Monday, December 29, 2008

There's More to Life Than Paragraphs

This article by Alisa Bowman at is a great instruction for learning to write fast. What are the main benefits from the article in my estimation, you ask? They are as follows:
  • Decide on the blog post format or article format before you begin writing. Will it be a Q&A, list, tips, or paragraph form?
  • Remember, there are other things besides your standard multi-paragraph article, see above, especially when writing for the time-starved Web audience.

It's a great article and will help you accomplish more.

Note: If you'll notice, I cleverly disguised a bulleted list in this post.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Product Reviews on Your Blog

I recently wrote a review of a set of Mizuno golf irons for another site. To be brief, I loved the irons, which were made for low-handicappers. The only, I mean the one and only, thing I could find wrong with them was that they won't work for high-handicap golfers.

The editor reviewing the article asked me if I was receiving anything from Mizuno for writing what amounted to an advertisement.

I certainly hadn't received anything for writing the piece, but it is a good illustration of the dangers inherent in writing product reviews. Certainly, we need to be honest in our assessments, and usually the final product is fair for everyone; consumer and manufacturer. Occassionally, you will review a product that is either clearly superior or inferior. No matter the side you come down on, you will get some negative feedback from anyone who disagrees. Be prepared!

In my case, I understand the editor's point of view. He wants ensure consumers get their money's worth from the product after reading my review. My task is to now re-write the piece so that it "sounds" better for all involved.

Product reviews are fun to do. You often get free stuff to use and keep, get to use the stuff at your leisure, tell everyone your opinion and generally get paid for your article. But, as I have learned after doing several reviews, you have to maintain the appearance of objectivity, even if you become a lifelong fan, or hater, of the product.

Monday, December 22, 2008

How To Get An Assignment Without A Query Letter

It's tough enough to write every day, especially if you are maintaining a blog. That makes even the thought of writing a query letter so very unappealing. Not only does the query letter have to be perfect, it has to be powerful, moving, funny, and on and on.

Yes, there are times you must write a query letter, but, as Jennie Cromie explains in this article, How To Land Assignments Without Writing Queries, there's another way!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Wicked Awesome Content

The ultimate goal for any blog is to have readers, lots of readers. Your blog might not seek monetary gain, but it does seek readers. There are a few blogs being faithfully posted to every day or every week without any attempt to reach anyone. They exist only to please the writer.

Not that there’s anything wrong with maintaining a blog as personal therapy of some sort, but most of those will reach the point of “What’s the point?”

Sports blogs are no different than any other blog; they need readers, viewers, subscribers, to survive, they need great content. Despite what some may say about what you can do with all the advice you receive, if you try to grow a blog without awesome content, make that wicked awesome content, you won’t have a blog for long.

New Blogs Face a Daily Battle

You’re reading a new blog, one that is fighting every other blog on the Net to gain attention and readers. If I don’t separate Sports Writer HQ from the pack, if I don’t make an impact among sports writers and sports bloggers, I’ll be writing about something else a year from now. I’ve done what every person who wants to reach people through a blog should do; I’ve found a group (sports writers and bloggers) that is under-served, and found that there is an audience. Now, the next logical step for me is to get people to trust this blog through great content, information they can use, information that will make a positive impact on their readership and their bank accounts.

Develop Trust

Yes, your readers need to trust you. If they come to your site and find validity in what you’re saying, if they find value in the resources you provide, and if they see the same results day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month, you have gained trust. The ONLY way you can start building a relationship with readers is to provide them with what they need, Wicked Awesome Content.

Wicked Awesome Case Studies - Here’s a golf blog that doesn’t give you scores and recaps of Tiger’s latest round. Armchair knows that any golf fan can turn on the Golf Channel or and find the same thing and much more quickly. What it does provide is timely and relevant commentary on golf news, but in a way that appeals to avid golf fans. In my opinion, Armchair's appeal lies in it’s common sense, humanity and the dry humor it applies to the golf world. Take a look at these three recent posts and you’ll have a great sense of why it attracts readers and participation through comments.

Bob Thomas: Golf Saved His Life
Harrington Gets Tiger’s Player of the Year Vote
Bad Bet for Freddie Couples

Armchair sets itself apart from many other sites by giving readers consistent posts, virtually every day. People hate to return to a blog only to see that it hasn’t been updated in weeks or even days. If they know they’re going to get fresh posts, they’re more likely to return. There are lots of blogs that do the same thing as Armchair, but not as consistently, which is a clear reason it remains successful. - Simply put, one of the most successful blogs today, yesterday, and, because blog creator Darren Rowse loves and knows what he’s doing, in the future.

