Epic Carnival | Where Sports and Pop Culture Collide: THE BLOGBUDSMAN: HOW TO BECOME A "KNOWN" SPORTS BLOG

THE BLOGBUDSMAN: HOW TO BECOME A "KNOWN" SPORTS BLOG

by BOHChris, Blog of Hilarity

The Blogbudsman is your weekly take on the blogosphere, written as objectively and honestly as possible. Questions, comments, and suggestions should go to roomtonecsATblogofhilarityDOTcom

After taking a couple of weeks off here on Epic Carnival to celebrate the birth of Santa Claus and the annual celebration of me passing out under a sofa to ring in the new year, I'm back with another bit of wisdom for you in The Blogbudsman. Rejoice.

This is an issue that others have addressed before in humor, but hey, I'm here to help you avoid the pratfalls of becoming a generic nuisance. There are literally millions upon millions of blogs out there. So how can you, a regular Joe with a dash of creativity and the desire to have your voice heard, make a wave within the blogosphere? While the sports blog world was once relatively up in the air, leaving people to fight for readers entirely on their own, there's now an infrastructure in place where you can go from a Blogspot blog with no readers to a decently trafficked Web site filled with sometimes thousands of your own readers.

Let's take a look at the various means to that end this week. After the jump, of course.

WELCOME TO THE BIG SHOW

More than anything, to become a known blogger with a dedicated audience you need two things: Patience and a willingness to stand out. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. First, you're going to need the basics.

Sports blogging is a world of niches. You have your NBA bloggers. You have your guys who cover the media side of things. You have your NFL guys. You have chicks who likes sports. Don't like to be overly classified and forced into doing a blog that solely covers white slot receivers? That doesn't necessarily preclude you from being a sports blogger or gaining an audience with the sports bloggers. Hell, I barely write about sports on my home site any more.

But you can draw from the well with interesting content, be it clever Photoshops, well-done parody, finding small news items that others missed, or figuring out a niche that others haven't. Maybe a sports-celebrity blog? The world is your oyster.

Next, you'll need a name. Maybe for your sports-celebrity blog, you can call yourself Walk of Shame. Or The Sportslut. Keep it simple.

But back to the original point: Uniqueness. Does that mean being contrarian for the sake of it? No, you're not looking to become an ESPN personality. But it means going in with the understanding that your opinion on why Roger Clemens is a douchebag won't exactly shake the very fibers of the blogosphere to its core. Understand this now: You're not a special little snowflake.

With hundreds of bloggers discussing the same issues every day, many of whom better known than you are at the start, you need to think outside the box. That may mean coming up with silly nicknames for athletes that catch on. It may mean actually, you know, doing research. But offer people something fresh that they can't get a million other places.

For example, look at a site like Lion in Oil. With a well-thought out or researched singular daily update, they've become a highly trafficked blog in their own right. Don't think that you need to cover every story right away. It's far more practical in the world of sports blogging to come up with one hidden gem rather than a hundred cliched stories.

So now that you've got your never-before-heard story that's timely and interesting, what do you do? Welcome to the seedy underworld of sports blogging: The tip email.

You know those ten or twenty sports blogs you check religiously each day? And you know how they have little emails like "tips@deadspin.com" or contact forms? Well now's your time to blast your little story out to all those folks. Collect those email addresses, put them in the "BCC" portion of your email (not CC, lest you be mocked by all of your hopefully new peers) and put together an interesting subject, quick sentence on what your post is about, link to the post, and maybe paste your post into the email to save your favorite bloggers from actually having to visit your site. Now they know what you wrote, know who you are, and, if you've done good work, may offer you a link in a link-dump post or even a news item on their site. Hoorah.

PROTIP: Many prominent sports bloggers write their linkdumps very early in the morning or very late at night. Try to get your tip emails in later in the evening. Good blogs to start with in your personal publicity campaign include The Big Lead, Awful Announcing, Deadspin, With Leather, AOL Fanhouse, SportsbyBROOKS, 100% Injury Rate, and of course, Epic Carnival.

