(This appeared earlier this week on the HubSpot marketing blog, a leader in all things new media)
Winston Churchill. Abraham Lincoln. John F. Kennedy. What do all three great leaders have in common?
All were exemplary public speakers, and not one of them blogged!
Ok, that’s really not fair as Al Gore had not yet even invented the internet while each was alive.
Still, there are lessons that every blogger can learn from great public speakers of the past in order to capture, motivate and move an audience. Here are a few:
1. Simplicity – Two of my favorite quotes, both of which apply to great public speaking and great blogging:
“Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word, before you let it fall” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
“Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.” – Dionysius
2. Brevity – Part II of Simplicity: Speeches (and blog posts) that resonate don’t drag on.
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address? Under three minutes.
Does this mean every blog post you write should be consumed in less than three minutes? No. It means if you want a reader to keep coming back, you better be interesting and you better get to the point
3. Message Consistency – Hope and change (Barack Obama). Never surrender (Winston Churchill). Ask not (JFK). There was never any doubt what any of these three men stood for when they spoke.
Every reader knows what he or she is getting when visiting the HubSpot Blog (expert internet marketing advice). Drudge Report (breaking news). PerezHilton (celebrity dirt).
Every week, week after week, these immensely popular sites get tons of traffic, and week after week these sites deliver subject matter that their readership cares about – consistently.
4. It’s Not About You – Every great public speaker recognizes that a speech or presentation is not about the speaker, it’s about the audience. Blogging is no different. Ignore this to your own peril.
5. Tell a Story – People will remember a story, they may or may not remember a fact. Most great speakers tend to incorporate great stories into speeches and presentations. Blogging is no different.
6. Care. Be Passionate! - To me, this is what truly differentiates great speakers from good speakers. A great public speaker cares, tremendously, about the subject which he or she is speaking on. And it shows, each and every time. Care passionately about what you are writing about if you want your readers to care at all.