Sports writers enjoy combining their passion with their skill set. They often have a knack for writing and communication and possess a deep understanding of the sports world, in both niche and general topics of interest. Skilled communicators are highly desired — a 2015 LinkedIn study found that communication skills are the most in-demand soft skill. This is especially true in the sports writing industry, which is highly competitive. Job seekers need two very important things to stand out — experience and reputation.
Let’s take a look at how job seekers can build their reputation and gain experience to start their journey toward becoming a successful sports writer:
Start a Blog
Highlight your writing and editing skills while showcasing your knowledge of sports with a blog. When you start developing an audience, provide them with insights about the industry.
Focus on something niche, like the business side of baseball or the gender gap in athletics, or stick to broader topics like the NFL or sports media. Whatever avenue you decide to go down, develop a robust blogging strategy. This will demonstrate your ability to manage and develop interesting content that is credible. Make sure your content is well researched and links to higher traffic blogs. This way, you can prove your points in an effective way and build relationships within the blogging community.
This helps with creating a passionate audience. The more you educate them on their interests or the more problems you help them solve, the more they will want from you. At this point, start an e-newsletter to keep readers engaged. Your blog will also help expand your professional network. Industry professionals and colleagues will get to know you by your expertise. Engage with them through your blog and follow up with them. If they leave comments, strike up a discussion or simply thank them for their support and input.
Having an awesome blog proves your abilities to potential clients. It is essentially an online portfolio. You might as well make the most out of your talents and start earning some money for it. Start a freelance service and gather leads through your blog. Freelancing websites like Upwork, LinkedIn Profinder, and SimplyHired are great resources for finding side gigs.
Start freelancing for lower bids to build credibility and earn good testimonials for guest blogs. You can share testimonials on your site as well to show interested customers that others liked your work. Combine your blog and freelancing efforts with a strong social media strategy.
Social media can expand your reach even more and help you gain some attention from employers and recruiters. In fact, as the 2015 CareerBuilder survey found, 52 percent of employers use social media to research candidates. Impress recruiters by sharing some of your original content and freelance client testimonials. Consider sharing other industry experts’ content to show that you keep up to date on the latest information and trends in sports.
Also, just as you do on your blog, engage with your followers. Your audience is more than just numbers — they seek out your content to learn from you. So connect with them, comment on their posts, reshare their insights, or even host live social media events using tools like Facebook Video or tweet chats. You can also expand your reach as a sports writer using LinkedIn’s Pulse. Build your LinkedIn profile and share your Pulse postings to encourage conversation. LinkedIn is a great place to expand your professional network. Look into joining relevant groups that focus on the sports industry and writing. Colleagues in the industry can teach you a lot, so reach out and engage with the community. This also allows you to prove your abilities as a writer and share your industry expertise, which gives you a better shot at landing a sports writer position.
These are just a few steps to branding yourself as a strong sports writer. Find your voice, create an audience, establish your credibility, and start making your impact now.
What steps are you taking to become a sports writer?