Hi, I got some fresh questions so I thought I'd repeat myself.
The BlackBeltBlogger course has been rename and moved, it's now the Blog Writing Course located at blogwritingcourse.com.
Fine print. There is a free blog writing course and a low cost ($29?) course on blog writing. The name change was prompted by the fact that while we attracted many martial artists with literary aspirations, we seem to have confused everyone else.
I thought that I'd revisit some of the basic concepts behindour course on how to write an interesting blog :
- People like help getting started blogging. There are so many questions about how to approach it, what technology to use (blogger? typepad? wordpress?), and other questions that it's good having a structure with a mentor who can keep you on a sensible course.
- Bloggers love having an audience and peer group to start blogging with. It's more fun writing if someone is reading. And it's even better if the someone is teaching you and giving you good feedback and comes with a class full of students who become your online support group and peer group as you launch your online writing career.
- There are some lessons learned from decades of writing episodes, comic strips, and television serials that can be applied to writing a blog. Simple concepts like having an ongoing theme or tension. For instance, one blogger is often having trouble with her weight. With a big party coming up, she buys a dress that is a tad too small for her. As the event approaches, has she lost enough weight to fit into the dress? The tension of this question can keep people reading the blog through months as she diets, exercises, progresses, and regresses. Far too many bloggers just have a bunch of stand-alone articles. Each one might be good but there is nothing that keeps people coming back week after week. There are also principles of character. And so on.
Much like an artist who changes their look every few months, Black Belt Blogger has changed it's theme. It's not a comeback, because we never went away! We're just now wrapped in a new, shinier (easier to understand) package. We are still offering our blog writing course, but we're doing our best not to confuse the public at large anymore with our previous martial arts inspired coating.
The new session of our writing course is set to begin on June 2nd. We also have a free blogging course designed to get you up to speed on your knowledge of blogging before you get started with the actual Blog Writing Course. Be sure to check it out.
On April 20th, I had the distinct pleasure of being a guest on Karl's Secondhand Radio show on Blog Talk Radio. We talked about blogging, twittering, and all kinds of other crazy stuff. Karl asked me some questions about what makes a good blog writer while on the show and I was happy to share a top tip with Karl and his listeners.
BBB Alumni will remember this clearly: Show, don't tell.
It is so important to relay information in an entertaining way when you are showing your reader what you're talking about. Telling is boring and won't bring readers back for more; but if you can show them what you're talking about, appealing to those who respond to visual cues, you'll be able to attract a larger audience and keep your readers coming back for more.
Daddy bloggers are very cool. Different from a mother's perspective, they lay it all out there. Coming from a daddy, it's super endearing and usually funny too. Papa Bradstein is a great example of that. From his humorous excursions with his dog Barky to his adorable little man 3B, Papa Bradstein writes one entertaining blog.
Often joking about his lack of readers, Papa Bradstein is one of the best blogs you're probably not reading yet. His writing style is fun, upbeat and clever. He can make suffering from the flu rip your sides apart with laughter. And if he can't get his coffee? Well, he'll lead you on his journey to the mecca of caffeine and you'll be laughing the whole way there.
With an interesting readership of fellow Daddy bloggers and Mommy bloggers who can't resist him, Papa Bradstein is somewhat of a cult classic. He's like a Starbucks in Seattle before it went viral. If you're not reading him you really should be. His writing makes you want to be a better writer yourself. He's just so darn witty and entertaining.
For his wit, endaring "Daddyness" and for an all around good time that can be had while on his site, Papa Bradstein is the Honorary Black Belt Blogger of the week. Congratulations!
When someone is fun, it's kind of like the flu, super contagious. Fun people are just fun to be around, and so are their blogs. Sizzle can put a little fun and spice into your life. She also makes you think. She has a following of many who enjoy her words, quotes and introspective posts. Her readers also enjoy when she blindfolds her boyfriend and takes him on adventures. From writing about her previous single life, to her new beau, to her handsome little nephew, Sizzle covers it all with 100% style.
Much of Sizzle's success in the blogging world is due to her very true and honest writing. It's fabulous. She examines her life inside and out and shares it with her readers. It's a truly rare look into one of the internet's most beautiful people. But another part of Sizzle's claim to fame is that she's personable. It seems like most of the commenter's on her site are her friends, but they happen to live all over the place, which means she's excellent at communicating and connecting with her readers. I happen to be one of them so I know.
Some of my favorite things about Sizzle Says? I love that she finds the most appropriate quotes to sum up her blog posts. Her honestly is completely refreshing and appealing, and she's always entertaining. For these qualities and so many more, Sizzle is our Honorary Black Belt this week. Check her out. You'll be so happy you did.
It was only a matter of time before a martial arts blogger was given the title of honorary black belt blogger. No one deserves it more than John of Martial Views. He's already a black belt in Isshinryu, but I happen to consider him a black belt blogger as well.
