Content Production Advice: You Can't Always Write What You Want
If you're interested in the not-so-glamourous world of content creation for websites, here's an important tip:
Despite the freedom you have at a place like GameSkinny, you can't always write about what you want to write about.
You will learn a lot if you participate in this site's Journalist Training Program; you'll learn about catchy headlines, SEO, inputting media to boost the attractiveness and reach of the content, etc. It's also critical to remember that you must engage a passionate community that is bound to have feedback. Unfortunately, given the rampant immaturity on the Internet, the vast majority of that feedback will be worthless. But you'll still get an idea as to what works and what doesn't.
And that's the key: What works, and what doesn't
So, let's say you're just a huge fan of role-playing games. That's what you love to play, talk about, and write about. You join up with GameSkinny and start penning articles. They're a lot of fun to write, you show them to all your friends, and you're proud that they've been published. But then, you check your Dashboard and find that they've been viewed only a few hundred times. You even went out of your way to abide by SEO rules, so what happened?
Simple: You love RPGs but not everyone does and at this point in time, they're not a particularly hot topic of conversation in the community. You'll get some attention for writing about The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt or Dragon Age: Inquisition, but you'd have to tailor those articles to reach a wide audience. Pontificating about how Suikoden was an underrated RPG, regardless of your passionate view on the subject, or lamenting the loss of turn-based mechanics, probably won't get very far.
What you love to write and what you should write are two different things.
Strike a balance between passion and trending topics
Nobody is saying you should never write about your favorite topics. By all means, go right ahead. However, as with anything in life, it's important to find balance. In this case, you should hone your content creation skills by acting as any content professional would: Produce the most eye-catching, far-reaching piece you can. This involves some research but it's easy enough. You'll also learn a lot with each attempt.
The bottom line is that if you do ever land a job that involves digital content of any kind, chances are, you won't always be writing about things that interest you. In fact, you'll rarely pen something that's close to your heart. I know to many of you, the idea of writing for a video game website sounds like play, but it really isn't. It's a job, just like anything else, and even the most avid gamer will find themselves writing content they really don't care about. And if you land a job in another sector, you'll almost always be producing content that doesn't tug at your heartstrings.
Ah, but that's the way of reality, isn't it? ;) For now, just find that balance.