how to get into video game journalism

How to Get into (and Get Out of) Video Game Journalism: My Definitive Guide

Posted 10 CommentsPosted in Career, Journalism, Video Games

In my experience, ‘how to get into video game journalism’ is a loaded question. It’s long been said that video game journalism is becoming increasingly irrelevant. While there is some truth to that, it is also true that the money just isn’t there anymore. No longer are we in the days where IGN or Gamespot are setting the cultural conversation around video games online, and writing about games is less relevant than it ever has been. In fact, it’s mostly dominated by listicles and unconvincing reviews now, although there are some gems still out there.

Still, I do think that figuring out how to get into video game journalism is still valid, although its difficult to make a full-time income. As I’ve identified in the past, video game journalism is a great proving ground to build up experience to work in marketing and PR. However, expecting to break into video game journalism, let alone journalism at all, in 2017, is a difficult feat.

With that said, here is my take on how to get into video game journalism, and what I did to break away from it and use my experience in it to move on to other career endeavors.

Start Writing as Early as Possible

how to get into video game journalism

I always joke that I really started my writing career in 5th grade, when I would fall asleep in class. My teacher at the time, Mr. Klinger, would always ask me if I was asleep in ‘Dannyville’ (yes I went by Danny at that time, it was horrible). Instead of trying to prove him wrong, I turned Dannyville into a fictional universe and figured out how to turn my inherent laziness (and then-undiagnosed sleeping disorder) into something productive.

Still, I found writing about where my brain went when I fell asleep in class wasn’t exactly scratching the writing itch for me. It took a few more years, but in high school I started writing for the school newspaper, eventually becoming Opinions Editor and directing coverage such as ‘Why I Hate Math,’ general indictments against the school board and the occasional game review and film review. Ultimately, this experience helped get me more into writing, and fueled my desire to pursue writing as a full-time career. From college forward I asked the question of how to get into video game journalism to myself in a pretty serious way.

Write for Independent Video Game Sites

how to get into video game journalism

As soon as I started college, I started molding myself into a fledgling video game journalism. For 4 years (minus the year I studied abroad, although I was writing for USA Today then) I wrote about games online, starting for tiny little outlets and eventually working my way up to independently recognized ones. In fact, I was writing for so many outlets at low pay or sometimes no pay that I would often go to press events for major companies in NYC and have to consult with all of my editors, figuring out which one I would be covering the event for. While this was a great ego boost in college, it didn’t help me financially as much as I had hoped. After graduating, I did brief stints at Heavy and Complex, and then got a legitimate offer as the Editor in Chief of Indie Game Magazine, which was gratifying.

Unfortunately this was right around the time the infamous scandal that sunk Indie Game Magazine broke. The one where they charged for reviews. That didn’t help things, and ethically I didn’t want to be involved with a company like that, so I decided to go it alone with a colleague and create our own video game site. It went better than you would think.

Consider Starting Your Own Video Game Blog

how to get into video game journalismArguably my most successful venture as a video game journalism was co-creating the site Continue Play. I managed the strategy, recruited much of the editorial team, and created some of my best writing on video games to date. At its peak, we were able to  get around 70k monthly traffic and were rivaling some of the other big independent sites. For a while there, it seemed like this might be going somewhere, but as the story goes, initial success was our own undoing.

It really is telling that anyone with a WordPress site and the skill to put together a volunteer team could make an industry blog and get into legit press events and interview some big names in the industry. Due to personality clashes (some of which have since been reconciled), the site ultimately failed, and so did my efforts in video game journalism.


Remember There Isn’t a Lot of Opportunity in Journalism

how to get into games journalism

Now that I am no longer a journalist in any meaningful sense I can tell you that tempered positive coverage for free stuff is definitely encouraged, and this is not just true of video game journalism, but in all fields of journalism that need sponsorship to stay afloat. Even sites with independent bases of revenue tend to focus on product coverage, although not as frequently outside of sponsored content.