PROTIP2: Don't bombard people with EVERY post you do. Just like you're not that special as a blogger, every individual post isn't worthy of attention. Save that for the special stuff so that it'll actually have some meaning when people see an email from you. And they won't curse your first born.

Oh but there are even more ways to publicize your site. Consider SI.com a "personal friend" of the blogosphere. By submitting your link to SI's Hot Clicks or Campus Clicks (contact forms at the bottom of the page), if used, you may be opening yourself up to thousands of new visitors who are just jonesing to see your post on how well-endowed Brandon Jacobs may or may not be.

Rounding out your promotional efforts are the Digg-like services, including the sports-focused Ballhype and Yardbarker sites. By submitting your story on those sites, readers can read your work and decide if they think it's worth also sharing with their friends. In the interest of full-disclosure from my personal experience and anecdotes from some of our peers, I don't think Ballhype is giving many people "traffic" per se (though Yardbarker seems to), but it's important from a visibility standpoint. You're a part of the "community" now. Congratulations. You'll be surprised to learn that you will receive no medals or accolades. Other than people commenting on your site and calling you a fag. So that's really its own reward.

Now, our second major theme: Patience. You really have to stick with this. Updating three times one day then not updating for a week alienates people who may have become regular readers of yours. You also need to understand it may take a couple of "special" posts before people realize you're someone worth visiting on their own. Don't get discouraged when, after a link from Deadspin, your hits go from 5000/day to 30/day. The key is using those links to build your own audience, rather than rely forever on suckling on someone else's teat.

There are many other important parts to becoming a "known" sports blogger, like advertising, audience participation, and cheap ways to get people to pay attention to your site [DON'TDOTHISPROTIP: Bloggers love reading about themselves], but you're using these powers for good, not evil.

I swear to God if I see anyone using this tutorial then running a contest about "Which blogger is the most LOL" I will end your fucking world.

OVERHYPED AND UNDERHYPED

Overhyped: Isiah Thomas thinks the Knicks will win the NBA title. Is it really a shock that he's delusional in addition to being incompetent? Isiah Thomas is, without question, the Britney Spears of the sports blogosphere...just make fun of him whenever there's nothing else to talk about.

Underhyped: USC is worthy of consideration for the National Championship of college football. I know everyone who's not an alum of the school (which I am, as many of you know) is sick of hearing of USC, hated the "greatest team of all time" hype leading up to the Rose Bowl defeat at the hands of Vince Young and Texas, and isn't convinced that USC would do to LSU what it did to Illinois. But civil unrest on behalf of a dominant USC team combined with a BCS title win for a 2-loss LSU squad is the only possible end to this Bowl Championship nonsense. You know it somewhere inside you.

WORD

Another week, another piece. I'm always appreciative of feedback over email or in the comments, so leave some there or email me at roomtonecsATblogofhilarityDOTcom with some feedback. Anything good gets published anonymously (or credited, if you prefer) next week.

See you then, sunshines.

3 comment(s):

DMtShooter said...

College football has a champion now? I thought they had a month-long circle jerk that insulted the intelligence of anyone that paid attention to it.

Playoffs have championships. What college football has is more akin to figure skating.

Mitchell Blatt, Juiced Sports Blog.com said...

Nice summary. You listed some good sports blogs to target for linkdumps.

In the DONTDOTHIS section, you linked to the Carnival as one of the linkbaits. You also linked to my post on Top 20 Stories of the Year. Surprised you didn't chose my Top 100 Blogs of the Year, as that generated more hype, especially from this site.

thegasman said...

enjoyed your work. i think you've understated the warm fuzzy feeling one gets when the "fag" and "you're completely without talent" comments and emails start flowing.

but it's probably best you not build expectations too high.

color me gay, but we hear epiccarnival.


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