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This article is a great place to learn the strategy of a sports blog. If you want step-by-step instructions on how to start your own sports blog, check out our free blogging course.
What Is Your Blog About?
Since you are reading this article, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you want your blog to be about - sports! But to succeed you need to think a little deeper about what you want your blog to cover. Are you starting a blog about minor league baseball? A rugby blog? Or, a blog about the NHL?
There are so many different avenues you can take with a sports blog. You need to get clear about what kind of content you want to write so you can stand out from the crowd.
There’s a quote that fits this situation perfectly:
"If you try to be everything for everybody, you will be nothing to no one."
Establish Your Niche
When creating a new blog, you need to find your niche. This is the corner of the market that you have the most knowledge about, the place you can establish yourself as an absolute authority. If you try to take on The Best Sports Blog all at once, you will wind up disappointed and frustrated as you make little to no progress.
Your goal is to find the Goldilocks of niches, one that is not too big and one that is not too small. “Sports” is too big - you will never differentiate yourself from the competition. “Football designs of 1929” is too small - you will likely run out of things to write about or find your audience never gets big enough.
Some examples of niche sports blogs are:
Name Your Blog
Once you’ve found your niche, it’s a great time to start brainstorming a name for your blog. You’ll want to pick a name that’s brandable and available. Use our domain name tool to check if your name is available. If it is, scoop it up before someone else gets to it first.
Brand Your Blog
The strongest and most memorable businesses are built on a solid brand. When developing your brand, think about what your business stands for. Customers and clients are looking for companies that have a compelling brand, as much as they are shopping for high-quality products and services.
Creating a logo for your business is vital for increasing brand awareness. You can design your own unique logo using our Free Logo Generator. Our free tool will help you brand your business with a unique logo to make your business stand out.
Finding Your Audience
Having a good sense of who is going to be reading your blog is one of the best ways to know what type of content to create, how to shape it, and, ultimately, how to grow your following. With a clear understanding of your niche, understanding your audience should come more naturally.
Finding your target audience - the people you want hanging out on your blog - isn’t only statistics and demographics. It requires a deeper understanding of who these people are and what they want. Your target audience are the people you’re writing to when you write your blog.
Who are you writing to - an ex-college athlete that knows your niche inside and out, or a teenager who is just getting started in the world you are so knowledgeable about? Whatever the core focus of your blog happens to be, you need to consider the people you want to read your work because it will make a difference in your tone and content.
Create a Persona
One way to understand your audience is to create a persona of your perfect target audience member. This essentially means creating a mock-up of the ideal person you hope to reach with your blog.
Here is an example of a target audience persona:
Having a persona for your perfect audience member helps you to visualize and understand who you are writing for and provides important direction to your content.
Be Your Own Persona
Another popular way to find your perfect target audience is to be your own persona. Many of the best products and services come from scratching your own itch. It’s possible you’ve searched for the perfect sports blog to read, came up short, and decided to create it yourself. This makes you the perfect audience member for your own blog.
This can be a great strategy for creative highly effective content. If you’ve noticed a meaningful omission in blog content, chances are you are not alone. By writing personally satisfying content you are likely to reach an audience in search of the same things.
Where Is Your Audience Hanging Out?
No web content exists in a vacuum. While you should strive to create uniquely entertaining content for your blog, your target audience is almost certainly already out there reading other blogs, engaging on specialized forums, and using social media. Finding the sites where your audience already mingles is a great way to discover what topics they are most interested in, what language they are using, and what valuable content you can add to that mix.
Some examples for your sports blog may include:
Visiting these sites is also a great way to begin engaging with your audience before your blog has even gone live. Jump into conversations on forums and in comments sections and get to know the people you’ll be writing for. This is a great, organic way to build relationships and direct people to your blog in its early days. Sharing your passion with like minded people will make them more excited and passionate about supporting you in your blogging endeavor.
How Will You Present Your Work?
Traditionally, when most people think about a blog they picture written content on a page. However, there are several different ways to present your ideas on your blog, depending on your subject matter and target audience. Every blog will thrive with different formats, so it’s important to think carefully about how to best showcase your content before you start.
There are several effective methods of presenting the material on your sports blog. They include:
As the name suggests, evergreen articles are composed of content that lasts. These articles are designed to have a long shelf life and continue drawing readers to your blog over time. They are typically long-form, text-based articles that delve more deeply into a particular topic.
A great option for evergreen content is reviews on whatever topics make sense for your niche. If you are writing about sports equipment, you can review different pieces of equipment - both new innovations and tried and true pieces that deserve an in-depth examination today. There will always be people looking for such reviews, which means you can keep attracting readers with your evergreen content year after year.
While the video format is not new, the explosive growth of YouTube and the advent of new and innovative video-based tech like Snapchat and TikTok have shown the true power of video as an online medium. While you may think that creating video is much more difficult and expensive than writing your content, you have access to all the technology you need to make high-quality video content right on your smartphone.
Video makes a lot of sense for a sports blog, whatever your niche. The nice thing about video is that it is so easily adapted to your subject matter. If you teach sports techniques, you can make video how-tos that offer instruction in each technique. If you discuss classic sports games, you can create video commentary of the games so that your audience can see your passion and you can communicate the opinions that they are so interested in hearing. Don’t worry too much about making perfect videos - not at first. With practice, you can achieve a more professional look and feel.
News articles or other “announcement” type content can be a great way to gather new readers. One benefit of news content is the short-term but powerful increase in search volume during an event. While this bump may be temporary, it can be a great tool for grabbing new readers who end up coming back for more.