With timely topics on a weekly basis and articles that are always just enough to sink your teeth into, John is stellar at providing topics and content that is relevant to the entire martial arts community. From controversial issues related to MMA to historical conversations, John has done an excellent job of building a community around his blog. He is looked up to as an authority on all things martial arts and it is obvious that he thoroughly researches his topics before adding his own commentary and putting it out there for the world to read and enjoy.
As enjoyable as his articles are, his comments section is equally entertaining. There always seems to be an interesting conversation happening within his comments and John is meticulous in his addressing those who comment on his site personally.
Stick around his site too long, and you'll probably have found a friend in the martial arts. For his informative writing style and his excellent community builder, John at Martial Views is another excellent example of a Black Belt Blogger. Congratulations John!
When you have built a community around your blog, you can pretty much keep them around as long as you keep it interesting. Once readers actually care about you, they want to know more about you, and they will go along with you almost anywhere. The key is to keep content fresh, interesting and entertaining.
Readers don't want to hear a blow by blow of your day when you're too exhausted to put together a decent sentence. If you can make your day interesting through vivid descriptions, intelligent and/or humorous writing, you can hook them for good.
There are entirely too many blogs out there that relay the most mundane details of their days without making it interesting. There are a couple things you can do to keep content fresh:
- Write in scenes. If your readers can "see" what you're seeing, they'll be more interested. The majority of people are very visual people.
- Do something different! If all you've been writing about is how boring your job is, get out of the office and do something new. Visit a park; check out a new restaurant; find something new to experience and tell your readers about it.
- Don't cloud your writing with terrible grammar and cRaZy TeEnAgEr TyPiNg. Man, that took me like 30 minutes to do that. Instead of trying to add interest with irritating stuff like that, do something interesting with your writing that doesn't require people to concentrate harder to get your point. You know, write well!
- If you don't have anything interesting to say, take a breather. You don't have to post every single day. If you're in a bad mood and can't put together something good, take the day off from blogging.
Here's to your writing success!
If you want to read a Master at building community, you want to visit Bush Mackel. The man has a technorati ranking of a gazillion (o.k. actually more like in the 240's) and continues to rake in the traffic. Why? He's interesting, compelling to read and an overall nice person who is willing to help just about anyone with anything (I have about 14 detailed emails in my inbox to prove it).
In addition to great content ranging from making money on your blogs to a personal bout with the flu, Bush Mackel doesn't place himself above everyone else, despite being about to break into the top 20,000 blogs. In fact, it's quite the opposite. Rarely does a day go by when Bush isn't providing linky love to a variety of different sites and bloggers.
The profile picture alone on his blog can make you smile, and his writing offers humorous surprises throughout, calling the toilet "Mr. T" for example during a recent flu bug bout.
Offering up advice on growing your site traffic, monetizing your site and pretty much anything and everything else is what Bush does best. He also maintains another entertaining "Daddy Blog" called Da Mack Daddy. Seriously, could he have possibly thought of a better name for that blog? I think not.
For pure entertainment value, and for his down-to-Earth attitude despite being a virtual "blogebrity," Bush Mackel is this weeks Honorary Black Belt Blogger.
When I started my blog I had about eight visitors a day. Seven of those hits were me. The other one was probably my husband or Mom. Over time my traffic grew, but it took months before I hit a number I was semi-happy about. I started with your basic template, knew nothing about html or putting up my own banner. I taught myself pretty much everything when it came to blogging, so I have to admit I'm sort of jealous but very proud of our very first group of Black Belt Bloggers.
Topsy-Techy is just about the most hysterical home-schooling self-admittedly geeky/techy Mom ever. Her posts never disappoint. She put together an about me page that blew my socks off because seriously people, I don't even have a cool about me page like that. One can't help but see the humor in just about everything she writes. You also might learn something along the way.
The Life of an Everyday BBW is another great blog. This writer doesn't apologize for her weight; she embraces it and she encourages you to do the same with your weight. She's candid and doesn't take herself too seriously. You can definitely have some good laughs and learn a thing or two while visiting her blog.
The Daily Grind is one very caffeinated Mom's journey through life. Always upbeat and sweet, this Java Mama tells it like it is and oozes personality. Her blog header alone is worth a visit, but I'm sure you'll find many more things to do while visiting there.
If you're looking for a way to get your family off the couch, you won't want to miss Family in Shape. The Spin Diva brings healthy tips in every post she writes. Her ideas are simple, effective and inspiring. You might be surprised to find out that English is her second language, because you would never know it.
She-Parent will give you something to cry about. No seriously. If you're looking for a way to lay down the law with your kids and want a role-model, look no further. She may sound a bit harsh at times, but she certainly loves her kids, and will give you a laugh or two along the way. She has totally put the meaning back in "Because I said so."
Renovation Girl writes straight from the heart as she tells her tale of renovating a beautiful old home and her heart as well. Here you'll find hysterical posts about her son and his "control handle" along with heart-wrenching tales of secondary infertility.
For more information on how you can become a Black Belt Blogger alumni, see the sidebar. We don't even require you to do snap kicks. Congrats to all of our alumni and best of luck on the journey to tell your story!