[Musings of a Game Store Owner] Shameless Promotion

 

In a previous post, I asked all of you your feelings on advertising, sponsored posts and shameless self promotion. I found it a little amusing that ads (which might help me pay the bills) are right out, but me telling you about myself or my business is fine. It’s also fine for a company to promote themselves through us as long as I tell you upfront that they are doing so.

Companies that are trying to build a brand and or develop an audience send me links to their “blogs” on a regular basis, hoping that I will publish them to our network and get them more viewers. In cases like these, the businesses want ME to do the work of promoting their company or product, rather than get through to 500+ blogs and their readers themselves. Most of the time the decision whether to publish their link is an easy one- you guys are not interested in the products they are hawking, and so I give the link a big ol’ NOPE.

 

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However the recent request I mentioned was a video game (but a bad one) and their blog did review games that might interest you folks. I thought about them for a long time and decided to ask you before putting them in the spotlight. If I put them on the rolls, I will be sure to tell you who they are so you can decide whether we should keep them or boot them to the curb.

A little bit ago I was contacted by a large, well known 3D printing company that wanted me to write an article or review of them and their services. I was pretty tempted- 1) it was a company I have actually ordered from and like the product and 2) it’s a HUGE company and being affiliated with them and getting their traffic could be huge for the site (assuming the site is running the way I want it to).  It was because the site has been slow and the writing hasn’t been up to par as I normally want that I didn’t go forward with it, but I might revisit that idea in a little while.

Part of the idea behind the HoP is to shamelessly promote YOU and YOUR stuff, not me and mine. I mean, all of you know I own a game store and many of you know about the things that weigh on my mind. (These days it’s paying rent. There are some struggles at the moment and TheDude and I are exploring a lot of options to help increase our business.)  Finding ways to engage you so that you will promote what you are doing is pretty important, and it’s worth doing.

BUT HOW?

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One truth I have found to be universal is that asking questions almost always works. Sometimes I will put it in a post as a one off, and other times I will make a whole series out of asking you questions that is intended to get you talking about yourself and your experiences. (I know it’s sneaky, but it works!)

In light of this information, it’s time to ask you some more questions. I’m really curious what got you interested in blogging, and if there was a blog you looked at when you started with hopes of being like them.

 

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I found this funny. I have a very strange sense of humor.

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  • I started blogging because I grew tired of taking the time and effort to write up, what I thought, were good and informative posts on forums and seeing my hard work get shoved off the first page in a few hours so idiots could ask the same questions over and over instead of seeing that their questions were already answered and usually right in front of them. In short, I felt I had something worth saying and sharing.

    As much as I loathe them now, Bell of Lost Souls was my inspiration in the beginning. This was back when they had good authors, unique and interesting content and didn’t slam 100 advertisements on a single page. I also liked the multi-author element as it kept it interesting.

  • Von

    I wish I could give Thor’s answer, I really do, but it’d be fibs all the way down.

    I started GAME OVER partly because my comments on other people’s blogs were becoming so damn long that it felt inappropriate to just barf them out; they felt like they belonged in their own space rather than derailing other people’s comments sections. I wanted somewhere to think aloud about whatever game stuff happened to be on my mind, and where people would hopefully tell me when I was talking complete bum-gravy. Aaand, if I’m honest, I’ve been keeping blogs since before “blog” was a word and it had been a couple of years since I put a bullet through my last one.

    Not sure if I ever wanted to be like anyone else though. I was commenting on Yes The Truth Hurts a fair bit, but I never wanted to imitate Stelek. Even the original blue colourscheme was more about matching my banner image than impersonating the Big Blue Shark Tank.

  • Adrik

    I started By Brush and Sword both because I enjoy writing in general and because I wanted to share what I was doing in my own space, instead of on a forum. Since then, I’ve had ups and downs in my involvement (with a definite uptick in the past year compared to the two before it), but my blog has done a lot to keep me interested, because it’s also a repository for pictures of all the awesome games I’ve gotten to participate in.

    As for inspiration, it was WWPD (back when that stood for What Would Patton Do), Wargaming Girl, and Anatoli’s Game Room.