In a recent interview, Rowse admitted that when he started his first blog in 2002, he had virtually no blogging or coding skills. As he stated, “I often joke about a time I had to ask another blogger how to make text bold - my understanding of html, coding, design was pretty much non existent.” How far away 2002 must seem to him.

What started as a desire to write a personal blog soon developed into a way to make some extra money, then into a part-time living, then into a full-time living, then into mega-success.

He achieved success through finding what his readers wanted, focusing on that niche (initially it was cameras) and writing killer content. Because advertisers wanted a tightly focused blog and readers who were interested in exactly what they had to sell, monetary success came. continues to deliver consistent and powerful content that bloggers want. It’s also content that aides in their success, which, for most blogs, is the bottom line.

Remember, shoot for wicked awesome content, and don’t fall short.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Every Blog Niche Is Created Equal

I, for one, believe that sports blogs are just as relevant to daily life as the next niche. Tech blogs, writing blogs, sports blogs, dust bunny blogs? All relevant and useful. The thing that sports blogs have to guard against is the perception that all they have to say is something like, "Dude, the Patriots were wicked awesome last night." That may be the case for some sports blogs. If so, it may be what its readers are searching for.

If you have readers, your blog means something to someone. Judging from the number of sports blogs, they mean a great deal to lots of people. Just as in the Great Depression (today's economy doesn't quite get us there, yet), sports, movies, music, all served as an escape from the pain and toil of daily life. You're blog may be doing just fine talking about the Wicked Awesome Patriots. That may be what brings in your target audience and keeps them around.

You may have lots of fans and readers, but keep in mind that you are filling a need. Listening to what they want is critical to maintaining your readership and relevance.

If your blog is struggling, losing readers and subscribers, or failing to gain a foothold, try some new things. Expand from box scores and game recaps, after all, readers can get that from ESPN or other well-known outlets. They may want something more from you; something on which they can agree, something with which they disagree, something controversial. It's your job to find what that "something" is.

You may have a blog for your own personal gratification, but if you have readers, you have a responsibility to them. When times are tough for many, like today, a sports blog, tech blog, dust bunny blog, or whatever niche your blog serves, becomes more important to its readers. Unless, of course, you have no interest in how many people see your blog.

Fill the needs with wicked awesome content and your blog will begin to thrive.

The Sports Blogger Marketer

If you plan to earn a good income from your sports blog, you had better learn some marketing skills, too. At least that's what David Risley, guest poster at proposes in this post: How a Blogger Creates a REAL Full-Time Income.

I must say, I tend to agree

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Non-Conformity in a Sports Blog?


I was just reading a non-sports related blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, which was recommended by a follower on Twitter. More specifically, I was reading how the writer/editor of the blog, Chris Guillebeau, defines non-conformity; “a lack of orthodoxy in thoughts or beliefs” or “the refusal to accept established customs, attitudes, or ideas.”

Certainly, a reckless application of non-conformity often results in black lipstick and a chain running from nose to earlobe, not that there's anything wrong with that. Let's just say it can lead to misunderstanding. Misunderstanding, when you're trying to establish a successful blog, or any business, can lead to very few readers (customers).

Wise use of non-conformity can lead to your blog emerging from the pack and forging ahead of everyone else.

It's usually the first mover in any field that enjoys the most prosperity and name recognition. Who was the second company in YouTube's corner of the Net? Some technology fans may know, but most don't recall and never knew. How about MySpace's competitors? You could say that Facebook and Twitter do the same things as MySpace, but they all fill social networking needs differently.

Facebook and Twitter didn't simply mimic a predecessor, they forged their own identities. As a sports blog editor, you can ensure the look, content, multimedia, posts, guests, name, use of available marketing tools, everything is uniquely yours and recognizable as yours. Your vision and passion for your topic can show through in every part of your blog. That vision and passion is what will set you apart, if used wisely.

Mimicry of a popular site, just because it's popular, can mean certain death for your blog.

Monday, December 15, 2008

My Dream Sports Job

Traveling, reviewing golf courses, resorts, spas, great destinations; sounds like a dream job. Have a look at this job posting in the Sports forums.

Seriously, it sounds like a great job and it's for, one of the biggest and best golf sites.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tremendous Video from New Media Expo Keynote

Not a sports writer, though he admittedly loves sports, Gary Vaynerchuck presents a ton of excellent points in his keynote address at the New Media Expo a few months ago. Watch the video below. It's pretty long, but worth the time.

