Please do free content for us! Sincerely, up-and-coming eSports organizations.
If you’re trying to get onto the eSports scene, you’re probably trying to get experience for yourself. Now, to disclaim this post, I am not referring to community sites like Team Liquid or Gosugamers, which are by all means extremely useful resources for any passionate writer to begin covering events for an international audience. Beyond that, even for sites like Team Liquid, I believe that any writer producing a stable content stream for the site should be compensated in some way, whether it be partial site ownership or some other material compensation. Writers and editors currently holding long-term volunteering posts: You need to ask for compensation. Otherwise, your position will never move forward as you are the old guard that’s proving volunteering still works. Start with yourself, and then everyone else will follow.
Hi, we’re new, please write for us…
Most eSports organizations which have just set up their new websites will begin looking for content writers. eSportscareer.org lists over 16 different organizations advertising voluntary positions in for writing and only 7 listings which ensure some form of compensation. Of those 7 listings, one goes so far as to state that
The positions would suit a student or someone from a lower-income country looking for part-time work.
For a Head of Content! Job title aside, it really seems like if you want to write for an organization, you’re looking to benefit them materially while crafting out your resume. This is great if your organization actually has a reputation, but for new orgs, you’re much better off trying to create your own brand.
… For free
That’s not a good way to enter into a industry already saturated on the work of volunteers. Realistically, how many volunteers are really creating content to establish themselves as writers? Why are so many writers going elsewhere to find a living? The truth is, your local newspaper is far more attractive to those who want to commit full-time to a life of journalism or writing because of the stability it provides. Passion is still fuel for the hungry in eSports content production, and in spite of the money being pumped into eSports, it’s as if the content creators that are starting out are becoming the beggars looking for scraps in his emerging industry.
We’re going to pay you eventually…
If you heard before that not all writers will become full-time, paid content creators, then you can be assured that not all orgs asking for volunteers will become big enough to divide some of their pie with you. If you’ve entered into their org as a volunteer, prepare to be on the very bottom of the rung forever unless they give you something in writing that states you’ll be paid. New orgs have minimal sponsorship and will need to use their money to for their team or to pay the people holding permanent positions. Don’t trust what orgs promise you at the start unless they offer you a contract, as time and circumstances change and without anything to protect you, you’re at their mercy.
…But we don’t have money at the moment
I hate this argument. If you have no money, then expect no content. It doesn’t make sense that the content creator should shell out time to establish your brand, build your reputation, and then benefit by only having something online to email other organizations with. As a writer, if you want to have something online, don’t start with a new organization. Build your own Wordpress or medium(this article has not been sponsored in any way). You’ll need all the knowledge and skills that come with setting up your own Wordpress anyway, and medium is automated, more or less!
Compensate yourself if no one is doing so…
The best writers are brands in of themselves. They have clout not entirely because of who they’ve worked with, but because of their track record. Sure, it is hard to prove how hard you work without independent sources, but no company can refute consistent production of content. As with casual content producers, consistency is hard to come by and is a great selling point which can and will convince organizations to try you out over others.
Networking is always useful, so get active on social media to get noticed by existing organizations and writers, and approach organizations with offers instead of waiting for them to come to you
… and don’t look back after you start getting paid
After you get your first opportunity do not regress and get comfortable. If anyone tells you “other people are doing this, or that”, it might not work for you, but trying doesn’t hurt (unless it involves volunteering for a weaker opportunity). Advice is great, but when it comes to getting things done the one that’s putting in the work has to make the call.
Don’t accept offers that pay way below what you want. There is always another opportunity that will come by, and if you have to, work other jobs to keep to your rate. Devaluing your time is worse than having no work, because you’re still building yourself up while helping other writers by insisting on your value. Of course, there isn’t a hard and fast way to go about it, but I’m writing thinking about how writers can both help each other out, and how we can collectively increase the value of writing.