LARPing (short for Live Action Role Playing) is a niche hobby that has built a cult-like following around the world since its inception in the 1970’s.
LARPers dress up and act out their characters’ actions as part of a fictional setting that is represented by the real world, often portrayed in battle scenes with foam weapons (boffers) in fields, woods or public parks. While it’s seemingly unrelated to digital marketing, you might be surprised to know that the best practices for LARPing are also many of the same for blogging.
Behold: The 8 How-to steps for LARPing, courtesy of wikiHow, and their applications to blogging:
1. Find the right area for the LARPing to take place, such as a wooded area or field
Location, location, location. Know where your target audience spends time on the Web and work hard to get your blog posts syndicated on or linked to from those sites. If you get high quality posts in front of the right eyes, good things will happen.
2. Make sure your LARP has a story
No story? No, thanks. Every blog post must tell a story with a beginning, middle and end. Whether the post is for the purpose of informing or entertaining, a story structure is essential to keeping your audience on the hook and convincing them to come back for more.
3. Get a good group together—LARPing is a team activity
So is blogging. An effective blog utilizes your entire organization, not just the marketing team. Knowledge share is crucial to helping your customers, many of whom use your blog as an FAQ source. The more people you get involved in blogging, the greater variety of knowledge you can share with your audience and the more useful you will be to them.
4. Prepare your LARPing costumes, weapons and tools
Preparation is key. You may have the natural ability to win, but your blog won’t stand a chance if your posts don’t have the necessary assets to go viral. Do you include at least one graphic per post? Do you utilize calls-to-action at the end? Do your posts include links to related, helpful content? Do your conclusions promote discussion? Consider all of these factors before you post.
5. Make sure your LARP has rules set in place.
Rules are rules. Contributors to your blog must know what boundaries should not be crossed, as well as guidelines for best practices. These rules need to be laid out beforehand to ensure consistency and quality across your blog. Make sure that rules are clearly conveyed, but that they aren’t so stiff that they stifle creativity from your contributors.
6. Test your LARP out, see how it works, then go back and tweak pieces that need improvement.
Blogging is a learning process—don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Depending on your audience, it may take months to learn how to craft your messaging to be most useful to them.
7. Create your LARP character and its class, race, species, etc.
Define your unique identity. It’s critical for writers in the digital space to develop their own personal brands through blogging. With the increasing prevalence of Google Authorship, bloggers can now build loyalty, increase search rankings and improve click-through rates for themselves and their organizations.
8) If your LARP is successful with a small group, look to gather a larger group and expand.
The more, the merrier. It takes time for a blog to lift off, but once you have a formula that works it’s all about scaling. Leverage small successes by repeating those patterns to increase production. Explore new ways to get your content in front of new audiences. Also, start looking to bring in a steady stream of guest posts from partners who have knowledge and perspective that your audience will find valuable.
Today, LARPers and bloggers are not so different—they must employ many of the same best practices to be successful. Sure, blogging doesn’t involve swords made of PVC pipe or Styrofoam shields (yet), but the aspects of creativity, strategy and teamwork are essential nonetheless. Almost makes one wonder if the skill sets are transferable. And wouldn’t it be nice if we could dress up at work from time to time?