Having been an editor for HardwoodHoudini.com and writer and creator of Bostonbball.com for over three years, I’ve picked up and learned a few things about the sports journalism industry from a blogger’s point of view. In those three years, changes in the way sports news was being distributed really evolved into something more, as Twitter became the best way to report trade rumors, free agency signings, and injury updates. While social media was a godsend for smaller blogs and websites, it did hamper the effectiveness of the individual blogger and diminished his or her chances of being noticed.
For those of you who blog about your favorite team or sport, you’re competing with news outlets, bigger blogs, and the other individual blogger or writer who is following you on Twitter. You’re just one in a million and can easily get lost in the crowd as there will always be someone who can write better than you and post more articles in a 24 hour timespan. The biggest challenge that you face is standing out and getting ahead of your competition. But how can this be accomplished, especially when you’re dealing with hundreds of other bloggers just like you?
Had I known about the power of social media and it’s ability to reach a broader audience, I would have employed a marketing strategy. Yes, marketing isn’t exclusive to business, advertising, and commercials; we constantly market ourselves, our brand, and who we are as a person on a daily basis. So let’s start asking ourselves a few questions. Why am I not standing out or getting noticed? How can I be seen as an experienced professional, one who knows the sport better than any other blogger on the internet, and show news outlets such as Bleacher Report that I’m the real deal? What must I do to make my dreams to become a reality?
Most bloggers stick to what they know, which is writing. While the safe road can lead to bigger and better opportunities, it’s always the ones who innovate and think outside the box who do something special in their lives. What form of sports journalism hasn’t been exploited yet by small blogs? Video content and podcasts.
Think for a second about your favorite sports writer. Being from Boston, writers such as Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe and Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald come to mind, but they do more than write articles. They appear on radio talk shows and local and national television. So how can you replicate them on a smaller scale? The answer lies within YouTube and podcasts.
Creating a YouTube account and posting a weekly video is enough to attract viewers and readership. Not only hasn’t this been used by many freelance bloggers, but this gives your current reader base an opportunity to see you and understand you more than if they just read your latest article. Appearing in front of a camera and talking about your favorite team or sport isn’t a skill many bloggers in the sports journalism industry have, leaving the door wide open for someone like you.
Start a podcast. This can be your radio show; once again giving you another avenue for attracting potential readers and lifelong followers. Some of the bigger blogs have already ventured out into this sector of social media, but it still hasn’t caught on to the point that you’re competing with hundreds of other individuals and bloggers.
When it comes to sports journalism, don’t be a carbon copy of everyone else. Readers and viewers want someone who is not only unique, but very informative and down to earth. There is no better way to accomplish this than by going the extra mile and posting weekly videos and podcasts. This is the best way to be found, and the more you post on all social media sites, create videos and podcasts, and consistently post on your blog, the higher you’ll be on all the search engines.
Remember, make yourself irreplaceable and valuable. Blog sites and news outlets can always find another person like you, but if you stand out and do what no one else is, you’ll reap the rewards.