  • Wargaming Tradecraft started after reading lots of cool blogs like Garden Ninja and helping out in a forum. (MiniWarGaming) From there I wrote a couple tutorials on DeviantArt but decided I needed a better platform.

    I’ve been meaning to write an article like this, maybe a little more direct in its wording. A lot of effort goes into my site and I try to keep it up to a certain standard. I don’t get the interaction I’d like but I see the traffic and I like to share my work. But it’s just a hobby.

    I’m starting to get contacted by more companies too but it’s frustrating how they all seem to approach it. Usually they want me to plug their product based entirely from pictures on their website with no ability to review it unless I buy it myself. And they word the emails like they’re doing me a favour.

    But then I have chances to work with companies who are a pleasure to do business with and recognize the value in real reviews which only cost some product and shipping.

    I also want to say some words about adblock and peoples aversion to recognizing the amount of free stuff they get… but that’ll be for the larger post.

  • Drathmere

    I started blogging as a way to track my re-engagment with the hobby. I wanted a place to put photos of my painted models and host the painting recipes used to create them. I learned to appreciate the comments section more and more over time. One blogger I admired was Ron. He ran From The Warp, from which he inspired loads of painters and hobbyists. Dave Taylor’s work inspired me in White Dwarf, and then later on his own blog. Blogging is about finding a community that accepts you, and then staying active in it. I think it took me a while to figure that out, but now that I do, everything is much more fun. I used to like Bell of Lost Souls as many have mentioned, but it has grown into a cess pool of scum and villainy. When Larry made the blog an advertising machine, it really turned me off.

  • Zab

    From the warp and several others all inspired me to start mine when i left gaming and started on the long road to becoming a display painter. HOP among them.

  • Like Von I’ve been blogging since before blog was a word. I started with LiveJournal. I’m not sure if my experience is useful at all as the culture of the internet has changed a lot in the intervening years.

    For what it’s worth, I started my gaming-specific blog because back then I was interested in writing and I thought it was all good practice, and I wanted a place where I could track my hobby and put up thoughts as they occurred. I certainly never aimed or expected to make money from it at any point (and never have).

  • aruki

    I started as a way of keeping track of my stuff. Though it took me a while to really take to it. As for looking at I often used HOP for finding interesting blogs to look at and I enjoyed a bunch of the authors write ups. Since then I have found other groups of like minded and helpful people.

  • Minitrol

    I am a s**t blogger. The children have sapped my energy and it takes all my energy to get through work nowadays and now that they sleep at night I actually play games instead of writing about them. I do miss blogging and commenting regularly but I just find it so hard to maintain.

    There’s so many great blogs but no sucking up intended I find the commentators here to already have the best blogs inn their midst!

  • Blogging was something I had been thinking about doing for a while, having been inspired by many of the great 40k blogs online. I finally took the plunge when I booked up to attend the Blog Wars tournament. It just felt right to go to Blog Wars and actually have a blog to back it up.
    I quite enjoyed writing battle reports for a campaign I was running at the local gaming club and sharing them with the group and thought about putting them up online for others to see. I also wanted somewhere to share my views on 40k and be more positive about the hobby. A lot of the forums and articles I was reading online were very negative. Don’t get me wrong, there are negative aspects about the hobby and some of the rules, but overall I love playing and collecting 40k and wanted to share my positive experiences with others.

  • Mostly I started blogging to freak Sinsynn out mostly.

    My interest comes and goes right now life is a bit hectic and inspiration is lacking which is quite strange as actually I spend a lot more time gaming and engaging in geeky activities than I have in a lot of years. Maybe it isn’t that strange too busy doing to talk about it. There’s probably some existential discussion to be had on the difference between commentary and engagement however I’m far to busy to bogged down in such nonsense.

  • Thuloid

    I blogged for a bit on my own because I had a day job that required no thought at all and was going insane. Now I blog because nobody has told me not to.

    I was reading blogs for a good long time before I tried my own–politics, economics, theology, archaeology, sports. Before that, I was a master of overlong, complex message board posts. I like having space to develop an idea and have a conversation about it. Came to gaming blogs pretty late, and while I enjoy many of them, fewer are useful for what I really like about blogging.