Community and Contact, folks. It's all about community and contact, and content, of course.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Great Tip on Twitter

In the tradition of, 140 characters or less(from here on).

TwiTip, Twitter tips blog by Darren Rowse, gives some great advice for people looking to market stuff.

Under 140, told you so.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Interview with Sports Anchor Mary Jo Perino

What is the secret to getting a big interview? Most of the time, it’s simply asking for it. What you do with it from there is the real key.

Recently, I asked Mary Jo Perino, former CNN sports anchor and presently one of the most popular sports anchors in the Lexington, Kentucky market, for a brief interview. Her obvious love of her profession shows through in her broadcasts on NBC affiliate WLEX-Channel 18, and in the relationship she has with sports figures in Central Kentucky and the nation. What she brings to her profession, and to interviewing, made her a natural choice for someone to illustrate the topic of interviewing skills. She graciously agreed to my request and below are the results.

HQ: For some writers, interviewing isn’t something they like. Is it something you enjoy doing?

MJP: Besides going to the sporting events, doing interviews is the best part of my job. I love talking to people and that’s exactly what I think makes the best interview, when your just having a conversation. I’ve gotten to meet so many people through this job because of interviews so yes, I love it!

HQ: What is the most difficult thing about interviewing for you?

MJP: The most difficult thing is not having enough time. In the television business, you are on a tight deadline. A lot of times you have to get your three questions in and get out. There are so many interesting stories to tell and we just don’t always get the time to find out what those stories are.

HQ: What was your worst moment during an interview or what made your worst interview "the worst interview"?

MJP: Luckily I don’t really have any horror stories (at least not yet). When I got the chance to interview Mike Tyson, it was not long after he had made some pretty ugly comments to another female reporter, so I must admit I was a bit timid with that one and probably should have done a better job asking questions. When I worked for CNN, I had the opportunity to interview some big time athletes, but once again only had three questions to ask. With some of those, one of the questions had to be about something the athlete was pushing. For example, I had three questions with Arizona Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart and one of them had to be about his new Sprint ringtone. Same thing with John McEnroe, only that was about his partnership with Direct TV. For obvious reasons (wink, wink) it was a little off-putting the first time I did a lockeroom interview. Being in a room full of naked men isn’t conducive to maintaining concentration the first time out!

HQ: Who has been your best interview and what made it so?

MJP: I’ve gotten to interview some wonderful people. Tayshaun Prince has always been very kind and has never rushed me in an interview. Ramel Bradley always told you what was on his mind, I love that. Rich Brooks is also very warm and easy-going. I can’t recall specific interviews that were the best, but I remember the stories. The former softball coach at UK has a daughter with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and I have been to their home twice for interviews and been inspired both times.

HQ: In your position, do you get to adequately prepare for your interviews?

MJP: In short, the answer is sometimes. Most of the interviews I do now are immediately following a game, so you have to be thinking of questions to ask while the game is going on, and then be quick on your feet afterwards.

HQ: If you could only do one thing in preparation for an interview, what would that be?

MJP: It’s unrealistic, but I’d like to talk to the person’s mother before the interview. Get the real story!

HQ: What makes the Vikings the greatest NFL franchise ever? (She’s a transplanted Minnesotan in Big Blue Country)

MJP: That’s a great question! I wish it were true! While I love the Vikings with all my heart, I can’t call them the greatest franchise because they’ve never won a Super Bowl! We, and yes I say we, had our chances in the 70’s with the Purple People Eaters, but it never happened. Lately, we’ve had the Love Boat scandal and a decade of mediocrity. BUT… someday, I hope I can answer that questions with SEVERAL reasons why the Vikings are the greatest franchise!

So, regardless of whether you’re a broadcast journalist or a writer, time is always of the essence. Mary Jo enjoys the gift of being able to have a conversation with her interviewees while extracting the information she wants and needs. The skill of engaging an interviewee in conversation can be a great tool for putting them at ease and having a candid interview. It’s also a skill that, for most, takes a lot of practice.

Note: I hope McEnroe, Lienert and others who insist at least one question is about the product they're pushing are required to do so by their sponsors. Otherwise, I've lost some love for 'em.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top-10 Independent Sports Blogs of 2008 Contest

Now through December 31, 2008, Sports Writer HQ will be taking nominations for the Top-10 Independent Sports Blogs of 2008.

Lest ye be confused, the contest has nothing to do with the amount of traffic a blog receives each day, week, month, millennium, or age (as in Stone Age or Iron Age). The closest thing to traffic that will be looked at is blog post comments.

