You’ve gone through the necessary steps and can officially call yourself a sports blogger. Congratulations! As I mentioned in my last post, though, it doesn’t take very long to get the basics set up. The hard part is putting a plan together and sticking to it for a significant period of time.
I can’t overstate the importance of having some kind of content strategy in place, especially for a beginning sports blogger. It was so important that I just mentioned it not too long ago and I’m already mentioning it again. Not everyone likes to have a firm routine, and if you’re one of those people, there’s nothing wrong with that!
Nobody knows how you work best better than yourself. What works for you may be terrible for somebody else, but that’s the beauty of having your own blog — you have 100% control with regard to how things are done. Even if schedules make your skin crawl, it’s good to at least have an idea when it comes to the types of articles you may want to create.
When getting into a groove as a sports blogger, it’s beneficial to have some ideas already in hand when it’s time to sit down and work. This will allow you to focus on the most crucial aspect of being a sports blogger…actually creating content.
With all that said, what kinds of articles/posts can be found on sports blogs? Again, this can be anything you want, but generally, readers will consume one of the six following types of content.
- Becoming a Sports Blogger Book
- How to Start a Sports Blog Online Course
- Why Do You Want to Be a Sports Blogger?
Writing a column is great because you’re essentially reporting the news, but it also includes your unique opinion. A successful column involves a sports blogger diving below the surface with regard to certain players, games, or anything else that’s being observed by others.
A traditional sports writer will use original reporting or ideas to form a focused and opinionated column of at least 400 words. Sports bloggers (especially beginners) aren’t going to have access to clubhouses and locker rooms as a credentialed media member. So there’s nothing wrong with using another writer’s original reporting (while properly crediting them, of course) as the basis for giving your unique opinion.
There’s also nothing wrong with reading someone else’s column and forming an entire new opinion — one that either dives deeper or opposes it based on your point of view — on it. After all, this is the whole point of owning a sports blog, right? Those super-long, detailed, and informed posts in the comment section of other sites become a launching pad for an interesting column.
If you’re into longform writing, then features are definitely for you. They’re typically at least 1,000 words and dive incredibly deep into some kind of issue, topic, or individual within the sports world. These kinds of posts can take a while to complete because they typically include a number of sources, videos, photos, tweets, and hyperlinks to other relevant articles on what is a timely event.
Unless your sports blog has a foundation in articles of this nature, you won’t be writing too many of these. There are quite a few sites out there calling certain articles “features”, but they actually end up being similar to columns.
Game recaps are important because in today’s world, it feels like sports watching very rarely happens during a live telecast — whether it’s on the TV or a mobile device. Being different and unique as a sports blogger is a necessary quality, but it can’t be stressed enough for game recaps because of how saturated the internet is with them.
Literally everywhere you look, it seems like there’s a game recap for a team, league, or sport from the night before from a different site. They’re so common and happen so quickly thanks to social media that I often tell people it’s not worth the time creating one yourself.
If you are dedicated to having game recaps on your blog, though, be sure to look at some of the more well-known sites within your niche and do something different. Every time a reader heads over to your site, the unique value you bring as a sports blogger must be easy to see. It needs to be so unique that they’ll be compelled to visit the site again in the future. It’s hard to do that with game recaps.
Even if you’ve picked a single-team niche, I’d advise against doing game recaps because they’re so common. It’s actually a good opportunity to network with others within your niche by linking to their game recaps in a post on your sports blog. This allows independent sports bloggers to still have a recap post that won’t take a lot of time, as well as highlighting work from other sites they appreciate.
This kind of post is probably one of the most common while also being one of the most hated among the general public. Why? Well, it’s because there are countless slideshows from sites that mislead with the headline and/or actual content.
Despite the bad reputation list articles have, I still post at least one per week over at Chin Music Baseball, and I used to do the same thing during my days at numberFire. This is a big piece of my personal content strategy because not only do these posts typically perform better, it’s all in the approach.
There are going to be readers out there who are annoyed at slideshows regardless of the content shared. However, if there is value provided throughout and the reader comes away with accurate and entertaining information because of a thoughtful presentation, they’ll generally be OK with it.
Lists are a huge part of the sports blogging world, so it’ll be tough to avoid this one. They take a lot of work, but if you find an interesting topic, there’s a chance of it being very successful. The length of the post itself will depend on how many items are included in the list. For myself, I aim for 150-200 words per item.
How can interviews be a thing when I just said most sports bloggers don’t have exclusive access to players, coaches, or others within the industry?
That’s where social media comes into play.
In today’s world, it’s easier than ever to send a direct correspondence to a famous person. They don’t always respond, but there are a number who do, and they’re happy to spend a few minutes answering questions. I’ve experienced this myself as an editor at Rising Apple, and it’s an area where Mathew Brownstein of MetsMerized has found a lot of success.
Interviews with players or coaches is especially useful for sports bloggers focused on a single team because of all the opportunities available. Would it be awesome to score an interview with Pete Alonso of the New York Mets? Well, sure — he’s having a tremendous rookie season. But Mets fans would be just as happy (maybe even more happy, depending on the situation) by reading an interview with top pitching prospect, Anthony Kay. Sports bloggers in this situation can take advantage of diving deep into a prospect pool because diehard fans will always crave that kind of content.
With regard to length, this is an opportunity to get a longer post without actually having to do a ton of writing. Since it’s an “exclusive” type of post, getting to 800-1,000 words or more is quite doable and likely preferred by readers.
Social Media “Quick Hitters”
Due to how content is consumed these days, this kind of post may be the most popular on your sports blog. And that’s not a bad thing because they can be created and published rather quickly.
Quick-hitter articles typically focus on a piece of news, whether it’s an injury update, some kind of game highlight or a funny social media post. They can be centered on one specific statistic/social media post, or you can find a bunch and turn it into a list.
There are tons of quick-hitter posts out there in the sports blogging world, so it’s important to add some value. The post itself doesn’t have to be long — they’re typically between 250 and 500 words — but when I create something like this, I try to find an interesting statistic or piece of analysis that I haven’t seen elsewhere after doing a quick search.
Regardless of the type of approach you take with an article, the same questions should be running through your mind:
— Would I be interested in this post as a reader?
— What kind of value is being added by this post getting published?
Constantly answering these two questions will be helpful in creating engaging and shareable content. To get more information and guidance on how to continue progressing through this journey, check out my Sports Blogging 101 book or my Sports Blogs 101 Udemy course.