As was foretold, we've added advertisements to the forums! If you have questions, or if you encounter any bugs, please visit this thread: https://forums.penny-arcade.com/discussion/240191/forum-advertisement-faq-and-reports-thread/
Options

Holy crap! I Got A Job Writing About Games! What Do I Do?!

NikeemAsurNikeemAsur Registered User new member
edited November 2014 in Help / Advice Forum
PA, I recently got myself a part-time time job managing a growing community of largely teenage gamers. In much the same way PA was more-or-less my go-to community for all things gaming - and spurned on to finding the things I was passionate about in the world of interactive media, I figured I'd come here for advice.

The Background:
I've been hired to engage the users of a popular app. It's sort of like an online forum meets twitter meets Instagram I suppose. People post the games they have, games they like, random updates about their life - people like these posts, comment on them, share, etc etc. The 'idea' is three hours a day for me, writing 5-7 articles a day. Between engagement, replying to posts, research, playing the games popular with the community and all that - It's certainly far more, but I don't mind because I guess I've drank the Kool-aid. If I were this thing's target demo I'd love it.

There is one goal for all of this: Growth.

So here are my questions:

1. Is 5-7 'blog posts', plus all the other stuff I mentioned, in three hours...a lot?

I'm not very pretentious about writing, but if I hit the 7 article mark that's about an article and a half an hour. Again, I don't mind spending the time off the clock to get this stuff right and make it good, but just so I know, on average, is that a pretty standard 'ask' in the world of writing?

2. How important are review codes to growth.

The company that owns the app the community is on pretty cool - very tech startup. There's office dogs, cool art on the walls, and everyone is very chill and professional and easy going. Butttttt I'm unsure if they're familiar with the nuances of gaming culture. Don't get me wrong, everyone there loves games and I've had more great in-person conversations about gaming at this place than I have in my life, but I don't think anyone has really looked into the process of how gaming 'journalism' works.

I ask because I've written for a variety of sites, reviewed movies, games, and TV, and generally speaking it seems other than quality content, the thing that gets the most eyeballs on-screen is 'day of' reviews, and wink-wink-nudge-nudge non embargo breaking early game impressions content. My first day I asked about sending out asks for various things the community would be interested in, and was told nahhhhhh lets hold off. I asked again the other day, was told no, and in perhaps the most professional and assertive (but not-at-all-douchey) moment of life, explained the above using an example from THIS forum, where if someone says they got a game early people FLOOD them with questions, and threads blow up faster than Burt Ward after Batman.

Plus if I'm being honest...I like getting free games, and it'd be a nice fringe benefit for the extra hours I happily put in.

3. I care about the app, think it's amazing, but am worried about the rug being pulled out from under me. When should I be weary of bubbles bursting?

This could be me being paranoid...as I tend to be when presented with awesome opportunities, but having never worked in *this* particular field before, what are the things I should look for to ensure the company is headed in the right direction. Everyone is smart, everyone is professional (but not pompous), but I think a few people are just out of college, and I believe the term is "Pre-revenue". I did some research and it looks like there's a couple of interesting companies and people that have invested in the app, so that's good.

I ask because, again, I want to do this kind of thing for a living, and this is my first real resume headline in this particular arena where I'm being paid hourly to generate content for a captive audience. I have to assume that's different then freelancing for a site like Whatculture.com or having articles posted to Cracked.com, right?

4. What Would You Do?

What I post about, how I post about it, and more-or-less *when* I post is up to me. So far I've been enthusiastic, dorky, and upbeat. I posted one article that was a bit on the snarky / provocative side and it of course generated the most comments / likes, which concerns me. Ideally I don't want to be the guy who says "You won't believe what this person said about GAMING!!!". I want to celebrate the medium, and ideally bring in some...extraneous news or ideas or whatnot, but I'd rather that be about what games communicate to players, not so much what other people say about gaming.

So, you're a 15 year old kid in the Midwest with a 3DS and an Xbox 360. What do you want to see, not want to see, and what will make you share this community with your friends.

What makes a place special? How do you establish a culture?

My thought is giveaways, enthusiasm, and passion - the last two I have in spades, hearts, and even Joker cards. The first one I can do, but need permission. This is the sort of gig I want to grab a hold of with both hands and run with until my legs fall off. How can I ensure that isn't into a wall?

NikeemAsur on

Posts

  • Options
    TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON Registered User regular
    NikeemAsur wrote: »
    1. Is 5-7 'blog posts', plus all the other stuff I mentioned, in three hours...a lot?
    It depends what a "blog post" counts as - over at Kotaku, for instance, a lot of their posts are "check out this video of something that some other website made! Pretty dope, huh?" and that's a post. If you're expected to write actual articles for each post, though, 5-7 in three hours is way overkill. That's more or less impossible.
    NikeemAsur wrote: »
    2. How important are review codes to growth.
    You're right that getting your review up ASAP is a good idea. If your bosses are too stupid to realize why this is important I'm not sure there's going to be much you can do. Maybe you could compare game reviews to movie reviews and tell them that nobody wants to read a movie review two weeks after the movie came out.
    NikeemAsur wrote: »
    3. I care about the app, think it's amazing, but am worried about the rug being pulled out from under me. When should I be weary of bubbles bursting?
    It sounds like you're technically employed for three hours a day but you're putting in more than that. Lots of tech companies leech the life out of people in this way and it's not a great thing. I would be worried about a company that's not healthy enough or is otherwise unwilling to pay you for the amount of work you actually do. On the one hand it is normal for new businesses to not be making a lot of money, but the pressure shouldn't be on you. As for whether this thing will fold or whatever, I can't answer that (I'm not sure anyone can).
    NikeemAsur wrote: »
    4. What Would You Do?
    Well I mean if it were me, I'd see myself as having two main options: Buzzfeed/Clickhole garbage bullshit like "You won't believe what this person said about GAMING!!!," because that shit's solid gold (there's a reason everyone writes their fucking headlines like that now), or the stuff I care about. The middle ground, which is what you're aiming for, the sort of "what would a 15 year old ACTUALLY WANT" is, if you ask me, a worthless place to aim, because 15 year old gamers are dipshits, like all other 15 year olds. If my criteria are "what getz the clikz?" I'm going to write the bullshit and if my criteria are "what's cool?" I'm going to write what I find interesting. Presumably the latter would just get me fired but whatever.

    In general you sound both excited and underpaid/overworked. That's not a super great combination! Unless you need this job to live, I'd suggest working only for 3 hours a day. If you can't do what they ask of you in that amount of time, tell them that you need more time (and thus more pay) or you need fewer responsibilities.

  • Options
    NikeemAsurNikeemAsur Registered User new member
    Regarding the review thing - would it make sense to state the case in an e-mail, along with something like - "Hey, just double checking, in an effort to build the userbase and legitimacy, this Monday would be *the day* to secure review codes for most major games coming out this Holiday season" then provide links for reviews that post early, and reviews that post late?"

    More than anything I want to maintain as much longevity at this position as possible, but am unsure how to say "This is how it is *done*" without coming off like a poop.

  • Options
    ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I feel like this is your job that you've been hired to do and you should really be figuring it out on your own. What doesn't read as "how do I do the job I've been hired to do?" reads as market research, and that's not really what this forum is for.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
This discussion has been closed.