The contest is limited to independent blogs, thus the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall in the photo. No blogs that are a part of news organizations (CNN, ESPN, Fox, New York Times, etc.) will be considered, even if the blog is written and managed by one person. Also, no blogs supported by other corporate sites.

The only blogs that will be evaluated are those that stand alone among the masses, independent, personal, one-man or one-woman shows, or a group of affiliated bloggers/writers, etc.

Qualities that will be evaluated are content, aesthetics, ease of navigation, multimedia usage, participation from readers, interaction with readers by the publisher(s), evergreen posts (those that have a chance of remaining relevant for years to come), and other intangible things that simply make a great blog.

The winner and each of the top-10 will receive a nice little logo to place on their site. They'll also be mentioned, along with a description/story of their site in the winner announcement post. Winners will be announced January 5, 2009. Sorry, but unless some corporate benefactor steps forward, there will be no further "prize package".

If you would like to nominate a favorite sports-related blog (yes, you may nominate your own), send an email to

No blog with which I am affiliated or actively promote on this site will be eligible to participate in the contest. Winner selection will be selected at the sole discretion of Sports Writer HQ team.

This will be great! I look forward to seeing the nominations.

Click here to get The Blog Profits Blueprint

Monday, December 8, 2008

Multimedia-ing Your Sports Blog

Or, as Frank Caliendo as President Bush might say, "multimedification."

There are lots of great sports sites with tons of interesting information. Many blogs and Web sites are key sources of insider information about the teams and sports they follow. That's all both a blessing and a curse. A blessing if you're a reader, a curse if you're the publisher. Why? Because the competition for readers is stiff.

In order to separate your Web site or blog from the pack, you need to do something special, something memorable that will bring people back to you and have them spread the word.

I know. You have a site full of "some high-quality H2O." You have great blog posts and articles, maybe even info that no one else has. That's great, but what I'm getting at is this - so does everyone else. Plus, what you're increasingly competing against are blogs that have, in addition to superior content, some cool, valuable multimedia components. Keep putting out good content in a text format and you'll see your readers dwindle over time. Add one or two multimedia components and word will spread about you.

Not a sports site, but take a look at, a site ran by Cali Lewis and her husband, Neal Campbell. It's one of the most popular sites of its kind. Text articles are essentially non-existent at, replaced by video. Even though it's full of video content, but it isn't confusing or cluttered (like ESPN's site!), it's one of the cleanest I've ever seen. With its popularity, it's an example of how great multimedia content on the web can help you gain a huge following.

You don't need to go to that extreme, even the GeekBrief blog continues to include text posts alongside video and some other applications.

The nice thing about video, if the content of your video is as good as the quality of your text content (which is excellent), is that your stuff will be much more likely to hit YouTube, Facebook, gain a following on Twitter, etc. The social networking sites have the potential effect of innundating you with traffic.

I'm in the process of implementing some new multimedia blog features here; a whole new look and location, too. My newsletter is capturing an initial core group and multimedia will bring in the second wave.

If you've followed this blog, you'll know I am no techie, to the contrary. But, you don't need to be a guru to start putting up some original video content.

Neither is it expensive. You already have a computer and Internet connection. All you need now is a web cam, a mic, and video editing software. I haven't seen it, but is reportedly a great place to go to get your video online (thus the name of their website).

Just this one new addition to your site, combined with participation in forums and social networking sites, will get your site rolling.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Holiday Season Word of Thanks

As many of you know, I published my ebook The One-Minute Golf Writer: Golf Writing for Fun and Profit (Mostly Profit), a couple of months ago. Since this is the holiday season, I'd like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has purchased it.

I wish there was a more personal way of saying thanks, because I put a lot of work into the book and it feels good when people buy and like it.

It's my sincere hope that OMGW gets you started toward a new career, revenue stream, business, or new life. It was certainly meant to do so.

Thanks for reading the ebook and thanks for reading this blog. Happy Holidays!

Click here to watch The Conversion Blogging Video

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Unique Mission of Sports Writer HQ

For no other reason than I simply want to, I'd like to mention the mission of this blog.

Sports Writer HQ is part sports, part writing, part business. Freelance sports writing is not limited to game coverage, sport-specific writing, player profiles, and sports news; neither is this blog.

Since beginning my nano-business as a freelance golf writer, I have learned there are a myriad of possibilities with sports writing. Sure, you can cover all of the typical sports topics mentioned above, but as a freelancer, you could go broke. If you want to do that, if you're passionate about it, a sports writing "purist", hit it hard. It will be fulfilling.

