Monday, December 3, 2012

WalkaboutNYC: Gin Lane Media - Interactivity Is Media's Future

Welcome to part four of my WalkaboutNYC 2012 startup tour! Today's post is about my stop at Gin Lane Media. To read more about WalkaboutNYC, or to learn about two other great startups in the city (OpenPlans and Campfire) click on the links below.

Walkabout NYC 2012 Recap: Startup-Hopping In the City

WalkaboutNYC: OpenPlans - Trip Planning At Its Best

WalkaboutNYC: Campfire - Immersive Marketing Experiences

Now that you're up to speed, I can get right to talking about the next startup on the list...

Gin Lane Media

Although I've lived in New York City for a few months, I haven't quite gotten distances figured out yet. For some reason, it seems impossible to get anywhere in the city in less than fifteen minutes. Add to that the fact that I planned my itinerary based on what companies sounded coolest, and not which were closest to one another, and you can imagine that I ended up at Gin Lane in Bowery considerably out of breath and a little worse for wear.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gabe Rivera and Steve Kovach Talk Techmeme, Content Curation

What do you get when you stick the founder of Techmeme (a site that uses an algorithm and human editors to bring readers the latest and greatest tech news) and the editor of Business Insider's SAI (Silicon Alley Insider) in a room together? An in-depth discussion on the role of skilled editors, technology, and the general public when it comes to collecting and disseminating tech and business news - a.k.a., content curation.

It all went down at Outbrain's HQ during a Content Conversations event cohosted by Contently (you can find more information about the Content Conversations Meetup group here). The goal? Find an answer to the question: Is curation an art or a science?

After a lively networking session, Steve Kovach (SAI) got right down to business grilling Gabe Rivera (Techmeme) about the topic. Although Gabe admitted that most of Techmeme's content gets pulled from RSS feeds or scraped from other sources (science), he made the surprising argument that he found it cheaper and more effective to have editors produce the final results by processing the data generated by his algorithm.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Video Game Goodness and More

So, I've got more than enough things to write about, but today I'm going to make a plug for some of my sites in honor of Cyber Monday.

Sure, it's a bit promotional - but maybe, just maybe, you'll find something you're looking for. And I'll be able to talk a bit about writing and niches while I'm at it :)

I create niche sites/articles on a platform called Squidoo that provide people with information they're looking for on the internet. For example, if someone wants to know what video game to get for a friend who owns a Kinect, I've got a list of the best Kinect games that will point them in exactly the right direction. Looking for handheld games instead? 10 Best PS Vita Games or Best 3DS Games might be more your style.

Monday, November 19, 2012

WalkaboutNYC: Campfire - Immersive Marketing Experiences

Welcome to Part Three of my personal WalkaboutNYC 2012 Startup Tour! To read more about why exactly startups in the city opened their doors on this day, check out my first post in this series: Walkabout NYC 2012 Recap: Startup-Hopping In the City.

I started out the day at OpenPlans (WalkaboutNYC: OpenPlans - Trip Planning At Its Best), and from there it was only a hop, skip, and a jump to the next stop on my list - Campfire.


First impressions are important, and after sliding yourself into the old-fashioned elevator, you can't help but wonder what this place has in store for you. But the well-appointed office with an open floor plan, an interesting wall full of clocks (just don't try and use them to tell time) and a well-stocked kitchen offering tantalizing snacks and drinks soon set me at ease.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Gawker's Erin Pettigrew Talks Native Advertising at NewsCred

Last Thursday brought yet another great event in the city, this time with the Content & Cocktails NYC Meetup group. The event was hosted at the NewsCred headquarters in the Flatiron District, and featured a short and meaty presentation on native advertising - a.k.a., paid posts, sponsored content, 'advertorials,' etc.

(And, yes, I know I need to get back to my Walkabout series, there's just so much to write about, and so little time!)

Back to Content & Cocktails... after a boisterous pre-presentation networking session, the co-founder and CEO of NewsCred - Shafqat Islam - sat down to discuss the evening's topic with Erin Pettigrew,  exectuive director of business development  for Gawker.

