You've landed game writing jobs, you've written editorials, game reviews, and hundreds of news articles. But how do you go from an ordinary game journalist to an extraordinary one? Leveling-up your video game writing career takes time and training, but with a little persistence you can land better paying gigs. And it all starts by doing what you love to do better than anyone else.
Communicate quickly, communicate well
The worst thing you can do when taking any kind of online game writing gig is to get an assignment then disappear into silence. Your editors need to know what you're up to. Even if you "think it's obvious," it's not. Keep everyone in the loop about your assignments and status. Let them know if there's any kind of delays, and let them know as soon as possible.
When you say you'll write a review by Friday, write the review by Friday. When the team needs a news article out ASAP, pop in, take the assignment, and write it ASAP. Don't be late with work and don't turn in sloppy content. The more the team knows they can count on you, the more they will count on you.
Learn how to self-edit
No matter how good you think your first draft is, it can always be improved. That's why editors exist – to help make your writing better. But if you want to get ahead in the game writing industry, it's important that you know how to self-edit. This means taking a step back from your work and critically analyzing what you've written before sending it off to the editor.
The basic editing questions should always be asked: Are there any errors? Is the piece too long or too short? Does it flow well? Above and beyond that, though, think about the article from the publication's perspective, and from your readers' point of view. Does this article answer questions readers might have? Does it serve your publication well by staying on-brand, on-voice, and delivering good information?
As with many things, the more you practice self-editing, the better you become. Do this with every piece you write and submit. Pay attention to what changes your editor makes and file them away for future self-editing. Not only will this make you a better writer, but you'll make your boss very, very happy.
Get better at SEO
One of the most important skills for any journalist is SEO, or search engine optimization. This is the process of making your articles and website more visible to people who are searching for information on the internet. In order to be a successful video game journalist, you need to be able to write articles that will show up when people are searching for information on video games. This holds true when you're writing on your own personal blogs as well as creating content for other publications.
Up your image game
Every article needs an image, usually more than one. Your publication might source these independently, but in many cases you'll need to provide them yourself, especially when it comes to screenshots.
You may not have the hardware needed to capture images from certain consoles, but if you can source fair use content or generate it yourself, you could be doing your publication a huge favor. This doesn't mean buying a ton of hardware or become a Photoshop master, just being crafty and curious and not being afraid of getting your hands dirty with non-writing tasks.