How to Get Your Black Belt in Blogging

Bamboo Forest

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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?

About the Author: Tick Tock Timer is an online timer that helps anyone serious about getting things done be more productive, created by Bamboo Forest.

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26 Responses to “How to Get Your Black Belt in Blogging”

  • John McNally

    I’m an aspiring Black Belt and your tips were a help to achieving my belt. As you said, the blogging knowledge needs to be internalized for it to flow smoothly into quality output.

    I always thought the ” I didn’t have enough time to write a shorter letter” was attributed to Mark Twain, unless he pinched it from Pascal.

    Leamington Spa, England

    • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

      My research says it’s from Pascal. In fact, I think I originally saw this quote on Copyblogger. There it’s attributed to Pascal.

      Good luck with your martial arts black belt as well as your blogging black belt.

  • Wasim Ismail

    Try new techniques, and think outside the box, and attract more customers]
    One thing I would like to add is staying focused, when you’re a blogger, its all about focus, you have to have your eyes on your target and go for it, you can easily slip and get distracted. – Stay Focused 🙂

    • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

      Staying focused is essential. I agree.

  • Nasrul Hanis

    Yeah.. try to put yourself in the readers’ shoes and for sure – you want to enjoy entertaining content!

    Having black belt in blogging is something hard (i believe) but it’s truly possible to be done! 😀

    • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

      I believe anyone can get their black belt. Doesn’t mean they’ll be amazing or even great. But if you work hard you can achieve a high level.

  • Lani Kee – SMMT

    Aloha …for your wonderful post and all the valuable content you shared here. I like your analogy, black belt and it’s true, in order for someone to get to that level, they require tons of practice and learning of new and improve skills. And this does apply to anything, we consider ourselves professional at. Glad I came by and thanks for sharing! Mahalo, 🙂

    • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

      Mahalo…. yes… one can use the black belt analogy to anything. Thanks for the good words.

  • Mathew Day

    Interesting article, I see I’m still far from getting my 12th degree black belt in blogging. For now, I’m happy with my purple belt. Thanks for the tips Daniel! 🙂

    • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

      I’m not even sure if I have my black belt yet, but I’m working daily to get it.

      By the way, this is my guest post 😉

      Though, I do agree, Daniel does give some great tips here.

  • Karen Marrow

    Wow, this is a great post. I really enjoy your writing style! Many great ideas that I will implement. I think story telling is great and it keeps people’s attention as well as being concise.

    Thanks so much,


  • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

    That’s a great way of putting it.

    Not only that… reading in a very disciplined fashion lends itself to the finest ideas.

    So even if you can pull of writing often without reading consistently, usually, the ideas won’t sparkle compared to someone who reads often.

  • Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper

    I especially like that you mentioned the importance of reading, not just writing or marketing as we so often hear. Excellent tips in this post.

    • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

      The problem with writing all day long is unless it’s really good writing, it won’t accomplish what you want it to.

      The advantage of reading is that it will provide you the capacity to write in a way that can actually get your site to go places.

      That’s how I see it at least.

      • Jen Whitten @ The Positive Piper

        I absolutely agree. You can only empty a brain of ideas for so long before you have to stop and fill it back up with inspiration. 🙂

  • Julie

    Hi Bamboo
    I love what you said. thanks for the post and all your ideas.
    Julie Linares

    • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

      Thank you. I appreciate your good words.

  • Rajiv | WebsphereRAD

    Liked your post. Also, for tech-blogs screen shots help a lot to the readers. A picture speaks a thousand words 🙂

    • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

      This is a good point… I agree… screen shots do enhance the post and thus make it more entertaining.

  • Geet | HobbyPainting

    A clear message. I liked this one – “Read/Write like your life depends on it”.

    • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

      I actually believe that the notion of reading to become a great blogger is overlooked.

      I think it may even be the missing ingredient that many lack.

  • Emelina Minero

    I admire your blog, and look to it as something to aspire to with my blogs. It’s the entertaining factor that you mentioned above that you have down.

    I want to check out the “Blogger Face-Off” and “Blog Projects” section next.

    Thanks. 🙂

    • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

      I admire Daniel’s blog too, but this is a guest post 🙂

      That said, you make a good point. “Blogger Face-Off” is a good example of making a post entertaining.

  • HP van Duuren

    Thanks for your Post,

    ‘I Like the idea of using Metaphors,
    and I like the idea of keeping it short….,’

    O.K. I Now will continue – Painting Inspiring Pictures – about how to create your own Home Business Income Opportunity with Blogging and Affiliate Marketing, on my Home Business Lifestyle Blog 🙂

    All the Best,
    To your Happy – Blogging – Inspiration,

    • Web Marketing Tips

      boy I must say that this kind of title always works.

      Simply awesome title.

    • Bamboo Forest – Tick Tock Timer

      Do pain those inspiring pictures, like a black belt. I’m certain doing so will increase the popularity of your blog 😉

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