How to Get Your Black Belt in Blogging
Let me tell you a little secret about blogging: It’s very formulaic.
It’s more craft than art.
If you can internalize what’s required to write a solid blog post, you’ll beat out the competition in the same way someone with a black belt will usually win a fight against someone who hasn’t trained and internalized fighting principles.
While getting a black belt in blogging doesn’t guarantee you’ll become huge, it does significantly increase your chances.
Let’s examine some of the fundamentals you’ll need to master to receive your black belt in the craft of blogging.
1. Use Metaphors and Similes
Using metaphors and similes will increase the quality of your posts in two ways.
- It helps your audience to easily understand a concept since you’ll be comparing the new concept with a concept they’re already familiar with.
- It paints a picture in the minds of your readers which will engage and please them.
A metaphor I recently used was comparing water to focus. I explained to my audience that focusing on the negative is like randomly pouring water out of your canteen when you’re lost in a jungle and really need that water for survival.
Do you see how the above metaphor not only paints a picture that makes reading more enjoyable, but also instills the lesson with much greater impact than mere plain language does?
2. Be Succinct
Saying everything you want to say in fewer words requires more time than conveying the same message to your audience without concern of how many words you use.
It may seem odd that a shorter post often takes longer to write than a longer one, but it’s not.
When you strive to limit your word count without compromising your message, you have to be methodical in how you express your message. Conversely, when you’re indifferent about word count, you don’t need to make as much an effort in how you convey your message.
Just as a good martial artist strives to make every movement as efficient as possible with no wasted energy, likewise, you should make every post you write as short as possible without your message being compromised.
I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had time to make it shorter. ~Blaise Pascal (1623-1662).
Your readership will love you for being concise.
3. Be Entertaining
As Jon Morrow of Copyblogger has mentioned before, if all people wanted was information they’d buy a textbook.
One primary reason people read blogs is because they’re looking for a diversion from the mundaneness of life.
If you want to compete with the competition, discover and practice as many ways as possible to make your blog entertaining.
Here are some ways to do that:
- Use metaphors and similes.
- Share interesting experiences and how they relate to your message.
- Use quotes from books, music bands, movies and TV shows to help illustrate your points.
- Be hilarious.
- Be controversial.
4. Be Diligent
Unlike a black belt in the martial arts, once you get your black belt in blogging, it can be taken away from you within a moment’s notice.
In martial arts, once you get your black belt, you don’t necessarily have to spar with anyone from that day forward and you’ll always remain a black belt.
Not so with blogging.
You see, we’re fighting every day. Every day we’re fighting for people’s attention and trying to convince them that we’re worth staying subscribed to and that the competition can’t offer what we do.
There’s really only two ways to keep your black belt and it requires tremendous discipline.
1. Read like your life depends on it
I currently read an hour and a half a day and consider my reading more important than content creation for the simple reason that you can create all day long, but if it doesn’t shine, what good is it?
Reading diligently, blogs and books, will ensure that ideas are constantly coming to you and that they’re the kind of ideas that will keep your readers craving more of what you have to offer.
When I fall short in my reading regiment, fewer ideas come to me and the quality of ideas diminish.
2. Write like your life depends on it
While I definitely think reading is even more important than writing, writing’s a close second.
For starters, if you’re not updating your blog on a regular basis you can hardly be considered a blogging black belt no matter how much talent you have.
Writing is also the best way for you to practice all the techniques you’ve learned. Even in martial arts, any serious black belt never becomes complacent once they get to this exalted level. They just want to keep getting better.
What else do you need to receive your black belt in blogging?