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Become a Playful Blogger and Inject Some Energy into Your Blogging

Posted By Darren Rowse 25th of August 2010 Video Posts 133

Is your blogging getting a little dry? Perhaps it is time to become a bit more playful as a blogger.

One of the things that I’ve learned over the years is that the more I ‘play’ and experiment with my blog the more I learn that helps me to make my blog better.

Experimentation helps you not only learn what works in the blogging medium – but also what works with your audience.

Notes

Become a Playful Blogger Transcript

I’ve had this video transcribed below for those who prefer to get it that way. The transcription provided by The Transcription People.

Today I want to talk about being playful. I’m standing in front of some of the artwork that my four year old has done at Kindergarten. It’s been interesting to watch the progression of his artistry over the last couple of years. He’s a very artistic, creative little guy and he loves to paint and he loves to make things and he loves to basically create stuff.

But, the development in the quality and intricacy of his work has been fascinating to watch over the last few years.

What I’ve noticed is that the more he does it, and the more he experiments with different mediums and different ways of holding a brush and using his fingers and different types of paints and cutting up stuff and sticking them on, the more he experiments, the more he learns and the more he develops.

I think this is really true for blogging as well.

One of the things that I’ve learnt over the years is that the more I try and use stuff, the more I discover what works and what doesn’t work for me in my style, but also for my readers, for blogging and the medium itself.

So, I’d like to ask you today:

  • how have you played on your blog?
  • How have you experimented?
  • What have you tried?
  • What has worked and what hasn’t worked?

I’d like this to be a discussion. For me, I’ve tried lots of different styles of writing over the years.

For example, I’ve done a few rants on my blogs. I discovered that, you know, me ranting doesn’t really work. Occasionally it does because, I guess I really believe in what I’m ranting about, but as a rule, ranting doesn’t really work for me.

I’ve also tried writing in the third person at times that sometimes has actually worked for me. It’s had a real impact upon people.

I’ve also found asking questions like this video post itself works for me.

It’s just about experimenting with different ways of communicating. With using images, with your design, it translates across your blog in lots of different ways.

So, what have you played with on your blog? How have you been a bit playful? How have you experimented? What have you learnt? What has worked for you in your style and what doesn’t work for you in your style?

I’d love to hear your comments in the comments below this video.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Comments
  1. Darren,

    Playful definitely works. I write a blog about aging, so there’s a lot about scary stuff, like Alzheimer’s Disease, and how we don’t know what causes it or how to diagnose it for certain or how to treat it.

    So awhile back for a change of pace, I wrote a humorous post, called “Three Unmistakeable Signs that You’re Turning into a Little Old Lady.” It was a big hit and a lot of fun to write.

    I think video posts are great and want to give that a try.

  2. Without a doubt, my most playful post was “Riddle Me This Batman!”

    http://betweenthepagesblog.typepad.com/between-the-pages-blog/2010/06/riddle-me-this-batman.html

    It was mentioned by Comic Book Resources and had over two thousand hits over one weekend. I think it ranks 5th in my most visited posts.

    This weekend I’ll be releasing a “playful” post which will be the first time I’ve ever embedded a audio file into a post. It’s about Popeye’s other source of super strength (i.e. not spinach).

  3. Hey Darren,

    As I consider myself a writer first and have a great interest in craft, I have done a fair bit of experimenting with my blogging. Personally, I trend to write in first person, because I feel most hones when I am writing. I see some of the best feedback from my readers when I present information-based articles about travel writing and the travel industry, because I am an expert in the subject of travel and travel writing. I think that confidence and know-how comes across to my readers.

    Nice subject.
    devin

  4. Being playful with my blogger has gotten good results especially with twitter. I find that when they see another side to you they appreciate the fact that your not always with the same theme. Thanks for the tip that sometimes we need to let go like a little child and let the rest follow.

  5. I have been blogging for sometimes on different niches and I believe certain things or playful acts work on certain niches.

    I have a celebrity blog where ranting and dissing work so well… I guess readers want to diss celebs and so when you start it for them, they go in with it.