If, like me, you're in it because you love sports or a sport, see the income potential and want to find your particular niche, then you're open to a lot of different ideas and concepts. That's what I am trying to provide here. As I experience things, whatever they may be and however they may relate to freelance sports writing, I will lay them out here. You'll see what works (for me), what doesn't work (for me) and through that information, you may see what you can do better than I do. You may see my mistakes and turn my failures into successes for you. I certainly hope so.

As the blog grows, I hope to see more comments, more questions and requests from readers to post their own articles here. I truly want it to be a great resource.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How Football Explains America

I just did a Google search for ESPN Analyst Sal Paolantonio's new book, How Football Explains Americaand there was tons of everything from good reviews to scathing, rambling, juvenile junk. What that tells me is, at the very least, it's a good book.

In fact, in my opinion, How Football Explains America is an outstanding example of sports writing combined with a brief history of America. Disclaimer: I am a former History major, as is, as I understand, Paolantonio.

Yes, it was well written; you would expect that most things published in print are. It also provided a viable argument for how what we know as "football" came into being, and how it arrived at it's present state.

In short, according to How Football Explains America the Battle of Midway, Manifest Destiny, American heritage, American culture, everything that is America, is reflected in today's game.

If you want to read a great sports book, one of the best in some time, and you want to be a better sports writer for having read it, this is the one.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Celebrity Sportscaster Interview

Let me take just a moment to speak to the Kentucky Wildcat faithful everywhere, certainly those in Central and Eastern Kentucky. In a week or so, I will be posting (after my newsletter readers see it) my interview with former CNN Sports Anchor, and current WLEX anchor, Mary Jo Perino.

She's one of the bright spots in our local sports market and a great supporter of Wildcat sports.

I will be talking to her about interviewing, the differences and similarities between broadcasting and sports writing, connecting with the audience, and anything else that comes to mind.

It will beneficial to all sports writers, not just Big Blue fans. If you want to see it first, in the "unpublished" form, join the newsletter mailing list. The link is in the right hand column. It's free.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Think Your Blog is Successful Now? Just Wait.

I rarely recommend products. Take a look at this blog and you'll see only four products, one of which is my own, and another is what I'm telling you about here.

The only way I will offer a product on this or any of my sites is if I: 1) have first-hand knowledge of it; and 2) it will be of great benefit to those who purchase it. There's enough crap "Make Money Fast!" scams out there to fill the Gulf of Mexico, I don't want to extend that any further. What I'm getting at is if I risk my name by recommending it, it had better be outstanding! Blog Mastermind is just that, outstanding.

Yaro Starak publishes a business blog, You'll see a link to it in the blog roll. It has a Google PageRank of 5, which is fantastic for a blog and it has great content. I hadn't been making a push to make my blogs fiscally successful until I began reading his blog and a few others. I recently finished his report on making a succesful blog. I had been wanting to share it with you, but I had to wait to see the results. Now I can do it. I sent this info to my email list this morning, but couldn't wait any longer to put it out to everyone.

Yaro is a professional blogger who claims to make over $5000 USD per month from his blog. Blog Mastermind is his mentoring program for people who want to earn a full time income from blogging part time.

Now, I'm always skeptical of lofty claims, but, seeing my own results, it is highly unlikely that he is making up his figures. There's a free download to get you started, but the real meat of the program is in the Blog Mastermind Program.

I recommend it and hope it does as well for your sports blog, cooking blog, lawn care blog, whatever, as it has for me. Let me know how you do. I can't wait to hear. Click here to join the Blog Mastermind Mentoring Program

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Do You Own a Blog? Well, This is a Great Idea.

I've stumbled across a blog called Feverbee. It isn't a sports blog, but it is, according to many, one of the best business-to-business (b2b) blogs on the Net.

How it relates here is found in this blog post, VIP In The Building.

What a great idea! Having a VIP guest, either in an online discussion period, or even to be a guest writer, can give your traffic (and income) a boost. Perfect for a sports blog!

For example, I live in a town of about 250,000 with the state's second largest newspaper and three of the largest television stations. Convincing one of the local sports writers or sportscasters to make an appearance on this blog, accompanied by mention of the appearance on the paper's/TV station's website could be golden!

I'll test it out and let you know how it goes in the next few weeks.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The One Key to Writing Success?

Is there one key, one personal quality you should possess to be a success? If so, it is resilience. Here's a fantastic article by Mary Jaksch, a writer for the Lifehack blog about just that.

Resilience: The Key to Surviving Anything

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Rejection Opportunity

Or, more accurately, Rejection=Opportunity.

