Influencer Profile: Colette Bennet

September 28th, 2011 by Search Influence University

Search Influence Internet Marketing Associate Colette Bennett is also a freelance writer who has been producing content across a wide variety of geeky topics since 2006. She has written for a wide variety of videogame blogs, including Kotaku, Destructoid, GamesRadar, Touch Arcade and Gamasutra. She also does work on color theory, culture and fashion for TIME magazine top 50 blog Colourlovers. Her most current project is running the Japanese culture section of Geek Out!, a new pop culture blog from CNN. At SI, she puts her word-nerd skills to work creating and editing a wide variety of web content, not to mention being one of our most prolific bloggers!

Personality test time: if you were an old-school gaming system, what old-school gaming system would you be?

The Nintendo Entertainment System, all the way. It’s my favorite to this day, and the reason why is because it was a low-cost platform to develop for and because of that, it had a lot of really wonky games on it. My childhood was spent on gambling/role playing game hybrids and far eastern war strategy. Guess it gave me a taste for the wild and weird, which comes in handy when you write about topics like I do!

So you’ve been a blogger-at-large for some time now– how’d you get into the community?

I moved to Los Angeles in late 2005 with the idea I was going to change careers and try to shift towards writing, and I ended up meeting some great circles of people in creative careers. One friend worked in comics and I used to hang out with him while he drew panels, which was tremendously inspiring. One day I mentioned to him I wanted to start a blog about gaming, and he looked up from his work directly at me and said, “Why haven’t you done it yet?” I never forgot that moment — it was the pivot that turned me in a new direction. I started my own gaming/tech blog, pitched myself as a freelancer to my favorite blogs, and cut my teeth over at several of the Gawker network blogs. Six years and a whole lot of published work have passed, and somehow I’m still scribbling.

As one of the more regular writers for the SI blog, have you noticed any incongruity between writing for SEO/marketing topics and the more pop-culture focused stuff you’ve done in the past? Any skills you’d like to hone or bad habits to get rid of?

I think the key to reaching people with any topic, be it pop culture, SEO or dog shampoo, is a passionate voice. If you believe strongly in the thing you are telling your audience, it is inevitable they will catch some of your enthusiasm and perhaps want to learn what it is that generates that enthusiasm. The more you continue to pursue those topics, the more you evolve as an authority. One thing I see on some SEO blogs is writers picking apart other SEO practices. I think challenging how people do things is fine, but pop culture suffers from this issue too — arguments cause page views and generate discussion, but they don’t necessarily get anything new accomplished. When I sit down to write something for an audience, I consider what I am going to say, and what effect it will have on my audience. Is it colored with my opinions, and if so, are they expressed in a way that is well-supported with evidence and makes sense? Or are they a rant? What can I contribute to the community I am writing for, in other words.

I always love a chance to hone my skills on subjects outside of my natural pool of knowledge, so the SI blog is a nice arena for me to explore more SEO-based issues as well as social media, which is rapidly becoming a favorite topic.

What do you find yourself doing around SI? Anything you’re excited about coming in to work on? In a perfect world, what would you be doing all day?

I tend to focus on content here at SI, and my favorite thing to do is edit it and tweak it to make it better. Once an editor, always an editor! One thing I’ve actually been enjoying seeing on my task list is press releases, because I have never written them for any other job, and I think it’s a great skill to have. I’m getting better, but I still have a long way to go before they feel easy to do. Challenge is great — I have always thrived on it.

Let’s see, in a perfect world… believe it or not, I would still be working. I thrive on accomplishment, so I don’t think I could just go to the beach (although I would totally put the four day work week into effect!) I feel like I could do a wide variety of things that would make me very happy. But as long as I’m writing, I feel good. I guess in my dream world, I would write about Japanese history and culture all day, cause you know, I’m kind of a nerd like that. And have to take “business trips” to Kyoto frequently, of course…

Cranking out a steady stream of creative material can be hard — any techniques or tricks you use to get yourself psyched up or bust through writer’s block?

My key rule for writer’s block is pretty old school: Write every day. If I could frame these words and put them over the desk of every writer who has ever struggled, I would. If you ignore going to the gym, it gets harder — writing is no different. Just keep flexing the muscle. If I don’t feel like writing, I sit down and I do it anyway. Maybe it won’t be as good at first, but eventually I fall into the rhythm. Staring at the blank page expecting yourself to perform on some perfect level is worse because it’s paralyzing. No matter what you write, always write something.