The Importance of Social Media as an Amateur Sports Journalist

The title of sports journalist has become easier to obtain in the age of the internet. One can simply sign up with a website host or join a small blog. Now, this does not delegitimize one’s talent to write but expresses the ease of today’s sports media environment.

Before getting to the meat of this, amateur writers must understand one thing: although the content written about is good, that alone will not make your content more attractive to the public. One must take the initiative when making their work visible.

Although a writer may find it easy to find a platform to display their work, many fail in taking the extra step to promote their content.

In the world of media, there are two things that rule.

The first is clicks.

The legitimacy of a writer or blog comes through the amount of traffic they receive. The more traffic the writer or blog accumulates, the more people begin to recognize the names behind the content.

The second thing is revenue, which is made through how successful you are in rule one.
If you own a blog with plenty of revenue coming in, more serious journalists will want to write for you. The same could be said of a journalist; if you attract readers, larger outlets will be willing to offer more.

One won’t happen without the other. Certain ad networks (with the exception of Google) will not accept a website or blog until it consistently breaks a certain traffic threshold. Taboola, which provides the ads for Fox Sports, NBC and USA Today, expects a minimum of 500,000 views per month in order to join their network.

Social Media As A Branding Tool

Social media is the perfect branding tool for a journalist. Websites such as Facebook and Twitter provide writers a platform to share their work with their friends and followers. The trick would then to be to reach the largest audience possible. In terms of website traffic, social media is the #1 driver of all referral traffic with 31%.

In the case for Facebook, which makes up for about a quarter of referral traffic, the least one could do is share their content through a like page and with their friends. The next step would be joining group pages. Through experience with other writers, the most successful at obtaining new readers shared in dozens of pages.

As for Twitter, things can get a little tricky. Targeting other writers and accounts related to what you may have written about works. Through my experience, many amateur sports journalists tend to support each other by retweeting content shared with them. Creating a network essentially builds a rapport between you, your counterparts and potential readers linked to them.

Twitter and Facebook are the two most popular social media outlets for personal branding especially if your focus is writing. Instagram, Reddit and Tumblr (just to name a few) may also present themselves as worthy places to share content on. The point is to aim for large audiences.

As owner of TheAOSN.com, we’ve accumulated over 20,000 followers on Twitter and 5,500 likes on Facebook. Although those numbers sound great for a growing website, they do not directly translate into traffic. Because of this, I urge writers to share their own content as instructed above. It allows them to engage directly with potential readers and puts their face next to their work.

Make your content visible. There has never been a larger market for an amateur journalist and sports are always happening. Utilize social media to its full extent.

This post was written by the owner and lead editor of The AOSN.

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Marisa Cali