Still, it’s important to note that there is a reason that a lot of journalists have turned to marketing. For example, I used to work at a larger tech publication, and of the three editors I worked with, two moved on to marketing positions. It’s not because they lack integrity but it’s because journalists with years of experience and great skill sets just can’t make real money anymore.

For example, if you go to the games journalism job board, they are almost all volunteer or low-pay positions, even at the higher level. Again, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to be a video game journalist. You just need to be realistic. Ultimately, I found personally that the best thing for my mental health was to get out of video game journalism and start anew, and keep my creative endeavors (such as comics and screenplays) wholly separate from my day job, which is as a PR Manager for an SEO company.

Well, that’s my story of being a video games journalist. I certainly don’t regret spending a lot of time figuring out how to get into video game journalism, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I hope my definitive guide serves you well to understand how video game journalism works, and where the future of the industry is headed.


internet regulation FCC

How The Principles Of Net Neutrality Should be Applied

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in Internet

For me, this seems to be the week to talk about internet regulation and privacy. Aside for the current ‘war’ going on in Syria, this seems to be one of the more pressing issues facing us right now, and it doesn’t seem that major internet companies are stepping up to the plate. For example, Netflix has said they are large enough now they don’t care to protect net neutrality.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says he’s “not too worried” about what will happen if new FCC chairman Ajit Pai eliminates the Title II regulations that have guaranteed a neutral internet experience for US consumers in recent years.

Speaking to a group of journalists at Netflix’s headquarters in Los Gatos, California, earlier today, Hastings said he believes “the culture around net neutrality is very strong. So even if the formal framework gets weakened,” he continued, “we don’t see a big risk actualizing, because consumers know they’re entitled to getting all of the web services.

What Hastings is talking about is the idea that people won’t accept their precious Netflix being slowed down by ISP’s. Or really any form of internet TV that is being subject to internet regulation. Internet is more or less treated like a utility now, much like water and electric, so unlike in Europe, where my internet is regularly throttled for data use, we know that this is culturally unacceptable in the US to do this.

With that being said, what Ajit Pai is proposing doesn’t seem to be a fundamentally taking away of internet regulation. In fact, net neutrality doesn’t have a whole lot to do with privacy in the first place. Despite tech websites freaking out about this, it might not be as bad as we think and might even allow for broader competition instead of incentivizing ISP’s to collude with each other for territory.

Firstly, it does seem like regulating ISP’s in the same way that we regulate internet services companies doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, which is why Netflix is saying what they are saying in the first place. Despite both using the Internet as a medium, Netflix and Verizon ultimately don’t have that much in common as businesses, and probably should be governed by different rules. Obviously ISP’s should not be allowed to impair or degrade access to content and services, and it seems like Pai wants force ISP’s to write into their contacts that they won’t do this as a form of internet regulation.

Will this work? It could, but we don’t have the answers to that yet. But it it worth recognizing that Aijit Pai, an Obama-era appointee (although he is Republican), has said that he is committed to the principles of a free an open Internet. I would imagine none of us reading this are fundamentally against the idea of net neutrality, but what it seems to me is that monopolistic ISP’s that collude with each other are the real problem, as they are not going to create better service if they are the only one’s in a given area.

This is why, on a fundamental level, I’m not against Pai trying to move internet regulation back to the FTC, who can hold ISP’s accountable on the grounds of trade, and not communication. However, we do need to keep in mind that when the FCC withdraws the Title II rules that are meant to regulate large conglomerates, it also surrenders the ability to regulate how traffic data is allocated and allows ISP’s to act in their own interest before the public’s.

This seems to be to be the big problem we’re running into. And while it doesn’t seem like Pai’s proposal necessarily answers that question, it does seem to me that the point of internet regulation is to create competition in the ISP’s you can use in your area, not to help large ISP’s break up territory like this was the Berlin Conference.






