It’s every writer’s dream to get paid to write about the subjects that most interest them. For a sports fan, if you’re not headed to the big show, becoming a sports blogger is the next best way to stay close to the game you love.
But successful sports blogging isn’t just about having passion for your team. Here’s what you need to lay the groundwork to succeed.
Find Your Sports Blogger Specialty
When U.K. newspaper The Guardian can publish a list of the top 100 soccer blogs to follow, that’s a sign you need to pick a blogging niche.
Start with what interests you. It could be focused around a single team or even a single player. You could write about NBA Picks and Parlays, Free NBA Picks, NBA Betting Picks, or college football lines in Vegas.
Come up with a list of a few different possibilities that appeal, then research the competition. If it’s too crowded and there’s too much top-funded quality, that might be a sign to try a less noisy area of expertise.
Develop A Unique Voice
As noted, there are a lot of sports blogs and sports bloggers already out there. What’s going to set you apart is your voice. Love ’em or hate ’em, that’s how the Bill Simmons’s of the world made their reputations.
The benefit of working on a particular voice and style for your writing is that even if your independent website doesn’t become a smash, it’s more likely to appeal to your potential audience.
Most new websites aren’t going to be big profit-makers off the bat, but that quality of your writing can lead to paid work with bigger outlets.
Edit Like Crazy
Voice is only half the equation. Editing may be even more important.
Good editing increases readability. Readability increases traffic and helps retain readership.
While there are a lot of sports bloggers, good editing separates the amateurs from the pros.
Furthermore, editors looking at your work will hire someone with a great voice that needs to be edited down. But if your editing is on point, it’s another point in your favor. After all, it’s less work for the person who may be paying your wage.
Pay Attention to SEO and Use Social Media
If you’re trying to get an edge in your blogging niche, you have to self-promote.
That includes active self-promotion through social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. It also includes passive self-promotion through search engine optimization (SEO).
You shouldn’t write your sports blogs for SEO to the detriment of your voice, but titles, headers, and good internal and external linking practices are essential. Doing the work now will pay in better sustained organic traffic in the long run.
You’re Blogging — Now What?
You’re on your way to becoming a professional sports blogger, which can be tough going in the early days. Being a freelancer or just starting out never is.
But good business practices go a long way, so check out our guide to how to create a business spreadsheet to manage your money as you build your new career.