    I have also just started a personal development and achieving success blog where I know the above tactics would not work since the target readers is far different…

    It is good to blog from your heart and attach all the playful nature hidden in you as a person. Letting readers know the real you from your writing is amazing.. After all, most of the info we blog about are already out there, the difference with you and the other blogger is the way you present your info..

    http://www.screwlife.com/

  6. Funnily enough I’ve been thinking about this – I’m going to Austria for two weeks in September so I’m going to rebrand the blog while I’m out there, with the masthead written in German instead of English, and with an alpine theme in the background. Hopefully it will make readers smile if nothing else :)

  7. I have a great time weaving in popular lines from my favorite movies. Weather its “Tommy Boy” or “Coming to America” visitors connect the quote with my message and get a good laugh.

    -Jeremy
    JeremyKSmith.com

  8. i would like to believe that my blog itself has been injected with energy and has been playful — from photos to blog lines, from page to page. here’s to a fun day! can i ask you this, ‘ Hi! Are you ok? ‘ :)

  9. Even though 90% of my readers probably only care about the pictures/video content on my blog (as they probably should on an inspiration blog…) I have tried recently to inject a bit of humor into the brief pieces of text I do write just because the previous owner was quite bland in his write ups and that is not my writing style. Rants wouldn’t really work for me, questioning readers maybe but I don’t have the most engaged audience unfortunately.

  10. I totally agree with you. I think skills/traits like creativity and having a free spirit are often undervalued. Creativity is especially useful. On one of my earlier blogs I use to have contests for my subscribers; however, these contests were not well received. I would just give something away in an effort to get more people to subscribe to my list. This did not work as well as I had thought it would. Actually now that I look back, it didn’t work at all lol. Some how or another I got this idea to make the contest more of ……..well a contest. Instead of giving something away (yawn….) I decided to make my subscribers/readers work for it. I ran a number of contests with varying degrees of difficulty. Obviously some were more popular then others. At times there would be the occasional reader/subscriber that wouldn’t agree with the winning entry, but hey you can’t make everyone happy now can you.All in all I would have to say that thinking a little outside the box really helped to change the experience of my subscribers and I am glad I did. Creativity is a tool that most people don’t think of when they try to improve something.

  11. I play with my blog on a daily basis (you never know what to expect when you get there)-

    but on the same hand, I re-arrange the furniture around the house constantly and one never knows each time they see me whether I will be a blond or a brunette.

    Life gets extremely stale very quickly. We get into routines for everything and then they only turn into ruts. Mix it up..!

    I try to keep things exciting and fresh on my site. I try not to bore people and there is plenty of ‘play and interaction’ beyond just allowing the reader to leave a comment.

    Just like with children you don’t see them playing the same thing over and over…they still have imaginations and anything is possible (till we adults tell them it is not).

  12. Interesting. My blog helps me clear my thoughts and clean my mind out. I don’t always get to do it either, need to step it up and write the posts that have been on my minds shelf.

  13. I made a sarcastic post called How to Make Straight F’s in college. I thought it was funny :/ didn’t go over to well but I’m glad I tried it!

  14. My blog is still in “infancy” so to speak. It’s a business blog so at first I tried to be very professional but I found people hitting my page and leaving really quick. I’ve noticed as I’ve eased up a bit I’m getting people to actually stop and read my blog.
    I also started putting in little factoids. Since my blog is about American Sign Language for babies I post a sign of the week but with it I put a little factoid…Like one of the signs was for Giraffe…and then I put interesting facts about how tall a Giraffe is and stuff like that. (I’m not sure if that’s very playful but that’s about how playful I’ve gotten so far). I’ve been wanting to do video as well of me signing but I haven’t gotten around to it yet….I think for my blog, it would be very helpful…since sign language is a VERY visual language :)

  15. Writing a very short post instead of none keeps readership. I normally write 1000 word articles. More something to think about and challenge the reader.

    Markus Trauernicht

  16. A playful stance was one of the musts when I started my blog, even if it was a bit against the grain… For example, I like to write short tales, and I put one of them now and then in my blog. I thought “it is not going to work, they’ll be the least read posts, I’ll look absurd, things in the internet don’t work that way, search engines do not appreciate metaphors”…
    But I kept doing it anyway, it was like my tribute to “old times literature”. To my surprise, I was congratulated warmly by one of my last stories, and I was told that it was funny and profound.
    So, my moral is: when you allow yourself the freedom to experiment, the results pay off. Thank you for taking the issue to debate, and for sharing the beautiful drawings of your kid. :)

  17. Being playful is something I do offline and this has motivated me to start doing it online. I have done very little video and I think this is what I am going to do more of. Any suggestions on what has worked for you?