Internet privacy donald trump

Internet Privacy Debate: What Privacy Means in 2017

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Internet

By now it is likely that you have read about the Internet privacy bill that Donald Trump just signed into law. Despite Obama signing a bill later into his term to curb Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) from collecting your data, this policy has not actually gone into effect. In essence, nothing is actually changing.

But now, Congress and the Executive branch have allowed the practice of data collection from ISP’s to continue. Think of it this way. You don’t pay Google or Facebook any money. You use their product and in exchange we agree they advertise to you. Can you say that about your ISP, who will now sell your information on to other advertising agencies?

Now you’re paying for a service, and being using as a resource as well. Do you think that’s fair and competitive? Probably not, but there’s not a lot we can do about it right now. In fact, it’s pretty analogous to a company you bought a microwave from to collecting your data on what food you prepare and selling that data to food companies to advertise to you.

Pretty shitty, right? Well, there’s a few things you can do both in practice and in mentality to help make way less bad.

Protect Internet Privacy With a VPN

vpn for internet privacy

It goes without saying that a good VPN (virtual private network) will go a long way in scrambling your IP address. This will make it way harder for ISP’s to track what you are looking up and can also make you appear like you are in a different country. I personally use Zenmate (and have been for years) because I like being able to set my browsing country.

This is especially helpful living in Europe if I want to watch American Netflix or use American Google, but it also is useful to reduce your internet footprint. A VPN isn’t going to solve all your problems, but it will go a long way in making your data less available to ISP’s and should always be used when browsing.

Understand That Advertising is Fundamentally Ridiculous

advertising is stupid

See this stock photo? It has Vince Vaughn and Dave Franco in it and was made to promote the movie Unfinished Business. It’s also really stupid. That’s kind of the point.

Advertising is also really stupid. In fact, millennials barely even respond to advertising. Maybe it’s because we’re broke and have college loans, or maybe it’s because we just aren’t as big of consumers, but the ‘social media generation’ already implicitly knows most of the tactics of advertising. From touching up photos on Instagram to our curated experiences on Facebook and Netflix, we’re all pretty much aware how advertising works anyway.

Instead of getting mad about being advertised to, it’s better to just understand that it’s fundamentally absurd. If social media has taught us anything, it’s that we want more authenticity in the products we actually buy.

Search For Dumb Things To Throw ISPs Off

dumb internet searches

This is actually my favorite tactic. It’s also way more apparent because of the nature of my marketing work. I often find professional searches I’ve made and websites of clients that I’ve crawled end up as Facebook ads on my Facebook feed. Of course, I have no consumer Internet in virtual data rooms or on-brand document creation, so its just amusing to me to see these come up.

I’ll also occasionally throw in an occasional weird search term like ‘How to murder a baby and get away with it’ (it’s 2017, we’re really doing dead baby jokes?) and see what products are advertised to me just for fun. Just look at it like a game. For example, if your actual interest is video games, search for pet products or visit pet-related websites instead, and see yourself get advertised pet products instead. You probably won’t buy these (especially if you don’t own a pet) and it will be a nice distraction from ads that might actually work on you.

At the end of the day, it’s pretty transparent how ISP’s have been using your data. While there’s nothing we can do to get it back (as we aren’t the EU and don’t get to have nice things like healthcare) you can make sure you’re aware of what you can do to curb its influence.

As Granddad from the Boondocks said, “What do you do when you can’t do nothing, but there’s nothing you can do? You do what you can?”

Marvel sucks

Is Marvel Right To Call out Diversity for Its Failures?

Posted 10 CommentsPosted in Comic Books

Marvel sales did an abrupt about-face over the weekend. On the same day that Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso was profiled in Fortune for championing diversity in comics, Marvel sales VP David Gabriel decided to blame diversity for Marvel’s flagging sales numbers. In regards to diversity, Gabriel had the following to say.

