It's tough enough being an entrepreneur. When you make a name for yourself in a tight industry that's typically dominated by the opposite sex, even more so. Here's how Tech Girl Sam Wright is setting the esports industry alight.
Wright, hosting in the Ukraine.
When chatting to Sam, I started with the basics – how did she get the name, ‘Tech Girl’?
She wishes the story was more interesting than what it actually is – when she started blogging a few years back, her focus was on all things ‘tech, gaming and geek’. Almost all the ideas she liked had already been snatched up as domain names.
Then a friend suggested Tech Girl, which Wright shot down as she didn’t like it… but the domain was available, and she was so frustrated with the process that she bought the domain and decided to roll with it.
Roll with it she has, as the name stuck and has proven so effective that she’s also changed her gamer tag and social media to Tech Girl.
The name probably sounds familiar as Wright hosted one of the biggest Overwatch tournaments globally earlier this year and are well known as an MC and commentator in this niche industry. She’s also the Razer brand ambassador for SA, a content creator for 5FM’s #GamerGlitch, and the South African esports contributor for Red Bull. Such is the varied life of an entrepreneur!
Here, she shares how she got involved in esports, what her day-to-day work in the industry entails, and tips for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps and make a career of their passions this #EntrepreneurMonth…
Let’s start with the basics. How did you get involved in esports?
My brother played competitive Dota 2 for many years. He got me into the scene and I used to go to watch him regularly. He eventually retired but I was still documenting South African esports regardless, as we both enjoyed watching the action.
I became frustrated when local gaming media wasn't covering the events or highlighting local players so I decided to make my own content! I started writing blog posts and doing videos about local SA esports events and players. A good friend who now works with ESL in Europe then suggested I try hosting and casting.
At the time I fobbed him off, but he started planting the seed with local organisations before giving me my first hosting job, which was the Evetech Champion's League event in 2016.
Before I hosted this event, the then-Telkom DGL had reached out to me to do content around their Masters series and host their finals. So both the organisation and individual played a role in getting me "work". But my brother really needs to be credited with fueling the passion from the get-go.
Love the family inspo. Looking at the work itself, how does marketing to a gaming audience differ from traditional marketing to consumers?
Gaming audiences don't have time for BS! They're tech savvy and know what they want. Gamers also tend to be fussy about purchases – they’re willing to spend, but only if they're 100% sure that what they're spending their cash on is good quality.
So there’s no space to be disingenuous or shove marketing speak down their throats. You need to be honest and open in how you position and market your products or services to them. I like the very real and raw nature of the audience, as it really allows for brands to find creative new strategies that truly speak to their core sale points.
Take us behind the scenes on what it takes to produce your behind-the-scenes vlogs of events, live-streams gameplay, and interviews with popular gaming personalities.
A lot of sleepless nights! Much of the content I produce for my own channels has to be done over and above "work". For example, I love to do behind-the-scenes vlogs of events I'm working on, but the event itself takes precedence. So when everyone breaks for lunch I'm quickly trying to film a few shots or showcase a rehearsal.
It comes down to a lot of time management. Finding cool storylines and showcasing the player stories, which is really where my passion lies, requires me to also build relationships with said players so that they trust me and know that I'll attempt to do their stories justice with my content.
They usually take an hour to prep and set up, and then I play a game for an hour while chatting to my audience who watch me play live. My live streams are a passion project that I do to showcase that anyone, no matter their level or experience, can have fun gaming. I struggle to learn mechanics in new games, despite this being my job, and it takes me time, so I wanted to show this as a way to give other gamers or potential gamers who might be nervous about their skill level, the confidence to just pick up the controller.
Love it. Let’s end with some tips for anyone looking to follow in your footsteps and make a career of their passions this #EntrepreneurMonth.
Whether you want to be a live streamer or esports host, you just need to start! Lots of people expect payment right out the gate and don't want to create content without reimbursement. It doesn't work that way. If you're passionate, you need to do what I did and just start making that content, showcasing the stories you want to tell and getting the stuff out there.
It is tough in the beginning and, again, requires some time management, but it is worth it. There are a lot of esports websites that also provide suggestions and tips for getting started in broadcast, I'd suggest reading all of them. It can take years before you start getting hired for gigs so it’s important to not get into this for the money, or else you might be disappointed. It needs to come from a place of love for gaming and the culture it has cultivated.
Inspiring words for anyone looking to turn their passion into their day job as we kick off #EntrepreneurMonth.
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