Everything an aspiring sports writer needs to know

When many people are looking online at writing jobs, the terms technical writer, SEO writer and generally copywriter are all seen. However, inside each of those there are specific areas of focus, where a high level of knowledge is needed to succeed.

One of these specific areas is in the world of sport, which gives us the job of being a sports writer. Understanding the game and being able to analyse and sometimes successfully predict the outcome of upcoming events is what is needed here, far more so than technical writing skills, although of course the very best sports writers have both of these.

sports writerWith predictions in particular, this opens up the betting side of sport. Some pieces are written from a betting perspective, highlighting the odds available and also any betting offers for you to consider using while placing your bets.

What does sports writing involve?

The simple answer here is anything related to sport. This could be upcoming events that have been announced, news about specific players or looking at a game. When you look at a game there are two angles, the first is to write about it beforehand, this would be known as a preview of the event. The second would be to write about it afterwards, known as analysing the event.

With any type of sports writing, alongside your own personal opinion, which is the main part of the piece, quotes from key people involved are also important and will gain your additional attention because you have taken the time to acquire and add these to your piece.

Some sports writers will focus solely on one particular sport, and some will even focus on a small part of that, for example, football writers may focus only on the Premier League. However, others are diverse and will be able to write about a number of different sports to a high level, allowing them to spread out and take numerous positions as a freelancer potentially.

The key ingredient to being a sports writer is to have a real passion for the sport or sports you want to write about. Without this, you will be putting words together based on stats and other things you have read. Passion shines through when talking about sports, because all sports fans are passionate themselves.

If you think you have this, it is time to think about finding a job somewhere. There are many options for sports writers out there and different career paths to take, here is what you can choose to do.

Where can a sports writer work?

1. Freelance writing

This is perhaps the most popular way to become a sports writer, and will suit those who have a wide variety of sports they like and want to write about. A freelance writer allows you to decide to write for anyone you like, ranging from a football team to a website about horse racing if you wish.

Every job is separate to anything else, so as a freelancer you will have to find contacts, work with them and negotiate the prices you are going to charge for your work. Something else you need to figure out as a freelancer is if you are going to do any promotion of your work.

For example, if you are well-known within your industry and you are working for an up and coming brand, they may want to use your name and you to promote the work you have done. This is where you can also negotiate a fee for sharing things on social media and showing your followers that you work for the new brand, in a bid to get them more interest. With this in mind, if you go down the freelance route, try and read up on marketing news to gain some beginner tips.

2. Copywriting agency

There are many copywriting agencies out there who you can sign up to work for. They need regular writers, plus those who are strong in particular niche’s, including in sports. This may be for one off work, or it could be for a full project that your agency has won and needs sports writers for, there is certainly the opportunity there for people who want it.

3. Media house

Think of any type of media, TV, radio, newspaper or digital and they likely have a sports section. These all need people to work in them and report on the latest sport action, and this is where you will find many jobs.

At a local level it may be a job focusing on one particular team, or nationally covering the biggest games in a particular sport. This could turn into a weekly column, match reports or something else, there are many options.