For those who don't know, the Elder Scrolls series are five role-playing video games that are based on the idea of "being who you want, doing what you want." I've played the two of the most recent games in the series, and find that there are a few things content marketers can learn from creating a character and exploring a giant, fantastical world. After all, the graphics make the game feel like real life, so why not find a few real life applications?
- Try Not to Get Over Encumbered - In the series, encumbrance is the ability to uphold burden, or weight. Once you meet or exceed your encumbrance, you then have too much weight and you can't move. The only way to move again is to get rid of the weight by dropping stuff, eating ingredients (the one and only time when eating stuff drops weight), or casting a spell to increase your encumbrance. The freelancing equivalent of this problem is taking on too much work to the point where you can no longer move, to where you wish you could just fall asleep and everything will just go a way. Therefore, the only fixes are dropping work (either by terminating it, getting it done, or passing it one to someone else) or... yeah that's it. Eating and casting spells won't work in this case. So, watch your encumbrance levels so you don't end up stuck in one spot.
- Focusing On Specific Skills Will Help You Get Stronger - Leveling up, or getting stronger, requires a specific focus on certain skills. This process was refined as the series went on. In the latest game, Oblivion, the skills you focused on, and how much you focused on them, determined how you got stronger. Same goes for freelancing. Focusing on SEO skills will make you better at SEO, but also at online marketing and writing web content. Focusing on interviewing not only makes you better at interviewing, but at writing stories that will make your editor happy. The leveling process is much more complicated than that, but those are the big points boiled down.
- Reading Literature is Helpful - In the game, there are tons of books at your fingertips. Sometimes, they make for a fun thing to do every now and then, as Bethesda took time to put quality content in the books. Other times, books boost your skill levels. Apply this to real life. Sometimes, books are a fun thing to read every now and then because there are people out there who write good books. Other times, books can improve what we do by allowing us to learn something new and to keep up with what other professionals are doing. Never miss a chance to pick up a book, even if its just for a short read.
- Explore that Abandoned Mine Over There - In the series, like in the real world, there are things that sort of beckon our name and gives us the urge of exploration. In the game, they are abandoned mines, old Dwarven strongholds, small villages in the middle of nowhere, dark bandit hideouts, you get the picture. In freelancing, this could be things like unknown niches, brand new markets, or that editor you met on Twitter. You'd like to go down those paths and see what's up, but there's risk involved. Both the game and in freelancing, as you never know what you might find. Sure, there may be goblins (Halloween is soon, so goblins are good), but goblins often guard gold and other things that we really really want. Take the risk sometimes. You might find something there that you really really want.
- You're Going to Make Friends as Well as Enemies - Unfortunately, not everyone will like you. In the game, you might end up making enemies depending on what you do or who you associate with. In freelancing, you might make some enemies depending on what you write about, what you do (or don't do) with a client, or even by how others perceive your work. Don't let enemies get in the way of your career, just prove them wrong. In the game, it's not quite as easy since it's not quite as simple as changing the minds of artificial intelligence, but hopefully you get the point I'm making.