Gaming is a fun hobby but it is often expensive and certainly doesn’t pay the bills (not for most of us, anyway). One way around this is to get paid to write gaming articles. This lets you put your gaming expertise to good use and earn some money in the process. Do it right and you might even enjoy yourself at the same time.
Of course, there are some additional considerations at play, including what you want to write and how you actually earn money. So, let’s dive in and I’ll show you the potential in writing about games.
What Do You Want To Write?
One of the first things to consider is the type of article that you are going to create. This will influence who you approach for work and how you try to make money.
For example, many sites and physical magazines focus on game reviews and/or recent news about games. This type of site may have a few articles for each game and aims to cover a large variety of different genres.
Writing in this manner often means that you need to be regularly playing new games, including ones that are obscure. After all, companies will typically have someone to review the biggest and most hyped games. In most cases, you’ll also need to be buying some of the games yourself, which can add to your costs.
The style does work well for some situations, especially as you don’t have to master any of the games that you’re playing. Additionally, you can pitch reviews to multiple different sites. This could mean you write (and get paid for) multiple reviews on the same game.
A different style is in-depth articles. This approach works well if you are passionate about relatively few games and know a lot about them.
For example, the site Killer Guides offers comprehensive downloadable guides on a large number of games, some of which are hundreds of pages in length. Likewise, other sites offer detailed posts or post series on a given game. The site Game Pressure does this and their site offers extensive details about games like Fallout 4.
This type of gaming article takes much more time and energy to create than a review and you do need comprehensive knowledge of the game. You also need to focus on games that do have significant depth, ones where people are going to need extra information.
Thankfully, there are many of those out there, particularly single-player RPGs and MMORPGs like World of Warcraft. For many of these games, you could easily make long articles on one specific system, like making money on World of Warcraft or how to easily level specific skills on Skyrim.
Because of the time commitment, detailed articles and guides work best if you already play the game extensively for your own enjoyment. For example, if you’ve clocked more than 100 hours on Skyrim, you might consider writing a guide. If you have more than 500, you probably should. But, if you’ve only played the game for 20 hours or so, you don’t know enough to consider this style.
Approaching Sites And Companies
One way to get paid for writing gaming articles is to approach sites that already offer them. There are many such sites out there and some of them are detailed and comprehensive. Most also outsource at least some of their writing work. With so many games out there, they have to, just to stay competitive. As such, you do have the chance to join one (or more) of these companies and create content for them.
To do so, you need to get in touch with whatever sites you’re interested in and sell yourself to them. Don’t just limit yourself to one or two sites either. Instead, you may need to approach dozens of them, if not more.
Before that, you have to figure out which sites produce content that you want to write. So, if you plan to focus on reviews, you could do various Google searches to find current and popular game review sites. In contrast, if you’re more interested in detailed articles, you might focus on ‘game guides’ or similar searches.
Once you know who you want to target, you need to work out what they’re looking for.
Looking at their content will help in this area. You’ll also want to search for any information about hiring writers. For example, some sites with have a clear ‘write for us’ section, which will often spell out exactly what they want. Others may have articles on the topic, such as this one from Polygon.
The more time you spend on a site, the better you’ll understand what they’re looking for. Then comes the tricky part, selling yourself.
If the site has details about how to apply to be a writer, you can simply follow those details. If they don’t, you’ll need to contact them directly. The best approach is to first ask if they are looking for writers, if they say yes, then you can follow up with information about what you offer.
In some cases, you may also find review writing jobs advertised on sites like Indeed. This is relatively rare though and most companies don’t have official jobs for video game reviewers. Instead, they tend to hire them as contractors and often on an article-by-article basis.
Regardless of how you apply or even the type of work you want, you’re going to need writing samples. Ideally, you’ll want articles that are published online but you can also use a Word or PDF document if you haven’t had any work published yet. Either way, the writing needs to be high-quality and it must highlight what you are capable of.
Whenever possible, you should try to write in the style that the site uses. So, if they have a specific format that they use for reviews, make sure you do in your sample as well. The same is true for the information included. You can add your own touches, of course. But, the idea is to show how well your work fits what they want.
In some cases, companies may sign you up in the long-term, which could mean you need to write articles for them each week. Alternatively, they might pay on a per-article basis and may only be interested in specific content.
To be successful, you’re going to need patience, a lot of patience. Many of the companies that you contact won’t get back to you at all and others won’t be interested.
Still, with enough tries some people are successful. After all, there is an extensive range of games out there, so many reviewers are needed. Some of the games are also complex with many hidden secrets and potential strategies.
The industry also continues to change. New games are released, old ones are updated and online games (like World of Warcraft or League of Legends) get expansions or dramatic changes. As a result, there is an ongoing demand for writers. So, if you can find the right company, the potential to make money does exist.
Making Your Own Path
Working for someone else has advantages, especially as you get directly paid for your work. But, it can be frustrating too, especially if the company ends up paying poorly or wants constant edits and revisions.
The alternative is to make money yourself. Doing so puts you in the driver’s seat and is easier than it sounds.
One of the most powerful ways is through your own website. Here, the idea would be to build a site that offers content on gaming. This could include reviews, news and/or guides, much like the other sites do. You might also branch out and talk about other areas, such as products related to gaming. Alternatively, you could focus on a narrow area, like a single type of game or even just one game.
Whatever you build, you’re not trying to get paid for each article your post. Instead, you’re building a brand and then making money from your traffic.
For example, you might turn to affiliate marketing and promote gaming products or services. There are many video game affiliate programs to choose from, giving you considerable flexibility.
You could also try services that host ads. Google Adsense is one but there are also alternatives to Adsense that are more powerful and give you greater control.
It would also be possible to create actual products, such as eBooks. This is something that some sites already do and you can make money writing and selling eBooks, particularly if you rely on programs like Kindle from Amazon. You could also sell guides directly on your own site or use them as incentives to get people to join an email list.
With this approach, you earn all the money that comes from a sale, rather than a percentage commission or a fee from a company. The income potential is significant if you are creating something of value.
If you have enough detailed knowledge about a single game, then this style is powerful. If you don’t, then you can still earn through writing articles and promoting products on your own website. What’s more, you get to choose the gaming topics that interest you, rather than having to do whatever the company in question wants.
As a writer, you have an in-demand talent that can be used to earn you TONS of money online. You can earn money freelance writing, for sure, but it's still just trading dollars for hours. Personally, I recommend starting your own website! Information is the currency of the internet, so why not leverage your talents to build yourself a serious online income! Learn how to create your own blog-style website and make money through advertising.