What we heard was that people didn’t want any more diversity. They didn’t want female characters out there. That’s what we heard, whether we believe that or not. I don’t know that that’s really true, but that’s what we saw in sales. We saw the sales of any character that was diverse, any character that was new, our female characters, anything that was not a core Marvel character, people were turning their nose up against. That was difficult for us because we had a lot of fresh, new, exciting ideas that we were trying to get out and nothing new really worked.

Gabriel later walked back his comments on Marvel sales, clarifying that  Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Gwen, and Moon Girl are all popular characters. Still, this reeks to me. It feels very similar to DC You, where DC attempted to do diversity in comics and then pulled out less than a year later.

It seems to me that Marvel sales wants the pat on the back and to be able to tout their diversity to mainstream media without actually committing to pushing unknown characters and giving them time to grow. This already seems to have been confirmed, as Marvel just announced the Marvel Generations crossover that will bring back all the legacy characters that have been incapacitated recently, such as Hulk, Wolverine, and Iron Man.

As a comic writer (but not a big comic reader) I find this pretty amusing. Marvel sales needs to do what it needs to do, but it seems that a sales executive commenting on the viability of a PR initiative is a stupid move that makes Marvel look like its unwilling to put its money where its mouth is.

That being said, the demographics of comic book readers suggest that men and women are relatively equal in reading comics. Maybe instead of tokenizing diversity, Marvel needs to do a better job in telling complete stories and not running crossovers every sales quarter. If they were to focus on creating fully-realized characters who aren’t beholden to Marvel sales, then maybe they will see readership go up. This happened with previous series that told great stories like Hawkeye and Vision, and I don’t see why it can’t continue to happen.

Marvel sales

marco rubio short

Obamacare Repeal: Marco Rubio’s October Surprise

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Politics

Well all remember when future president Donald Trump destroyed Marco Rubio with the nickname ‘Little Marco.’ Since then, Marco Rubio has more or less been a laughingstock among liberals and conservatives alike, and has mostly lost his prominence as a Republican figure.

But that may be misguided. This article on Slate details how Marco Rubio guided a 2015 spending bill to gut the healthcare marketplace. I only entered the insurance marketplace late last year, but was shocked to see even my employer sponsored healthcare come with an over $6k deductible. This is something I will never meet, bar an act of God. But according to this article, that sharp increase in deductibles was created by design, and was not an accident or consequence of healthcare reform.

It turns out that Marco Rubio and his Republican helpers guided this legislation by gutting what is called the ‘risk corridors’ under Obamacare. This was a tax incentive to reimburse insurance companies through taxpayer dollars for taking on an initial batch of sick people who previously did not qualify for insurance. But Little Marco in all his insight decided to cull this reimbursement through a massive $2.5 billion tax cut. He then helped pass the cost on to insurance companies who were acting in good faith, which is what caused the deductibles and premiums to skyrocket in early 2016. This was bound to happen, as insurance companies and ‘good faith’ should generally not be used in the same sentence.

While Paul Ryan has an obvious misunderstanding of how healthcare works, insurance companies generally make their money off healthy (or uninjured people), who more or less pay for the sick people whose costs can rack up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. But by design, it turns out, healthcare reform was destined to fail. While it might seem that Republicans will move on to other legislative matters now, I would expect another healthcare ‘repeal and replace’ bill to come out soon, presumably one that doesn’t take healthcare away from 25 million Americans.

Still, it’s fascinating to see that things that border on conspiracy theory actually have taken place in the public record. Marco Rubio may not have realized what he was doing, and may have just seen that as a tax cut, but there is more than just a strong correlation here. There’s a causation that defunding the ‘risk corridor’ of Obamacare would cause insurers to pull out of the healthcare marketplace. And if that doesn’t piss you off, then I don’t know what will.

traveling to the third world

Traveling to the Third World: What to Expect and Prepare For

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Travel

 Although the term ‘third world’ is often disputed as a racist term, as it “obscures all parts of a country’s culture apart from those which are to be pitied or improved,” it is more or less the best popular nomenclature we have right now.  To describe the disparity between economic and political climates of countries halfway across the world from each other is difficult, as they don’t necessarily have the same goals or values and might not think of themselves as developing nations in the way that the West does. That being said, Westerners traveling to the third world are likely to have certain expectations about what may or may not be available. As someone who has done quite a bit of traveling , here are my recommendations for setting up your expectations when traveling to the third world.

