Starting A Gaming Blog – Phase 1: Planning Your Blog
Growing up, I always wanted to find a way to turn my passion for gaming into something that resembles a career, or at least a means to provide for my (at the time) future family. Everyone wants to be able to do what they love for a living, right? I’m sure you’re the same, and that’s probably part of the reason why you are reading this post.
Getting a “job” in video game journalism is actually a really hard thing to do. That’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but no one told me that so I assumed that it was easy. I don’t want to sit here and lie to you about that, though. It is a really competitive job market, as so many of us share a passion for gaming and want to get a career in the industry. But there are other ways to get into it aside from getting a job at a gaming magazine; blogging is one of them!
By blogging about video games, you can achieve two different things at the same time;
- Create a name for yourself and showcase your video game journalism skills.
- Create your own business within the video game industry.
Both of these are great and give you options for the future. On top of this, you’ll also get the joy of being able to discuss something that you are truly passionate about. Sounds great, right? But how do you get started?
Well, that’s what this series of blog posts is about! We’re going to be looking at all of the different aspects of starting a gaming blog, beginning with the planning stage.
Getting Started with Video Game Blogging
Okay, so how do we actually get started with a gaming blog? Well, it’s actually the slowest and most painful part, but also the most important; planning. If you want your gaming blog to succeed, you need to make sure you have a plan of what the blog is actually going to be. This should include, but not be limited to, the following;
- The specific niche within gaming that you want to cover.
- There are so many blogs out there, that trying to cover every aspect of gaming is never going to get you anywhere. Find a niche that you love and stick to it.
- The overall brand identity of the blog.
- This one should come second, once you have determined your niche.
- The posting style of the blog.
- This will determine what type of content you’ll typically publish.
- The posting schedule of the blog.
- Like with TV shows, YouTube videos and streaming, you should try and set a schedule for posting, at least for the beginning of your blog’s life.
Those four are probably the most important things to consider when planning your gaming blog, but any other information you can come up with can only help your blog do better! For now, though, we are going to look at those four aspects in a bit more detail.
Picking A Niche For Your Gaming Blog
The very first thing that you need to work out is what niche your blog is going to appeal to and cover. As mentioned earlier, there are thousands of gaming blogs out there. In fact, because of WordPress and Blogger, the barrier to entry into blogging is easier than picking up Rugrats on the PlayStation and playing it for the first time! That means that, if you just try to cover everything about the gaming industry, your blog is not going to succeed. There is just too much competition.
Take this blog, as an example. I could have decided to blog about industry news, new game releases, consoles and more. The gaming industry has so many different aspects for you to write about that, if you try to do that, you’ll just end up not being able to see any growth.
So, you need to make sure that you plan out a specific niche within the gaming industry. But what do I mean by “niche”? Well, here are a few examples;
- Retro gaming – obviously, I was going to mention this. It is a specific area of the gaming industry that has devoted fans that you can talk to, network with, and write content for.
- Esports – this is a pretty saturated niche, but people who love eSports really do love eSports, meaning that it can be a very potent niche to focus on.
- PS4 Free to Play Games – perhaps you don’t have a good enough budget for the latest games out there, so blogging about gaming on a budget (or even for free) could mean that you carve out a great little section of the gaming journalism industry for yourself.
As you can see, there are a whole bunch of ways to break down the gaming industry, allowing you to determine which part of the industry that you enjoy the most. This gives you a structure for your blogging, meaning that you can then start working out how you are going to move your blog forward.
Choosing The Right Brand For Your Gaming Blog
In this day and age, branding is important. The days of being able to just become one of those “influencers” is gone. You can’t become Instagram famous just like that anymore. You need an identity. You need a brand.
For example, my brand is 16-Bit Dad. It is a short and memorable name that people can keep in their minds and is also easily marketable. That’s exactly what you need. However, it must also be a good representation of your blog’s topic and niche. The reason I went with 16-Bit Dad as a brand name is that it combines the two main parts of my blog; retro gaming and parenting.
So, once you have determined your blog’s focus niche, then you need to start coming up with a name. This can be a slow process, as you want to make sure you are happy with the name. After all, you’ll be using it for the indefinite future. Here are a few tips for creating a brand name;
- Look at the key, most popular and most important aspects of your niche.
- Try to keep the name as short, yet descriptive as possible.
- Research other blogs and websites in your chosen niche, to see what sort of brand names get the most recognition.
Honestly, though… There is only so much advice I can give you when it comes to choosing a brand for your blog. In the end, it needs to suit you and your blog, so you need to come up with it.
Determining The Posting Style For Your Gaming Blog
For posting style, we are talking about a very specific aspect of planning your gaming blog. Posting styles can include reviews, previews and more. However, it is the branding that will make the final decision of your posting styles.
For example, WhatCuluture features a bunch of Top 10s on the website. This means that people visiting the site like that know exactly what to expert. This can help you grow faster, giving you a better rate of conversion, be that purchasing merchandise or signing up to an email marketing list.
As such, I would recommend that you look at how much time you can afford to spend on blogging. As it takes a lot of effort to create a successful blog, you will need to make sure that you have time for it, but also that you’ll be able to stick to that the proposed posting schedule.
Setting A Schedule For Your Gaming Blog
When I say schedule, I don’t mean that you need to be completely rigid. On Twitch, people expect set days for you to stream. TV shows have set time slots throughout the week that they are shown on as well. Because of this, our brains expect specific schedules for things. Blogging is the same, in a sense.
However, with a gaming blog, you don’t need to set specific days or times to post. Instead, the schedule for blogging is far more lenient.
What it usually means is determining how many blog posts you will be planning to publish each week. Can you handle posting 7 articles per week? I mean, that is a lot of writing each week. So, you could drop it down to one or two posts per week. That way, your readers will know that there will be more posts at the end of each week for them to enjoy.
You will need to look at your current life schedule and determine which days are best for working on your blog.
And That’s All Folks
That was the end of this ongoing series of posts about creating and getting started with a gaming blog. There are, of course, going to be more of these posts, each one detailing what you need to do and include when it comes to building up your gaming blog.
I hope you found this useful, and let me know in the comments below what you’ve decided as a brand name and niche!