The results were amazing; there were some fantastic articles what could have easily fit in Cosmo, Glamour, Men's Health, Maxim, Parenting, ect. Some were funny, some where highly serious. Most were at least good.
So, why were these articles so much better than their "normal" work? The pressure was off. By writing in this style they allowed themselves to enjoy writing; their playfulness was palpable.
Try this exercise with a topic you are writing about (or hoping to write about). Pick a magazine, copy the tone, and see what you can do. Explore with a mentor or writing buddy (or even here in the comment section) what happened for you.