You Can’t Drink the Water and You Might Get Sick

traveler's diarrhea

If you’ve ever planned a trip to Mexico, you’ve likely heard vague warning of Monetzuma’s Revenge (yes, the tourist version is misspelled) which refers to Moctezuma II, the ruler of the Aztec civilization. He was slaughtered and his people obliterated by Hernán Cortés, the infamous Spanish conquistador. As the story goes, the ghost of Moctezuma II is responsible for interlopers in Mexico getting the stomach flu as a petty form of revenge.

What this story really refers to is traveler’s diarrhea, which is very real, and which on my return trip from Morocco have contracted a minor case of. This is usually caused by E.Coli that your body may not be used to, and can easily be contracted from water or street food. If you see anything questionable, it’s best not to eat or drink it, or traveling to the third world will not be something you want to repeat.

You Don’t Have Absolute Freedom of Movement

In most Western nations you expect that you can go anywhere you want. You may not want to visit most of the country you live in, but you are not restricted from doing so. That’s not the case when traveling to the third world, as governments tend to be a bit more authoritarian and have closed off certain non-essential obscure areas to tourism.

For example, on a recent trip to Egypt Alex and I attempted to go to Al Menya. For context, Al Menya is the ancient (and brief) capital city that Akhenaton established when he unsuccessfully attempted to convert ancient Egyptians to monotheism. For anyone who knows me, I am a little obsessed with Akehnaten and he is one on the principal subjects of my upcoming graphic novel, so I was excited by the prospect to see such sites as the Tomb of Ay.

However, as we asked around how to get there, Egyptian nationals were shocked we wanted to go there in the first place, and we ultimately found out that if we were to have gone, we would have been immediately detained without an approved guide. While I was disappointed that we did not get to see those sites, it is a more obscure region and when traveling to the third world you can’t expect that areas not explicitly geared toward tourism will be open to you.

Minor Amenities Are Not Guaranteed

toilet paper

Toilet paper. Soap. Bath towels. Reliable internet. One would expect all of these amenities at any hotel in the United States or even a hostel in Western Europe (although you may have to pay extra for some of these). But depending on where you are staying, you might not have immediate or even any access to these types of amenities. There’s only so much you can do to prepare for this, like bringing your own roll of toilet paper and an extra bar of soap, but adjusting your expectations when traveling to the third world will go a long way in ensuring that you enjoy the experience for what it is, not despite it.

There Are ‘Hidden Costs’ Everywhere


It might seem like you will get a huge bargain when traveling to the ‘third world,’ but this is not always the case.  Because capitalism is a relatively new system in these countries, many enterprising people will try to rip you off or will not be upfront with costs. Sometimes you might even be aware this is happening but have no other option. Still, you need to make sure that you are prepared to spend a bit more than the costs are on paper. Fees will often be tacked on to activities that were not clear or upfront when you booked them. This has actually happened almost every time that I’ve gone traveling to the third world.

Rather than get angry about this, I usually take it in stride, and understand the economic disparity between myself and the people in the country I’m visiting. That’s not to say I have the coin to start giving away money, far from it, but I can afford to understand that this is the reality of the situation. If you cannot or will not do this, I don’t recommend that you start traveling to the third world anytime soon.

