All You Need to Know About Sports Writing

You must have heard about SEO writing, technical writing, medical writing and other types of digital copywriting. But sports writing is one aspect that hasn’t been harnessed enough. The good part about it is that you don’t have to use lots of vocabulary and technical terms. You just have to understand the particular sport you’re writing on and ways analyse every game to the admiration of the fans.

What exactly is sports writing? This involves the reporting of sporting events, competitions, news about athletes and other sports related topics. These reports are usually filled with quotes from the losers and winners,  analysis of what goes on in the field of play and different aspects of the sporting business. To become a sports writer, you need to first of all have passion for different sports and be able to put them into words that speaks to fans and analysts alike. To help you kick-start and develop, here’s all you need to know how a sports copy should be like and what it takes to be a sports writer.

Places a Sports Writer can Work

1. A Copywriting Agency

There are lots of copywriting agencies who hire professional writers for different projects. Same way they would need a medical writer and technical writer, they also need a sports writer for their sport related jobs. You can also be hired by a sports brand for a period of time while with your agency.

2. Freelance Writing

You can decide to write for any and every sporting company or brand that needs your services. However, you need learn how to negotiate writing prices and if possible, incorporate content marketing into the services you offer.

3. A Media House

There are lots of TV and radio stations who require the services of sport writers to produce news content and articles for broadcast. You can also work as a columnist for a newspaper or sports magazine.

Finally, being a sport writer doesn’t require any formal certification or qualifications. However, some countries have Sports Writer’s Associations where copywriters can meet under a regulated body and network, share ideas and support each other. That being said, endeavour to develop your writing skills like every other copywriter would.

Develop as a Sports Writer

Developing as a sports writer involves having knowledge of different sports, conducting lots of research, being able to connect with fans and being creative. Here’s a breakdown of the skills you need.

1. An understanding of the Sports industry

The sports industry is a multi-billion dollar sector of the economy. There are different entities and businesses that make up the system. From sponsorship, legal, communication and sales departments to marketing and many more, you need to know how the sporting business works to enable you provide adequate reports. However, you can be writing on a particular topic and it has to cover other areas within and outside the sports environment.

For instance, an article on “the richest football clubs in Europe” will have to include a bit of how the top 5 European leagues work – the EPL, La Liga, Ligue 1, Bundesliga and the Serie A. You also need to talk about ticket sales, sponsorship, how much they pay as tax, how they make profit and the players plying their trade therein.

Sports writing isn’t just about football. You also need to have an in-depth knowledge of the other kinds of sports and events. From rugby, basketball, hockey, running, formula One, cricket, baseball, handball, volleyball and swimming to the Olympics, the World Cup and IAAF events. This because when you aren’t sure of a particular topic or sport, you are likely to mislead the reader. You need to understand the terminologies used in each sport and their lingo. Follow industry trends to keep the fans informed.

2. Carry out Research

A lot of sports enthusiasts enjoy basking in the euphoria of their fanatism without knowing what is right. But as a sport writer, you have to research extensively to find out all the facts revolving around a story. Writing should be sensational, but not based on gossip, rumours and conspiracy theories. This is because anyone reading the content needs to get the right information. If it’s a topic about doping, you should research on the drugs used and their effects on the health of the athlete. If it’s a court injunction against a team, you need to research on the documents and possibly find out what the law says about a case like that.

3. Being able to connect with the reader

No matter your niche if copywriting, it’s always wise to create content with the reader in mind. You are targeting a particular audience. Therefore, the content should provide information, tips or should add to the sporting entertainment they seek. It has to keep the reader engaged and make the want to read more. Many people who follow stories have their favorite writers and columnists. Therefore, endeavour to create a following by captivating the audience with incisive analysis of events.

4. Be Creative

When internet users put in certain keywords you find information about a particular topic, they are likely to come across lots of columns saying pretty much the same thing. But as a sports writer, it’s your job to see every topic from an entirely different angle. You can also have a different opinion. But while at it, do not debate based on sentiments but in facts from the research and observations you have. This will also affect how the reader will see the topic – regardless of their own opinions. Do not join the bandwagon of other sports writers, just to sound like them. In fact, look for ways to spark certain speculations. Be original while at it.

5. Have a good command of English

Every type of copywriting requires basic command of English language. Whether you’re writing for the stock exchange market, an e-book on neurology or a blog post about the Ballon D’or, you need to be able to convert events into words. Being a sports writer doesn’t stop you from cross checking you copy for typos and grammatical errors. There are online tools every other writer uses in checking for such mistakes. Use them as well – you just never who’s reading. A report once stated that sponsors of football clubs in Europe now hire their own sport writers to produce content for their website and press release. You can’t get such deals if your command of the English language is poor.

6. Be Tech Savvy

There are a lot of applications and softwares that have been developed to make writing easier. From stock image sites to grammar checkers and pages that display the latest trends, you now have options to choose from to make your copy better. But you also need to know how to use these tools. Furthermore, as a sports writer you are also a reporter and a journalist. Learn how to use a digital recorder for interviews and to record events as they unfold. Practice the act of transcribing what was recorded into writing without missing out any key moment or statement.

Developing Sports content

1. Have a Captivating headline and Intro

Just like every other kind of copywriting, your headings and intro needs to captivate the mind and eyes of the reader. In sports writing, the most important part of the report is the score. Fans want to know if their favorite team won, who scored the winning goal and the most goals, what did it take for them to win and what’s next after the victory. If their team lost, they would like to know the effect the loss will have. Here’s an example:

Heading: “Arsenal Loses at home to 10-man Manchester United side”

Intro: “The English Premier League was live over the weekend, and the star match of the day between Arsenal and Manchester United ended 3-1 in favour of the Red Devils. With brace from United’s winger, Jesse Lingard, and a consolatory goal from the Gunner’s most expensive forward (Lacazzete), Jose Mourinho’s team are still in the race to win the 2017/2018 EPL trophy”.

2. Provide More information in the Content

With the above intro, anyone looking for information about the game and even other matches that were played will be compelled to read more. Since it was a home game, fans will want to know what else happened in the game. On the other hand, you must not be stuck with just matches – as you can diversify into other aspects of sports. For example, there are investors who would love to research on sports business online and wouldn’t know where to look. When they Google keywords like “football teams to buy” or “sporting events to sponsor”, they should come across content that gives them the necessary information they seek.

3. Use Quotes

In as much as sports involves more action than talking, fans want to know what their favorite athletes or coaches are saying. They also want to hear about what sponsors are doing to support their favorite teams and so on. Endeavor to attend or watch sporting events often to keep yourself updated on what those involved are saying.

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