How to Build Your Blog, Dungeon Master Style

If you’re a Dungeons & Dragons aficionado, and a blogger, too, have you ever noticed that both activities use a lot of the same skills? It may not seem like it as first glance, but there’s actually a lot of overlap in the two hobbies (besides their geekiness!). If you have the skills to build an epic D&D campaign, you definitely have what it takes to build a successful blog.

Still in doubt? Here’s why.

1. Setup & Atmosphere

Do your players know exactly how much work you put into preparing for each session? You could be poring over books and screens for hours each week just to prepare for a single session.

If you can set the right atmosphere in your D&D games, you can do so on your blog, too.

If you can set the right atmosphere in your D&D games, you can do so on your blog, too.

Same goes for blogging: running a blog takes a lot of behind-the-scenes work that your audience doesn’t often understand or appreciate.

Your players might not consciously notice, but you spend a lot of time setting up the proper atmosphere, in order to create a truly immersive experience for your players and help them get into character. You also want to make sure the area you’re playing is comfortable and empty of distractions, or your players won’t be able to focus.

On your blog, you also need to set the proper atmosphere, which takes some work behind the scenes. Your blog design needs to work properly without errors, and your posts need to be easy to read. Distracting fonts or a bad user interface makes it too difficult for your visitors to read and immerse themselves in your blog.

You also need to create the proper atmosphere within your gaming sessions, such as using spooky sound effects as you describe an evil lich’s lair so your players are properly creeped out, or playing some battle music with a strong beat to keep everyone’s adrenaline up during a long boss fight.

On your blog, you also need to create the proper mood and atmosphere by using a cohesive brand style. The colors, fonts, graphics, and even your writing tone and style are all part of setting the atmosphere of your blog. As a DM, you already know how to use each piece to support the mood and atmosphere you’re trying to create.

2. Telling a Story

As a DM, storytelling is one of your key strengths.

Buffer found that using storytelling increased a blog's readership by 300%

Buffer found that using storytelling increased a blog’s readership by 300%

You know how to create a great “hook” to pique the interest of your players and reel them into the rest of the story. You also know how to direct your story with a logical flow and progression that leads players through the story and keeps their interest piqued throughout. And you know how to design an amazingly climactic ending – one that rewards the players for all their work and neatly ties up all the loose story threads.

Each blog post you write should also be a great story. It should start off with a headline and a hook that grabs attention and reels in your readers.

Just like your campaign, your blog post needs a logical flow that leads readers from one idea (event) to the next.

And it needs a satisfying conclusion that rewards readers for sticking with you and ties up any loose ends.

Telling a story in your blog posts, instead of just laying out the facts, is a proven way to get more attention. Buffer found that adding an anecdote to the beginning of a blog post increased its readership by 300%!

And as a DM, you already have all the skills necessary to tell great stories with every blog post.

3. Recruiting Your Players

No matter how much time you spend preparing your story and creating the right setting, it won’t do any good if no one shows up to your game.

Perhaps one of the most important skills of a DM is getting your players to show up on time, prepared, and ready to play!

A lot of work goes into recruiting the right players and keeping them coming back week after week.

You know how to keep your players engaged and coming back for each session – and those skills translate nicely into keeping your blog readership engaged and coming back for more. You know how important it is to stay in touch between sessions, to organize dates and times and keep them coming back.

Building up a loyal audience is also one of the most important skills of blogging. Blogs need readers, just like games need players.

You can keep your readers engaged by:

4. Understanding Your Audience

As a Dungeon Master, you understand people and their motivations. You need to in order to create believable NPCs and villains, and to motivate your PCs and lead them in the right direction.

In blogging, it’s crucial to understand your audience. Since you understand people and their motivations so well, you can easily learn what topics and types of content your readers are looking for.

By understand your blog readership, you’ll be able to build your blog by creating exactly the content they’re looking for. You know what questions they have, so you can answer them. You know what keeps them returning to your blog, so you’ll keep doing the things that work. You know where they’re hanging out online, so you’ll know exactly which sites and social networks to market your blog on.

5. Mastering the Mechanics

You don't have to bury yourself in references once you've mastered the mechanics of gaming - or blogging.

You don’t have to bury yourself in references once you’ve mastered the mechanics of gaming – or blogging.

As DM, you’re the master and arbiter of the rules.

Sure, you could look up rules in the guide books at any time, but in order for each session to run smoothly, a good DM has a decent grasp of the technical concepts of the game without having to look up a rule every time a player asks “Can I roll to sneak up on the guard and tackle her?” or “How does poison work again?”

A good DM isn’t just a creative storyteller: they also understand the technical underpinnings of the game.

Just like DMing, blogging is about much more than creative writing – there are a lot of technical aspects as well.

You need to know how to use software like WordPress to create and maintain your website, and you should also understand the basics of SEO. You should know about web hosting and how to keep your blog updated and secure from hackers, and how to use plugins and themes to customize your site and add the functionality you need.

6. No Need to Reinvent the Wheel

As a skilled DM, you know how and when to create your own content from scratch – and when it’s better to save time and not to reinvent the wheel.

While you could design every monster, dungeon, NPC and more from scratch, why spend hours doing so when you could borrow from a pre-designed one or use a generator?
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when there’s so much great content out there.

Same goes for blogging. “Content curation” is today’s buzzword for it, but syndication and sharing has been around for much longer than the web.

On your blog, you can repurpose your own content by sharing it in different formats, such as publishing a book from your old blog posts. You can also keep your readers engaged by curating content from others, such as embedding relevant YouTube videos or infographics from other sources, quoting Tweets, or blogging link roundups.

Have Your Obscure Hobbies Helped You Grow Your Blog?

Have you found that DMing has given you other skills that helped with blogging? Or have your skills from another obscure hobby translated well into blogging? Share in the comments below!