Still, traveling to the third world can open you p to some amazing cultures and enriching experiences. This will not only give you perspective, but allow you to see some of the great sites of the world, including the Luxor Temple in Egypt, Tikal in Guatemala and Angkor Wat in Cambodia, all of which I’ve visited recently Keep all of this in mind when traveling to the third world and you’ll be sure to have a great time.





death of journalism

Teaching and Journalism: How Both Became Undervalued

Posted 6 CommentsPosted in Journalism

In my previous post, I discussed why I moved away from video game journalism after graduating college. But more broadly, I also moved away from journalism in its entirety (although I still do the occasional freelance piece). Actually, this effort in writing and regularly updating my blog is largely an extension of me wanting to continue to publish writing online on my own platform, but there is a reason that I and so many others have moved away from journalism as a legitimate and profitable career.

Coming from a journalism family (my father is a journalist) I always assumed that would also be my path after college. Like an Earnest Hemingway or Hunter S. Thompson, I’d write creatively and also go on assignments for magazines and newspapers, except in this era they’d be digital. But as I neared graduation of college, that path seemed increasingly unlikely. Despite having the credentials, I was mostly only able to land gigs writing ‘viral’ style content after college, and like a virus, these pieces of meme-able and GIF-able bite-sized articles felt like what the new journalism was, at least to me.

It would be one thing if these paid a meaningful amount of money, but in reality I was making more in my brief stint as a security guard than anything that the digital publications were willing to pay at that time. Even then, a standard piece for a mid-level digital publication pays $75, a pittance when you consider the hours of revision and editing that need to be followed.


Teaching and Journalism Have a Lot in Common

clone high joan of arc

Fundamentally, what this represented to me was a shift, not just a cultural one but an economic one. Of the industries to initially be affected by the digital boom and subsequently the economic recession of the late 2000’s, journalism is one of the biggest examples. Like teaching, journalism is quickly becoming an unrepresented profession. The pay does not attract the best minds, but only those who both believe in the kind of work they are doing and can afford to or are willing to take a lower pay rate than most other professions provide at similar levels of experience.

But what is really fundamentally similar about teaching and journalism is that they are both services that the majority of us don’t pay for anymore. While you can send your kids to private schools or subscribe to high-end magazines, the majority of us neither pay for education (at least before college) or for the stories we consume online. This leads to an undervaluing of the profession in general. That’s not to say that we ought to start paying for either service in the near future, as the cultural shift has already occurred, although journalism is definitely suffering greatly in the process. But we need to recognize that failing to do so erodes innovation in both industries and means that on the whole we won’t have the best and brightest taking over the mantle from the aged veterans of teaching and journalism.


There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Noble’ Profession

French nobles

At the end of the day, we all work because we have to make a living. The current economic realities of our system require us to all work, and the top talent usually goes elsewhere when the money dries up. That’s not to say that the future generations of teachers and journalists will all be mediocre. In fact, I’m sure plenty of great teachers and journalists are still yet to come.

But as long as we look at both as undervalued and condescendingly think of them as ‘noble’ professions, then we won’t make teaching and journalism viable industries for people to go into. And if both the dissemination of information into young minds and into everyday citizens continues to be devalued, then it’s not too long until future generations are unable to see any value in these professions at all.

ethics in video game journalism

Ethics in Video Game Journalism: Why I Don’t Write About Games Anymore

Posted 7 CommentsPosted in Career, Journalism, Video Games

At one point, I was known (at least in certain circles) about being in video game journalism. In the past, I wrote for many independent video game sites, including Dualshockers, Platform Nation, Buzzfocus (RIP) and so many others that there are too many too name.

I also was a founding member and Deputy Editor of the video game blog, Continue Play and briefly, the Editor-in-Chief of the now defunct Indie Game Magazine. My crowning achievements were being featured on Game Journalists are Incompetent Fuckwits and a piece on Unwinnable where I likened getting arrested and manhandled by police officers to the Imperial guards in Elders Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

All in all, while I didn’t have any mainstream success in video game journalism, I did write well over a thousand articles and probably over a hundred reviews and features.

