It can be intimidating to look out into the field of sports bloggers and try to make a standout, high-quality blog that gets you paid.
After all, there are tons of writers doing this kind of thing for free in their spare time. How is it even possible to get noticed amongst the crowd? How does a writer get their blog platform in the public eye without sacrificing a great deal of money and time?
The answer? It’s pretty tough, but it’s doable. That’s what this guide is aimed at: getting up-and-coming sports writers out of their own heads (and into the money).
Always remember this — writing for pay is possible, but it requires hard work. While everyone would like to suddenly land a job on CBS, sometimes a small start is necessary.
Ready? Let’s talk about how to become a sports blogger and make money doing it.
#1) Create Your Toolbox
The first thing to set up is a toolbox. No, not with wrenches and stuff, but with blogging software, domains, and SEO.
Blogging is a little bit like building a house.
Sure, it’s possible to just start building from the ground up, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done on the foundation before that. Blogging without setting up your toolbox is like that house — it exists, but it’s flimsy and prone to falling apart.
First, you need to choose a platform. That platform should be picked based on what it offers to you and your audience. Are you a visual blogger? Maybe Tumblr would work. If you’re primarily word-based (like most sports writers), maybe using WordPress is better.
Whatever it is, give some thought to your demographic, content, and audience.
Second, you need to figure out your domain and website. Some people don’t own their own domain because of costs, but owning a domain name can be tremendous for money. This means you can monetize your site through ads and start building your “brand.”
Lastly, you need to figure out the behind-the-scenes stuff like SEO.
Optimizing your site won’t automatically bring traffic in, but it helps to grease the wheels so that you can focus on your content. Always be mindful of SEO and how your website operates for search engines (when in doubt, it’s easy to find great guides too).
#2) Do Your Research
You might think you know all there is about your sport. Here’s the thing: even the sports blogs who seem to know everything do their research. There’s no exception.
That’s because things are always changing. Players get injured or leave the sport, managements change, and the sports themselves evolve over time.
In order to truly be a competitive sports blogger, it’s important to always stay on top of your sport’s knowledge base.
This also means researching sports blogging. Know who the top names in the field are. Who are the people you look up to and read often? How do they write their content and market it? What do they seem to be doing right?
Doing some critical thinking about top sports bloggers can help give you the inspiration and ideas necessary to carve out your own place in the market.
#3) Find Your Niche
You’ve set up your blog, optimized it, and learned all there is to know about your sport and its top bloggers.
This is the time to begin thinking about what kind of content you want to provide.
Here’s the sobering thing: there are tons of people writing sports blogs, and they’re doing it without money. That means your content needs to be a step above the rest.
This also means you need to find a niche to occupy, something different than everyone else. Without this niche, you’re another voice in a sea of voices. However, if you can find an angle you’re good at, or something you can provide that others don’t, you’ll land right in the money.
People might wonder why Starbucks is so successful. After all, there are tons of different coffee shops. But Starbucks figured out a way to engineer a coffee shop experience that’s the same every time. They even roast the beans in exactly the same way everywhere so it’s always familiar to people.
They filled their niche — where’s yours?
#4) Write Short, Write Stories, and Write a Lot
There’s one thing that writers always say when it comes to advice:
Write, write, write.
Whenever you’re feeling blocked, down, or unmotivated, write anyways. The best way to get better is by writing a lot.
Secondly, there are two rules to writing blogs that a lot of people don’t understand. They think blogs need to be formulated with a magic number of words and key phrases.
Throw that out. Remember these two simple rules when you’re writing.
Rule number one: write stories. The human brain is wired to love stories, so if you can write your sports blogs like they’re fiction stories, people will eat them up.
Rule number two: write shorter. No one wants to read a five-page blog for the same reason that a lot of people don’t want to read Moby Dick — it’s too long. Write short so your audience can skim, ready quickly, and get on with their lives.
#5) Keep Your Ears Open
This one’s easy, but it has a lot to do with maintaining a great blog.
Respond to your readers. Talk to them, keep the lines of communication open. Create a community. Listen to sports bloggers and commentators. Do everything you can to become more fluent. That’s the path to success.
Once you have content people like, they’ll want to talk to you. They want to ask questions and connect. Doing this not only builds your blog but builds a truly strong bond between your readers and yourself.
This isn’t all to it — there’s more to learn about starting blogs, of course. However,with these steps, you can start on your way to earning money with a sports blog.