The HackerNoon Blogging Fellowship is a free remote online writing program where you can get mentored by a seasoned Editor and build up your writing portfolio.
To help us improve the program and give people a taste of what they can expect from it, we asked our first round of Blogging Fellows to tell us what they thought of the program, the challenges they faced, and the value they received from it.
This Slogging thread by Limarc Ambalina, JeffreyHarris, Jack Boreham, Jose Hernandez and Nicolas Ng occurred in slogging's official #gaming channel, and has been edited for readability.
JeffreyHarris Jose Hernandez Jack Boreham Nicolas Ng, as your Fellowships draw to a close, what were the most difficult parts of the program for you in terms of learning curves or general difficulties?
As well, what were some of the most gratifying moments that made you feel happy that you joined this program?
In terms of learning curves, adjusting to the CMS and online editor and getting used to its eccentricities and idiosyncrasies. It uses video and tweet embeds in a rather peculiar (yet simple) way, which I wasn't used to.
The gratifying moments were taking part in the Hackernoon group gaming podcast to talk about political themes in video games, which was a lot of fun. Also, the meetings with Limarc and the great encouragement he offered as a supervisor that was very uplifting. Limarc knows how to offer constructive criticism and instruction where necessary, along with compliments and encouragement that makes him a topnotch manager and supervisor. I was very happy to be given creative free reign on my stories and also given less editorial oversight due to my editorial qualities, which was also incredibly uplifting and encouraging to have for a gaming-intensive fellowship.
For me, adjusting my writing style so that matched an online article/feature approach was tricky. I come from an academic background, so the adjustment was not easy. Likewise, making sure my work was well polished came as a challenge.
On the flip side, my most gratifying moment was when an article would do really well, that I put a fair amount of time into. Seeing my writing skill grow over time was another gratifying moment. I agree with you, JeffreyHarris. Limarc Ambalina, you couldn't have been a better manager/supervisor—great encouragement and constructive criticism that has shaped me as a writer. Writing for Hacker Noon has been a pleasure, due to the positive vibes and energy of the fellowship and leadership.
Like Jack, a struggle for me was reeling in that AP, professional, writing style, and learning how to relax. At the same time, I still wanted to have good, cohesive grammar.
Gratifying moments happened when my articles would do well. It's a toss-up how well one of your articles will do, you can have fantastic keywords and still get below average views. So, when one of my articles had great views, it felt good.
Like Jack and Jose, my greatest challenge was in adjusting my writing to fit the new requirements that came from writing for websites. Learning how to weave keywords into normal paragraphs and adjusting the structure to fit more keywords in,
Learning how to research keywords was another thing that needed getting used to. There's a lot of things to consider that I struggled to fully account for when I researched sometimes.
Fortunately, Limarc Ambalina gave me plenty of help with learning how to get better at all of that.
I've had many gratifying moments during the Fellowship. Getting to write endlessly about modding and seeing many of those articles succeed was quite a lot of fun. Exploring Roblox and getting to play some genuinely fun games. Getting a chance to edit the podcast was incredibly satisfying as well.
While my article about buying Animal Crossing Bells didn't do very well, going through the entire process of buying it was really fun and something I'll laugh at for a while.
Follow up question. Since you are all nearing the end of the fellowship, what advice would you give to new fellows joining the program? What would you have wished to have known early on?
My advice would be to write about franchises and games you are passionate about. Being passionate makes your writing sound better and, combined with keyword optimisation, can make a killer article. Also, don't be afraid to take risks with specific keywords and articles; go with your gut. Some articles that I believed would rank well despite the data showing otherwise have done reasonably well.
I would echo what Jack said and encourage new fellows to write about what they're most familiar with. Doing that will let you focus on improving your writing and learning about SEO without needing to worry too much about the content.
This fellowship is also a great time to experiment with different article formats in a relatively safe environment. Try to put a unique twist on your articles when possible. The experience might be helpful down the road
Some advice would be to pay attention to what’s popular on social media and what other news sites are talking about. It helps with figuring out what to write about
Thanks so much for your words of wisdom everyone! I was lucky to have you great writers and overall good people join the first round of our Fellowship program. I hope you all continue to write on HackerNoon and I hope this program helps you land your dream jobs.