While all that sounds impressive, it probably actually isn’t. The vast majority of that was done in college, when I felt like I was setting myself up for a post-college career that started to not really exist the closer I got to graduating. That being said, here are some of the reasons that I am no longer a video game journalist and now pursue other avenues of writing and creating.

There is Very Little Money In Video Game Journalism

no money in writing

No one ever gets into writing for the money, but even less people get into video game journalism for the money. More people get in it for the free games, the press events and the free games (again) than you would think. But with the rise of digital journalism, reviews and think-pieces on games are way less meaningful than they used to be. When someone with a laptop and enough money to maintain a WordPress site (like me) can call themselves a video game journalist, the name starts to lose meaning.

There are still established sites, but even those at IGN or Polygon are paid a pittance in comparison to those on the PR side of things, or even what I make now. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to join them, but you don’t have to be them either.

I Have Other Things I Want To Write About

Video games are not as big a part of my life as they once were. I still have a PS4 and a gaming PC, and find myself regularly playing Hearthstone, but I’m not the gamer that I once was. Video game journalism was actually a big part of what started to turn me off to gaming in the first place. Putting those expectations on me just made me enjoy gaming less.

Now I travel and read more, and while those were also activities I enjoyed in the past, I am now more empowered to indulge in them more in young adulthood. Games haven’t gone by the wayside at all, there are just other things that interest me more now, especially in my writing.

“Actually it’s about Ethics in Video Game Journalism”

ethics in video game journalism terrorists

Well, maybe not entirely. But after GamerGate, I realized that there is a lot of toxicity in the gaming community and mostly stopped associating myself with video game journalism. That’s not to say I didn’t write about games at all after GamerGate. I certainty did. But I just didn’t have the same passion it that I used to. There was something a bit lost for me.

And once it occurred to me that it wasn’t writing, it just writing about games that kind of dulled my interest in writing, I stopped soon after. That doesn’t mean that I still don’t read video game journalism or don’t think that its existence is vital. It just means that I don’t write about games anymore.

And that’s ok. Ultimately, being a video game journalist in college and after graduating did allow me to build up my writing portfolio, write for some mainstream outlets outside of video game journalism, and actually start to value my work and charge and receive legitimate rates for my writing in other industries. As a writer and digital marketer, I needed to start somewhere, and video game journalism was a great proving ground for me to build up the professional experience I needed to succeed with my job in PR management for an SEO company and in comic book and screenwriting.

bigly marketing blog

Marketing a Blog: How To Stand Out From The Crowd

Posted 11 CommentsPosted in Internet, Marketing

It may seem obvious that the best way to keep up a blog like this is to Just. Keep. Writing.

But getting tens of readers is not always great motivation to keep up. In fact, I already broke my mental promise to myself to keep up this blog at a rate of twice a week.

Since missing a post for a week, I found that my traffic plummeted from tens of views a days to ones of views a day. The joke is, I work in marketing, more specifically, I work in SEO.

Because of this background I actually do know how to promote these types of posts and bring traffic to a website. With that in mind, here are some quick tips I can give you to promote a blog that is meant to market or promote a product, service, or service provider.

Check the SEO of your Marketing Blog Whether You’re Naughty Or Nice

The most important thing you can do is if, like me, you’re a bit too lazy to write a blog post three times a week, is optimize all the SEO content within every post that you make. I haven’t yet done this for all the pages on my site, but I have at least made a serious attempt at doing so on all three of my blog posts so far.

The easiest way to do this is you aren’t an SEO expert (I’m far from one myself) is to set up an SEO plugin on your marketing blog. The one I use is Yoast and I’ve found that it helps greatly with selecting the proper meta titles, the proper amount of content and even the readability of you writing. If you’re at a lot to how to do this, the recommendations from this plugin are a great place to start.