Approaching the topic of native advertising requires a delicate touch. For media companies that survive mainly off of ad revenue, and for brands that want to draw in potential clients, the idea of "presenting products in a way that people find more familiar and engaging than typical ads" is certainly an attractive prospect. However, as Erin put it, "it's editorially not cool" for brands to pay media outlets for exposure, without clear disclosure that the provided content is a paid collaboration between the publication and the sponsoring organization. Readers are very sensitive to being lied to or tricked, and it would be brand suicide (not to mention of dubious legality) for any company to squander the currency of earned trust in this way.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

WalkaboutNYC: OpenPlans - Trip Planning At Its Best

If you're just joining us, welcome! This is part two in my series about my recent participation in WalkaboutNYC, a free program during which startups in the city open their doors to the public in order to showcase their work, educate people about what makes startups tick, and build connections within the community.

For an introduction to Walkabout NYC, check out my first post: Walkabout NYC 2012 Recap: Startup-Hopping In the City

You get to choose one of several startups during each hour-long slot throughout the event, so I selected OpenPlans as my first destination.

The first thing you notice about OpenPlans is, understandably enough, the swift elevator ride that whisks you up to the gorgeous penthouse office overlooking a vast swath of lower Manhattan including Little Italy, Chinatown, and Tribeca. If you're lucky enough to check out the site, don't miss out on the rooftop garden, a secluded oasis which feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Walkabout NYC 2012 Recap: Startup-Hopping In the City

This year, I was lucky enough to hear about Walkabout NYC, a semi-annual startup-hopping event, just days before it took place.

What inspired me to sign up for an afternoon spent rushing around SoHo, Bowery, and the Flatiron District? Well, for starters, I love going to events in the city where I'm likely to run into cool and interesting people. And, as a freelancer writer, I'm basically running the "startup of me" - so it never hurts to get new ideas, especially when they're related to marketing, media, branding, or technology.

Walkabout NYC turned out to be a great opportunity to visit the beautiful Silicon Alley offices of OpenPlans, Campfire, Gin Lane Media, and Flightpath. At each location, my fellow Walkabouters and I were treated to insights into the company's products and services, customer base, and origins, along with some great views and tasty treats. The startups were forced to get creative with squeezing a lot of content into a small amount of time - within the space of the hour, participants had to arrive from their previous location, listen to a presentation, indulge in snacks, ask questions, and be off on their merry way to the next destination.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Storyful, Contently Explore Future of User-Generated Content

How do you take a never-ending babble of user-generated content and transform it into a useful news source? It's a question that social media news agency Storyful's Erica Berger sought to answer at a recent event called "How User-Generated Content Is Changing News" hosted at Contently's headquarters in New York City.

Regardless of whether you're a content producer, a media outlet, or just someone interested in the space where journalists and your average Jill interact, there's plenty to learn about the new face of news: curating user-generated content. Traditionally, the hard-hitting journalist has reported breaking details from the heart of the action - war, famine, fire, flood. Almost inevitably, he or she will turn to a bystander at some point to collect a real-time, personal insight into the situation. But what if your organization doesn't have someone on the scene? What if you're a startup with a unique value proposition that doesn't yet have the appropriate local resources, or what if budget cuts have forced you to limit the number of staff members in the field? The good news is, everything is going to be okay. Better than okay. Because companies like Storyful are perfecting the art of sourcing, verifying, curating, and distributing breaking, user-generated news.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Job Posting: Looking for Education, Healthcare, Technology Writers

A company that I work with is looking for people with Internet/SEO writing experience to write blogs, articles, and guides on the subjects of technology, healthcare, and education on a freelance basis.

It's a great company to work with, and the types of projects they have are never spammy - they require high-quality, unique, well-written content. And also fast turnaround times, so make sure that you're good working with tight deadlines.

I have a lot of respect for this company, so if you're interested, I'll want to see samples and talk with you on the phone to make sure you're legit.

One last note - I'm always looking to connect with high-quality writers, so if you write about topics other than the ones I've mentioned, I'd still be interested in chatting. Check out my "About Me" page to find my contact info.


Friday, May 25, 2012

Us Writers Deserve To Get Paid

My recent experiences with trying to build up The Prancing Laggard Pub have caused me to butt up against a long-standing frustration I've had with the online writing business. You see, my main goal for the publication is to pay my writers a living wage.