I handle rejection from potential clients, editors, etc. very well, after the initial "I can't believe that (insert expletive, like "big dummy", "insensitive jerk", "mister smarty-pants") moron calls himself an editor," and "What lowly vermin would turn down my proposal."

If you've ever voiced such opinions to the "rejector", you have certainly lost a potential client for eternity. In this economy, that's bad.

If you have responded with no response at all, you may have accomplished the same thing.

If you responded with an email/card/letter thanking the person for her time, providing you with tools to improve your work, the opportunity, and wishing them all the best, then you have left the door open for a future collaboration.

Even better, follow it up with a card around the next holiday, just to keep you on her mind. When the next opportunity arises, and she sees your proposal, you will get a closer look than the others.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Pencil is Truly Mighty!

For a writer, web-publisher, or entrepreneur, being organized is a key to getting things done. Many a project, article, business, undertaking has fallen flat before getting started due to our inability to organize thoughts and put them into action. That being the case, todoodlist will potentially change your life.

At the very least, it will give you a clarity you didn't have before, unless you were previously a CPA and you were supremely organized from birth. If you are like me, you need the help. This is that help.

There are plenty of other books at Amazon or Borders that have garnered a lot of press, but this little tome beats them all. todoodlist is the only one that has helped me (as you can see from my more regular posting here at SportsWriterHQ) and I love it for that.

It's only 14 bucks, so give todoodlist a try. I wouldn't give it such high praise unless it can deliver the goods. With the new productivity and earning capacity you will possess, you'll probably be able to buy the rights to it before long.

Put down the PDA and pick up a pencil!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Writing in a New Stream

All of this recession talk has had the effect of making me feel as if I'm in a race for my financial well-being. I know it's not that bad, but it has had some constructive implications. Case in point, I'm now acting on some things that had previously been on the back-burner. Most notably, a potential new income stream based upon newsletter publication on behalf of golf clubs, pros, and so on.

Essentially, I am contacting golf clubs with a sales letter describing the benefits of a regular newsletter and how it can impact their own revenue stream. My role is to be the person that compiles and distributes the newsletter, with minimal requirement from my potential clients.

I'm offering the service at a very fair price, considering that they can generate income from the newsletter in several ways: increased sales, increased play, advertising revenue, and so on.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Key to Getting BIG Sports Interviews

From the outset, I'd like to say my idea of a big interview is somewhat smaller than what Rich Eisen would call a big interview. But, by using ProfNet, which I acess via, I have been able to get a number of quality interviews.

As a media user of ProfNet, you simply place a query requesting information on whatever your topic may be, and, in my experience, you will soon be inundated with top-quality lead on interviews. As I'm a freelance golf fitness writer (as well as many other facets of the golf world), I have been able to gain interviews from professional golfers, leading physicians, instructors, and fitness experts.

There's no charge for media access to ProfNet. If you're serious about writing, it's an indespensible tool.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Eschew Obfuscation in Sports Writing

In virtually all writing for public consumption, for that matter.

There are only a few things worse than trying to read the sports page or a sports-related magazine and discovering the sports writer thinks he's below quota on ten-dollar words. I want the sports. I may even want your opinion. I do not want to know the extent of your vocabulary. I think most readers are like me.

There are scholarly journals where "big words" are completely at home, but not in a column about how fans shouldn't boo Joe College after he's thrown his third interception in one game. I believe it's a fatal mistake for a writer, particularly a freelancer who doesn't have the security of a full-time position with the publication.

Just as you would take care to be grammatically correct, also know your audience and what they want or don't want.

Just one man's opinion.

Click here to watch The Conversion Blogging Video

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Most Common Writing Mistake

According to freelance writer extraordinaire, Bob Bly, the most common writing mistake you can make is not possessing a wide knowledge and deep understanding of your subject. He says, "...if you lack mastery of your topic, your writing willl be vague, unfocused and have little value, credibility, and authority."

To combat this, Bly says, among other things, you should simply educate yourself. If you're writing about something, anything, it generally means you have an interest in the subject, particularly if you are a freelancer. That being the case, it shouldn't be too difficult to deepen your knowledge.

After gaining the requisite knowledge of your subject, according to Bly, organize your content for maximum impact, make your subject clear to the reader, and polish your prose.

Friday, August 8, 2008

If you're looking for freelance, or full- or part-time writing work, have a look at the job search feature on The site has been around since 1999 and the job search engine appears to pull postings from all around the web. A simple search for "sports" turned up a huge amount of results.

There's also a section heading for "Sports Writing Jobs." This may very well be a go-to site for your freelance or other sports writing job hunt. It's free, which is always good.