Research Those Keywords Like You Mean It

There’s nothing worse than a poorly researched keyword. Actually, there are a few things worse than that, but they aren’t worth mentioning in this article. But if you don’t know what you’re trying to promote your marketing blog for, then it probably won’t take off at all.

The best way to find out what keywords to write about is do a little research on what the layman is actually searching for. A lot of SEOs think that if searching for a product, people will search directly for that product.

But the reality is is that people are usually using the Internet is to find solutions for their problems (or porn, at least according to Avenue Q). For example, if someone is suffering from heat stroke, it is unlikely that they are going to be searching for a product. Instead, they will probably search for “how to get rid of heat stroke?” This is why long tail keywords are becoming more important in both SEO and marketing.

Write What You Might Want to Read

“A writer is someone who writes.” That’s what my writing mentor at Sarah Lawrence taught me. But to take it a step further, a writer is also someone who reads the type of content that they write. If you’re a fantasy novel writer, it’s unlikely that you’ve never picked up Lord of the Rings, or at least a fantasy novel that is derivative of it.

Extend this philosophy to marketing a blog and you’ll have tens of readers in no time. At the end of the day, it’s better to attract the type of readers that you want reading your content, no matter what type of writing you’re doing.

working remotely

Why Working From Home is a Blessing For Me and a Curse For Some

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in Career

According to a recent Gallup poll cited by the New York Times, “43 percent of employed Americans said they spent at least some time working remotely.” That, of course, does not mean that all people who do some remote work are working from home all the time. Or that remote work is even the right choice for all people or for all industries.


What it does mean is that remote work is becoming a growing trend, and there’s a reason for that. Besides for the obvious benefit to people like myself, such as the flexibility to work from wherever you want (in my case, Granada, Spain) and the ability to set your own schedule (within reason) there are some overlooked benefits and drawbacks as well which we’ll take a look at below.


Working from Your Pajamas Is More Productive


Freedom is a great thing. In fact, freedom is such a great thing that many employees are choosing it as a perk they want to see their companies offer.


It works out that employers save quite a bit this way too. Fast Company recently cited a study of the Chinese travel center Ctrip by Nicholas Bloom, professor of economics at Stanford University. He found that Ctrip was able to save $1,900 per employee over a nine month period, and also reported increased levels of employee satisfaction and productivity.


Of course, it’s easier to be productive when nobody is watching over your back constantly, and when the work that you are doing is more results-based and project-based it makes sense. That won’t work for every industry, but if you’re in an industry that values autonomy and individual contributions over collective action and thought, you’ll likely find yourself being more productive in a familiar and comfortable setting.


It Requires Self-Discipline


The flipside of working at home (or at least outside the office) is you actually have to work at home. This is harder for some than it is for others. In fact, every time I’m in my childhood home, my Jewish mother opines about how difficult it would be for her, “there’s just too many distractions.” Even the New Yorker recognized the difficulty of focusing while working home. In a recent humor column, a distraught home-based employee calls into 9-11 to report that “I . . . uh . . . I work from home.”


The key is to have somewhat of a routine. This doesn’t have to be such a rigid routine, like waking up at 6:45am and getting to the gym before 8am. No, all a routine needs to be is working from the same spot (ideally away from distractions like Netflix or video games) and using ‘keystone habits,’ which are correlated with other good habits. These don’t necessarily have a cause and effect relationship, but they are the kind of habits you need to build in order to work successfully. That still doesn’t mean you can’t write in your underwear though (which I never do).


There’s My Way or the Highway


Ultimately, there’s no best way to work remotely, but being put into a box never worked for anyone, especially if they are in a more strategic or creative industry. For some of us, our best thoughts come in the shower, at the gym or while running errands. Corporate culture, after all, never really changed with the adding of ping-pong tables or nap nooks.


But what works for one person may not work for another. The values that remote work culture mostly promotes are access and attitude on the behalf of employers to employees, and that can be accomplished both remotely and in an office by having all members of a company be present and available to each other and forming a less rigid hierarchical structure.