"Oh, that's so noble of you," you might say to yourself as you clasp your hands and flutter your eyelashes, with or without a heavy dose of sarcasm.

No, it's not noble of me. If I was in the habit of cursing online, I'd do it here, but as I try not to do that too much I'll just say this - it's freaking my duty as a person in this industry to make sure that people get paid what their work is worth.

Now, my writer friends, repeat after me:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Increasing Blog Traffic with Interviews and Guest Posts

Image by Emma Larkins
Every blogger wants to learn new ways to increase traffic to his or her blog. After all, what's the fun of writing online if no one is going to read your stuff? You might as well chisel it onto a block of marble and drop it into the ocean if you can't develop a readership.

Publishing interviews and guest posts on your blog serves to increase visibility immediately, and also to increase number of visitors over the long run.


Interviews are great for a variety of reasons.

  • They let other people in your industry know that you exist.
  • You can learn terrific new things about publishing houses, other authors, techniques for getting published, etc.
  • They increase the traffic to your blog, because the interviewee usually posts one or more backlinks, and helps to promote the interview in other ways as well.

Friday, April 20, 2012

New! Paid Humor/Gaming Writing Market

I'm thrilled to announce a project I've been putting together for the past couple of months on my blog!

It's called The Prancing Laggard Pub, and it's an online magazine dedicated to bringing readers the funniest and most original gaming-focused humor.

Starting this site has allowed me to seek out great writers, help them get publicity, and best of all, pay them! I love giving talented writing professionals exposure, and helping them support themselves with their craft.

So, what makes this site similar to/different from other humor and/or gaming sites? Well, I've definitely taken inspiration from my experience of writing for Cracked; I love how much emphasis that site puts on being original and insightful (and, of course, entertaining at the same time). Compared to other video-game based sites, such as Kotaku or IGN, we're less interested in sharing the latest and greatest news and reviews than in coming up with funny ways to talk about our shared passion for gaming. In addition, we're an all-inclusive publication: we're just as interested in featuring humorous articles about tablet games, casual gaming, card games, LARPing, and tabletop gaming as we are in featuring articles about hardcore gaming and the latest n' greatest FPS.

To read more about the origins of Prancing Laggard, visit the site's About page.

Interested in writing for this paying market? Click here to go to the online submission interest form, and we'll send you a copy of the submission guidelines.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Coming Back to Life

I've been thinking a lot lately about what exactly I want this blog to be, along with doing a lot of related searching about what I want my life to look like.

Common sense and modern wisdom both support the idea of finding that one thing, that one niche, that one passion, and working the hell out of it. "You can't possibly be successful if you don't commit to one thing!" the collective voices cry.

The thing is, I'm not "just a writer," and I'll never be 100% focused on the pure act of converting individual words into stories, articles, and other forms of content. There's so much more going on that fills out the shape of my life, and it's hard to discuss myself and my thoughts without sharing some of it.

With that being said, here's what's new:

I have a new love in my life, and even though she isn't technically "alive," she certainly brings a light to my life! Meet Elena:

She's an Epiphone LP-100 Les Paul Electric Guitar in Heritage Cherryburst, and she's a great beginner's tool. Although I've been playing guitar on and off for about ten years now, this is my first electric, and I'm super thrilled to call her mine.

Also, I'm working on an awesome new project, and in the process, actually paying people to write for once! (Instead of the other way around). I'll discuss this in more detail soon, but if you want a sneak peek, head over to the writing submissions page for the site I'm putting together.

Of course, writing will always be a part of my life, and I'll continue to share my writerly thoughts here. For example, here's an article I recently wrote for Writers Weekly, a terrific publication and email newsletter provided by Angela Hoy and designed to help freelance writers and self-publishers succeed:

Leveraging Humor to Develop Your Freelance Writing

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Loss and Life

A shining star was extinguished this year on January 1st.

I don't really want to go into details on such a public forum, but the loss has required many changes, and a delay in posting.

I am hoping to get back into writing more for this blog in the New Year, but for the time being, bear with me!