    Thanks!
    Pierre

  18. I am so new to blogging. I have not tried anything experimental, yet. How can I be experimental on my blog? I would appreciate your suggestions.

  19. I would like to had video and a podcast to my blog, but I am not sure how to go about doing it. I am trying to learn how to edit video on my MAC with iMovie.

  20. Coincidentally Darren Hardy posted this on TweetDeck minutes after I posted my blog so….of course I had to read it!

    I am learning and evolving in blogville!
    Thanks for the insight!
    g

  21. Nice video, and wall : ) I think people likes when blogger has one style writing. This is the same like book Aghata Cristi or else what you like reading. If she change style, you don`t have that what you like in this author… then probably next time you don`t buy his/her book.

  22. Hi Darren,

    I used to create blog for the sake of making money online. While that is the ultimate aim, be sure to write your content in a fun manner and of course valuable to your readers. That way, your reader won’t feel like they been sold.

    Soon, your readers will see you as someone they can learn and look up to. Eventually, you can promote your offers to your reader and they gladly pay for it. Trust me, it works all the time. Ask darren.

    Thanks again for this nice post.

  23. Hi Darren,

    I am trying to do video since I see every blog is doing that. Eventhough I have no knowledge of creating videos, I will keep creating until I good at.

    Thanks.

  24. Hi Darren,

    When I started blogging, I wanted to practice my writing since my writing was bad. Now, I am okay with it. Since a few months back, I have been writing an pdf book to offer it to my reader. FREE of course. I want to build my list. Hopefully the list will grow in 100,000 thousands.

  25. I need that playfulness in my posts. Uptill now I have been writing in pretty much one style either a post of a list. I tried doing some slide show but the response was not that woh.. :S

  26. In my most recent blog post, I experimented with an “open letter” format, and titled my blog post “Dear universities, This is how you should use social media platforms for fundraising. Sincerely, Will.” For a number of reasons, this post had a tremendous readership spike, and I think one of the reasons was the playful format.

  27. Agree with this.

    I’ve had a blog since 2003, but am relatively new to the scene and looking at the blogs of other people. One thing I’ve noticed is that there is a lot of the same info going around. Personality-related things, such as this, will help to make you stand out from everybody else. In the end, that’s why I feel most people are reading one blog over another, since the info can be had almost anywhere. Most people, at least in my limited blogging experience, aren’t really that innovative when it comes to content, so what else do we have?

  28. Scott James says: 08/30/2010 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Darren- I love the message, and thanks for the reminder to be playful. I write a lot about seo, marketing, etc. and over the last week or two I started posting more pictures, just sharing images and making them be the message. It’s been really fun. Then I was over on Alexis Ohanian’s blog and saw that he did an entire response to someone in what he called “LOL cat photos.” And it worked. Again, thanks for the note, and love the pictures in the background.

  29. I think it’s important to be yourself with your blog and make it unique! It’s pointless doing what everyone else is doing! Be a bit different and make your blog stand out within your niche! – That’s the way you’ll get people coming back for more and subscribing to your feed :-)

  30. Sincerely, Will.” For a number of reasons, this post had a tremendous readership spike, and I think one of the reasons was the playful format.

  31. I couldn’t agree more! Yes, it’s important to give people great content that is relevant etc…but how would you keep them coming back if you don’t add some uniqueness, some fun and flair at times, keep it real, but make it fun.

  32. How about you hire me to rant for you? :-)

    I’m a fabulous ranter (is that a word?)

    What I’m bad at is raves. Considering that my subtitle is Ramblings, Reviews, Rants and Raves, that’s bad,

    Have you done an article about new bloggers and lack of self-confidence in writing? I’m afraid to apply for a job as a blogger because I’m afraid to be laughed out of the virtual room. :P

    ♥ Deanna ♥

  33. I love the message, and thanks for the reminder to be playful. I write a lot about seo, marketing, etc. and over the last week or two I started posting more pictures, just sharing images and making them be the message.