From what I've seen, I'll give it a five-star recommendation. There's a reason it's been around for almost a decade.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Podcasting as Sportswriting?

If you're a regular user of Sportswriter HQ, you probably spend a considerable amount of time thinking of new and innovative ways to break into sportswriting, or at least to make some money from writing.

Consider podcasting. If not your own podcast, possibly writing for another sports-related podcast. It will take some research time to find some podcasts (which will be partially done for you in our next post here). Then, you'll need to contact the creator/publisher of the podcast to make your pitch to submit material.

It may be long shot, but it is at least worth a try, since podcasting, like blogging, isn't going away; only getting stronger and more widespread. In fact, it may be more to your benefit to create and publish your own podcast. A simple search for golf related podcasts has revealed a few, but not many, out there. I'm sure the same goes for many other sports.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Great Career Resource for Sports Writers

If you're looking for full- or part-time sportswriting employment, is a great place to look. It has a wide variety of job postings and, from the number of postings, is widely accepted and used by all forms of sports-related franchises, publications, organizations and businesses as a "go-to" place to post jobs.

It is a pay site, but from the look of it, it is well worth the money. A one-week trial (with some free bonuses included) is available for $9.95. A full membership, month-to-month, is $29.95; six months membership is $79; and a year can be had for $99.

Give it a look. By the way, this blog has no connection to It just looks like a great site.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

New E-book for Freelance Sportswriters

For those of you who may want to break into writing about sports, I have written an e-book about the process. The One Minute Golf Writer is a guide for starting a rewarding career as a freelance sportswriter. Although it is directed at people looking to write about golf, it is also perfect for any sports discipline, or any profession, for that matter.

It takes you from the beginning stages, answering such questions as "Who can become a freelance writer?," to "Can I write well enough?," to "How long will it take to begin making money?," plus many others.

The One Minute Golf Writer shows readers (and listeners; there's an audio CD, too) how to find work, the types of writing they can do, case studies, interviews with other writers, how much they might earn for different projects, and so on.

Have a look for yourself at

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Freelance Writer Not Afraid to Go Against the Grain

Here's a great example of a writer not being afraid to write something that flies in the face of conventional thought. writer Brandon Tucker has placed a somewhat new twist, certainly a forceful one, on why Tiger Woods is so successful. A well-written and well-supported article. Have a look at "It's the golf courses - not the lack of competition - that makes Tiger Woods unstoppable on the PGA Tour."

Don't be afraid to put forth your own opinion. Just do like Tucker has done, make sure to support your claims.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Finding Sportswriting Assignments

If you're a beginning freelancer, one of your first questions may be, "Where do I find sportswriting jobs/assignments?" There are several ways.

One way is to find a site like (discussed in an earlier post). is a large, general interest website with several sections, one of which is the Sports section. With Suite 101, and others like it, you can apply to become a writer. Pay for your work depends on revenue sharing from ads placed on your articles. The more traffic to your articles, the more money you should make. If you go this route, most of your income will come after you have built up a portfolio and traffic to your articles. There are sites that pay per article rather than the revenue share model. There are advantages to both. With, your main benefit, at least initially, is the legitimacy that writing for them will provide. That legitimacy will lead to other, higher paying jobs, with persistence, of course.

Another route you can take is with sites that let you bid on job postings. The website typically accepted as the best of these is On Elance, you join, post a profile and examples of your work (optional) and bid on writing or other projects that fit your interest and ability. As with anything, being selected for projects come more readily once you've established a good rating and a few completed projects. Most anytime, you can find sports-related projects that need good writers on Elance.

Whatever road you decide to take in beginning your freelance writing career, beware of avenues. For example, there are other job posting sites that aren't as respected as Elance. At Elance, you can join free of charge or pay for premium placement when bidding, and several other perks, which has the effect of weeding out low bidders (someone who offers to write full articles for $2 or $3 each, often possibly using programs that re-write the work of others quickly). Some other sites are more conducive to such people.

Most online writing will pay less than print publications, but it is financially worthwhile and your portfolio is growing all the while.

Here's a link to the articles I've written on, just to give you an idea of what can be done in a year - Golf Feature Writer Articles. I published nearly 100 articles last year, and that wasn't even near the top on Suite 101.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sports-Related Press Release Writing

One of the innumerable ways to put your interest and knowledge about your favorite sport(s) to work is through press release writing.

There are a number of companies related to sports in some fashion. Tons of websites, web companies, fitness centers, businesses hosting charity sports events, etc., need knowledgeable experts to help promote their sports-related events. If you know and love your sport, learn to write press releases.

