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.