  34. @Deanna.. self-confidence is a mind trip. Just do it! Apply, throw yourself out there, and don’t let fear hold you back.. it’s likely you’ll surprise yourself once you do. :) Just my 2 cents, Sorry Darren, felt compelled to respond to that one! lol

  35. It’s really important for us to be a bit light-hearted and humorous on our blogs. Nobody will want to read our posts if we’re constantly complaining about something in our niche. Being a playful blogger lets our readers see the blogger behind the blog and so that might encourage them to engage with us as we’ll seem more approachable.

    For example just yesterday I posted a blog post (my most recent post) that was informational as well as a bit of a mocking post about a new video game and I had a reader respond to that and we had a talk about it on Twitter. That has never happened until now, when I was a bit playful with my blogging.

  36. I need to broaden my way, I write my blog. I like the idea of writing in third person. It seems that so often I lose myself in what I think my audience will "instead of trying something new that my audience may suffer even more.

  37. Hey Darren,

    I would like to ask you to write about a new site I’ve just found! I believe that it’s a new cornerstone of making money online ~ If you’re interested in seeing what it is, just take a look at the link below.

    http://www.fantaz.com?zbo=FAE5AC24ED3C466

    It is invite-only for the next 24 hours and the standard ZBO account (normally $99) will be free! Thanks for this awesome blog and hope to see you write about the site soon.

    – Johnny Parker

  38. Amen to that, brother. So true.

    Turns out blogging is a lot more enjoyable when you have fun with it too…

    H

  39. I’ve been considering doing some video posts. Just might have to try it to liven things up a bit. I try to write like it’s a letter to my best friend so usually use humor and I love pictures! Very few posts get on my blog without pictures with them. About ready for a header re-design also for a bit of freshness . . . now you’ve got me thinking :) Thanks for the post!

  40. Great topic. I’ve been trying a few new tricks by adding style guides to my fine art Web site. I’m creating (downloadable) inspiration boards that include combining stills in video w/voice over for a bit of liveliness.

    Recently, I added a few artists to round out the offerings but it seems people don’t want me to ‘outsiders’ and now I’m losing viewers. Ack!

    http://www.ecstewart.com/?page_id=2937

    If anyone visits, please leave comments, I would love to know if I’m headed in the right direction.

    Thanks! Lisa
    @ecstewart

  41. I often will write a post that is completely unrelated to the title of the post, bad SEO maybe, but still makes people say “WTF”. I also will sometimes totally change the subject of a post in mid-stream with no explanation as to why. I’ve been thinking about using some video but haven’t done so yet. I have a pretty wild sense of humor and I often just let it run…

  42. I like to play on my site all the time. Even when I’m being serious, I feel like it helps to inject some humor and silliness in to the subject. The world is already overloaded with seriousness. I like my content to be a break from all that worldly crap.

    When in doubt, make fun.

    http://www.slantlab.com/photography/as-opposed-to-the-other-kind/

  43. Excellent Video Post Darren!

    I totally agree that being more playful and energetic makes a huge difference. I have been to a number of seminars, some are short and dry, but the ones that are the best are playful, energetic and engage you fully as a person. The time flies by and it is possible to absorb so much more.

    I always have inserted something funny into my posts, but haven’t done so with video yet. Thanks for the idea!

  44. Just do some little experiments on your blog and tell the readers the result, usually they will get interested.

  45. I hear a similar message somewhere else about being personable/playful and the advice given was share personal info so you come across as a person, but not too much. The way to guage what was “too much” was if you would not be comfortable saying it out loud to 2 or 3 people you don’t know, then its probably not a good idea to write it online. Great post!

  46. I’m just starting my adventure in earning money from blogs and this is good advice. I’ll keep this post in mind while I work at earning some extra cash. Thanks.

  47. It’s really important for us to be a bit light-hearted and humorous on our blogs. thanxxxx

  48. thats really helpful

  49. In my opinion being a successful blogger is mostly about advertising expenditure and the presence in search engines. The website I am currently working on is a prime example as I have excellent content but minimal traffic and exposure in Google.

    I have done all the obvious SEO without much success, maybe I should pay for traffic.

    The good news is that the search term for my website “web exploits” appears fourth in Google search results.

    Some companies spend hundreds of thousands on Google add words, so I will have no chance.

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