One of the things that first attracted me to blogging was the creative genius that I saw at work in many of the blogs going around at that time.
There was an ‘anything goes’ type attitude among bloggers who were pushing the boundaries of what could be done on a blog. Of course I look back now and much of this past creativity has become quite normal now (for example I clearly remember seeing a blogger include a short video in a post a number of years back and thinking it was cutting edge).
Another thing I loved about blogging was the humor, irreverence and fun I saw happening on blogs. Bloggers were not constrained by the editorial process, policy and standards that journalists worked with and as a result some of the content that they produced was like writing I’d not seen before (note: I’m not saying that editorial processes, policy and standards of journalism are a bad thing – but that what I saw bloggers doing was markedly different to what I saw happening in mainstream media at that time).
Blogging was an exciting genre – we were cutting new ground as a community of bloggers.
Of course this tradition of pushing boundaries and expressing ourselves creatively lives on – in fact it’s a real feature of many successful blogs.
Be a Playful Blogger
In a presentation last year on principles of successful blogging – one of the points I made that tried to get at this pushing of the boundaries and new way of writing was titled – Be Playful.
Not every successful blog is ‘playful’ but many are. Whether it be in the experimentation with new mediums, tools and ideas, or whether it be in the type of content that they produce – almost anything goes when it comes to blogging.
In fact as I look back on the most memorable posts that I’ve published on my blogs it is often the ‘playful’ ones that stick out. A few examples:
- 5 Things You Should Know about My Dad the ProBlogger (I wrote this post in the voice of my 2 year old son – the voice seemed to capture the imagination of readers)
- How to Reduce Camera Shake – 6 Techniques (the pictures in this post where the author scribbled over her butt and asked readers to ignore it (by drawing attention to it) went over so well with readers. The post went viral on Digg and many other sites.
- Does My Butt Look Big in This? – What Clothes to Wear in Portraits (the title of this one drew in a HEAP of visitors)
A few quick starting points for being playful
There are many ways to ‘be playful’ on a blog but a few starting points include:
- Experiment with your voice – it is often not ‘what’ you say but ‘how’ you say it that grabs people’s attention.
- Humor – careful use of humor can really make an impact upon readers.
- Surprise – much of what I’m trying to get at with this post is to allow yourself to do things a little different with your blog – things that surprise your readers will make them stop in their tracks a little and take a second look at what you’re doing.
- Fun Projects – pretty much any project that allows your readers to do something fun and interactive would fit into this category. On DPS this would include our Weekend Photography Challenges where we ask readers to submit an image on a theme each weekend or here on ProBlogger it’d include our group writing projects over the years. These projects are largely about fun, interacting with others and a little self promotion for readers.
How have you been playful on your blog?
Being playful is not something you can make a definitive list of how to do. Playful blogging comes in all shapes and sizes so I’d love to hear how you’ve done it on your blog (or how you’ve seen others do it). Please feel free to share a link below to your examples!
PS: playful blogging is also fun and can help you to get through tough patches where you feel like giving it.