig back into your ideas.
If you have done a true brain dump, you may have written down ideas with varying relevance. From all these ideas, identify and isolate those that are truly important and relevant for you, your brand or your business.
Concentrate on the ideas that are the most powerful, motivational and inspirational. Don't trow away the rest, since they may have value in the future.
4. Write the first draft
Write down the first draft using those important, powerful, motivational and inspirational ideas as a base.
Your manifesto's length depends on the format you choose. Text, such as a website content, can be longer, more describing and perhaps poetic. Or it can be short and on point, a bulleted list or similar. Posters and infographics require a shorter format, even as short as using singular words.
One recommended way to write your manifesto is writing a short, emphasised statement followed by a more explanatory definition.
Whichever way you go, simplify and emphasise. Utilise present tense and use firm, purposeful language. Manifestos usually have provocative, strong and resolute tone.
At this point, you may want again to take a step away from your manifesto. Give it a couple of days.
5. Proofread, revise and publicise
Take that first draft of your manifesto and read it through. Think about its tone, message and how it manifests your brand and business. Check the language, and revise the whole thing.
Give yourself a timeline when you must publicise your manifesto. This prevents you from revising forever, and gets your manifesto out there.
Making your manifesto public makes it more impactful. It works for you as a reminder of what your brand or business is about, and it tells this to others as well.
6. Live and let evolve
Live and breathe your manifesto, let it inspire you and your business choices. Use it as a reason to say no. Use it as a reason to say yes.
Let your manifesto evolve. Add changes and remove things that don't apply to you, your brand or your business anymore.
Whenever you feel less than motivated or inspired, read (or see or listen) your manifesto. A great manifesto can get your motivation back and inspire you.