What King’s “Dream” Says to Bloggers

Lots of great advice for blogging advisors in yesterday’s On the Media segment on Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech—the single most recognizable oration in American history.

Borrow

“King saw the whole world as his sourcebook.” He borrowed from such disparate texts as Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, Samuel F. Smith’s “America,” and Archibald Carey Jr.’s address to the 1952 Republican National Convention. But he added to them and shaped the amalgam into an original, powerful message.

Advice: You don’t have to create blogs from whole cloth. Take the ideas and words from others that inspire or provoke you—then add your thoughts, reactions, conclusions to them. (Give credit where it’s due, as King did.)

Test

King had been trying out his “dream” idea with audiences months before that day in late August, 1963. And he kept listening, even there on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Sensing his prepared conclusion was terrible, and hearing Mahalia Jackson yell “tell them about the dream,” he decided on the spot to change his ending.

Advice: Your blog and social media posts are an unbeatable workshop for testing your thoughts, ideas, marketing messages, and so on. Your audience will tell you what they like and what’s weak. Don’t stop listening.

Prepare

Surprise, surprise: King’s “improvisation,” like any musician’s, was actually the result of long preparation. Not even as gifted an orator as King could change tack midway through a speech and grab a spectacular ending without having been prepared.

Advice: The discipline and experience of publishing your ideas will hone your delivery and make you better prepared to communicate, in any forum. Blogging isn’t just about promoting you and your firm—it’s about improving yourself, and what you offer.

Listen to the first seven minutes of this podcast to pick up your own insights.


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