Following last night’s Football Writers’ Association Speakers Event with Snack Media, we’ve gathered some of the best bits from the panel of industry experts and can exclusively give you pointers on how to make it in the industry:
1. Write as much as you can
When it comes to football writing, it really does follow the old adage that ‘practice makes perfect’. It doesn’t matter what site, paper or platform you write for, try and do as much as you can. The more you write, the better your work will become. You may not think it at first but once you’ve built up a heavy portfolio of work, you’ll see a clear line of improvement in your work. Moreover, if you haven’t got a good portfolio behind you, employers won’t want to take you on as they won’t be able to see how good you are. Just write as much as you possibly can.
2. Be persistent
Unfortunately, football writing is an incredibly competitive industry. It’s also a huge industry and a massive passion for a lot of people, and therefore, there are going to be a vast number of people trying to make a career out of it. Moreover, with the way the media industry has evolved, there are so many different platforms that are accessible to writers. Where once you had to go to a newspaper to write a piece, now we can all work straight from our homes immediately after games. With how competitive the industry is and with how many avenues there are to get into it, you have to be persistent. Send emails, ring editors, message football writers on Social Media. It may not work straight away but if you keep going, something will eventually come.
3. Don’t get discouraged
This goes hand in hand with persistence. There are a lot of people trying to get the job that you really want but don’t be put off if you get rejected. Everyone in the industry has suffered rejection of some kind but that hasn’t stopped them. The worst thing you can do is lose your confidence and give up on trying to break into the industry. You must understand that there might be someone who might have slightly more experience or skills in a certain area than you but that doesn’t mean you’re not as good as them. Don’t get disheartened and just keep going.
4. Consume as much content as possible
Much like writing as much as possible, reading and consuming content will improve your work. Compile a list of writers that you think are good and constantly read their work. Pick up on how they write a piece, how they structure it, what the angle is. Take what they do well and incorporate into your work. In truth, if you want to be a football writer, you have to like reading and watching football content. Take it in, learn from it and improve your work.
5. Use social media debate
Social media is such a huge platform and if you want to be a football writer, you have to use it. Almost every football writer has a social media profile. It’s basically a space where you can network, debate and publicise your work. If you want to get noticed, comment on pieces, spark debates, produce viral content and get out there. You may be a great writer but if no one can see your work, it’s being wasted. Get on social media and use it well.
BONUS LESSON – Stand out from the crowd
With so many young journalists fighting to get into the industry, you have to be unique. There are a limited amount of jobs and therefore, you have to show that you’re different from the next person.
The industry is saturated with people writing about the same topics, the same teams and the same themes – do something different. Got to your local non-league club, find a story that no one is writing about it. Find your niche and run with it. There’s so much coverage of everything right now, so try to stand out from the crowd and be original.