Sports press release writing does entail a bit more than, say, an in depth knowledge of golf, or basketball, or tennis, for example. Writers should obtain a fair amount of knowledge of written sales techniques, since that is essentially what you will be doing. They should also learn about the companies for which they will be writing.

For tons of press release samples, visit and You'll have to register, but it's free and they'll be great resources for the future.

Another good reason to branch out, or specialize, in sports press releases is the pay is often better. Companies stand to make a lot of money from getting the word out, as a result, they are often willing to pay for a great, impactful press release.

Further your sportswriting reach, learn to write sports press releases.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Blogs: A Great Way to Promote Your Writing

Sure, blogs are a dime a dozen. A penney a dozen is more like it these days. But, there are comparatively few that offer great content for their readers. Establishing a blog with solid content that is useful to readers/users is a welcome site.

They are also great places to promote and link to your other work. Also, the more inbound links to your articles, the higher the Google PageRank, which shows the popularity of your work and impacts the search engine ranking. Every web page is ranked by Google. Each page has a ranking from 0 to 10. The higher the better. One way to increase is through linking.

Linking provides you with needed page views, which means more readers, possible ad revenue, popularity, etc.

If you already have some articles/an article on the Net, set up a blog. It's free. With blogspot, you can place your own ads, Google Adsense, or some other ad server and earn income from it. It won't be much at first, but handled in the right way and with determination, it will be.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Sportswriting Goes Further than Article Writing

It's always great to get your work published. Today, there are lots of options for submitting your work for publication; websites, newspapers, magazines, blogs, etc.

There's also corporate writing. Whatever your chosen sport(s), you can be certain there are businesses that need your help. For example, I have completed several projects for a company that produces and sells golf instructional videos. They also maintain a mailing list to which regular newsletters are sent. For that company, I have written extensive reports about various aspects of golf.

As another illustration, I have completed writing projects for a company that manages several golf resorts in the United States and around the world.

With a little imagination, you can find these companies. Finding them is a big step to getting work from them. When you're starting out as a sportswriter, those corporate writing paychecks are generally much larger than those for the traditional article for publication.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Great Online Sportswriting Outlets II

Aside from, another good place to write is Although they don't offer positions such as "Feature Writer," they do have some perks.

A smaller site than, is growing and articles enjoy good readership. Usually it seems, the more articles you write for a particular site, the better your search engine ranking (especially if you're interlinking articles, marketing on social networking sites, forums, blogs, etc.)goes up. At, my page views began receiving good traffic right away.

Another perk is that writers are purported to get 50% of the ad revenue earned from click-throughs on articles. There's a twist to the 50% rule. Say one click-through from one of your articles earns .50, you don't get .25 and gets .25. The rule is that half the time you get the click throughs and half the time HTDT gets it. In other words, on a particular page load, it might be your turn to get all ad revenue for that page load, or it might be's turn. I haven't gotten a good explanation for when it's my turn and when it's theirs.

Everything considered, it's a great place to write. They've featured one of my articles on their home page, How to Get Golf Lessons, and plan to feature my profile there as well. Both are good boosts to traffic. They're a pleasure to work with and responsive to questions. Good site for which to write.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Great Sportwriting Outlets for Beginning (and Experienced) Freelancers

If you want to become a freelancer, or you're simply looking for new outlets for your writing, there are some good places to explore. Over the next several days, I'll be providing my experience with some of them. Here's the first: - In my experience,'s three major advantages are as follows:

1) They don't let just anyone become a writer. There is an application process. Prospective writers need to have a background in their chosen area and they have to submit sample pieces that meet standards. This gives the site a higher degree of egitimacy.

2) They offer Feature Writer positions for people who publish regulary and with some longevity. Writers are eligible to become a Feature Writer after publishing 10 articles.

3) Great search engine placement. has been around for some time and they have earned a good reputation. Although much is dependent upon the writer in doing his/her "keyword" part, 7 million page views per month is a big boost.

I've enjoyed great success with's golf section over the past year. My Feature Writer position has added immesureable legitimacy to my freelancing career. is certainly worth your time.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sportswriter HQ is LIVE!

This is the first post on what will become a top resource for freelance sportswriters. From novices pounding away at the keyboard and learning the ropes, to seasoned veterans looking for leads and new information, Sportswriter HQ will be the Net's home base.

Please, contribute what you know about freelance sportswriting, ask questions about what you don't know, and comment on what you see here (good or bad). After all, any information about sportwriting will be appreciated and used by someone.

Come back often and let's all have some fun and succeed together!