Writing about current events or new happenings also means there will typically be less competition for readers. Other blogs and media sources are all getting the information as it develops. Since the base of knowledge available is smaller, this gives you a good opportunity to add your own flavor to the article.
The downside to news-type articles is that they tend to lose popularity much more quickly than evergreen content. While the interest for an event may be very large one day, the next day people may already be moving on to the next shiny object.
Sports is an easy area to create news-type content because the stream of sports news never stops. You have your niche and you are constantly following the news in that niche. All you have to do is write blogs about what you read and you will have plenty of fodder for your news content. Remember, new news is exciting, but it quickly becomes old news - which means you need to stay on top of the news that matters to your readers and cover it regularly to stay current.
While most people expect to be reading when they visit a blog, image-heavy content can be very appealing and break up your text-focused posts to keep people’s attention. Depending on the topic of your post, displaying multiple images per page on a single subject can give your audience a better sense of what you are trying to convey.
While some topics may take to images very easily, like a car blog or a celebrity gossip site, others may require some deeper thinking to make this strategy work.
Sports blogging lends itself to image-heavy content. When you write about sports, whatever the sport, you can access all the images you need to flesh out your content online. And if it makes sense for your niche, such as following local sports games, you can take your own photos and use those on your blog.
Finding and/or taking photos for your blog will eventually become second nature as you grow your blog. You know you are always going to need images, which means you will start to make gathering such images a part of your regular research process. If you do try your hand at photography, be patient with yourself. You will improve with practice - especially if you take a photography course and study.
Mix and Match
Your blog needs variety to reach the widest audience, so it is important that you try different content delivery strategies regularly to keep things fresh. It is totally normal to have a preferred content delivery method, whether it’s long-form articles, short blog posts, videos, or photography. You can build a strong foundation for your blog using your favorite type of content, but stretching yourself periodically is necessary to keep things interesting for you and your audience. Try something new periodically and you may be surprised at what skills and passions you can develop.
How To Make Money From A Sports Blog
One of the main reasons people start blogs is to generate some sort of profit. Whether you’re looking for a few hundred dollars per month or a job-replacing income, blogging is still an excellent way to make those dreams a reality.
There are a few great ways to make money from a sports blog:
Display Ad Networks
Display ads are the simplest way for websites to generate any sort of income. Ad networks, like Google Adsense, are fairly simple to be accepted into, and implementation onto your site is streamlined and clean. If you’re just beginning to see some traffic to your blog and want to turn this into dollars, display ads are where most people start.
There are a few downsides to display ads, however. The first is that some feel they detract from the user experience on your blog. Most people have been to a site where large ads pop up and block the content in the middle of reading. This can be distracting, frustrating, and even drive people away from your blog. While it’s possible to clean up and control the type of ads you use, it can be a constant battle to balance effective ad placement with aesthetics and readability.
The other main downside is that they don’t pay a lot. These networks generally use a pay-per-click (PPC) model which, depending on the niche, can pay anywhere from $0.01 to $1.50 per click, most on the lower end.
While display ads are a great way to make your first dollars, you’ll want to make sure any negatives they bring are worth the profits they provide. Once you develop a solid following, you can consider moving on to more lucrative and effective profit-making options.
Affiliate marketing programs like Amazon Affiliate have become much more popular over the past few years, as they take the payment model from pay-per-click to cost-per-acquisition (CPA). This means you can refer as many users to an advertiser’s product as you want, but will only get paid when the user makes a purchase.
Both advertisers and publishers benefit from an affiliate marketing setup. The advertiser pays nothing until a sale is made and the publisher enjoys much higher commissions than the pay-per-click model.
You have plenty of options when it comes to affiliate marketing programs. Keep researching and trying different programs to see which ones work best for you and your audience.
Al’s Sporting Goods is a popular affiliate program for sports bloggers. It offers a 10% commission on sales that you facilitate. Al’s sells a wide variety of high-quality sporting good brands, including North Face, Nike, Under Armour, and more. The average order on Al’s is $120, which means you can expect to make above $10 for the average sale!
Fanatics is another big name in affiliate programs. As one of the biggest shops offering officially licensed merchandise from the NBA, NCAA, NFL, MLB, UFC, NASCAR, and more, there are plenty of items that your audience may find attractive at this online retailer. You can get up to 10% commission for sales that you facilitate.
Choose affiliate programs that you can recommend to your audience and feel good about - the best long-term strategy for affiliate success.
Sell Digital Products
Digital products are the online entrepreneurs’ dream. You create the item once, then sell it as many times as you can, with little to no cost of reproduction. This means that you can scale your business to infinity.
Examples of digital products are:
- Ebooks - A piece of writing, generally in PDF format. These can contain literally anything that your audience would want. They can either be true book-length all the way down to a few pages of content. Depending on your niche, audience, and subject, these can run from $1 to $100 per sale fairly easily.
- Gated Content - This is content that is served on your website just like any other article, except that is behind a “paywall”. If you are creating content that you don’t want to be released to anyone but your true followers, you have them sign up for an account on your site and charge them a subscription fee for access. Generally, authors charge anywhere from $5 to $200 per month for access to gated content.
- Online Courses - If you can teach a skill that your audience wants to learn, you can create an online course to sell to them. These courses can be formatted in whatever way makes the most sense to you, but most nowadays are video courses. Online courses can sell from $10 to well over $10,000 per course, obviously depending on the subject matter and audience.
Digital content is one of those things that depends greatly on the niche you are in. If you write about MLB, you can create gated content behind a paywall that you make specifically for your audience and sell memberships for $20 or more a month. If you teach your audience how to improve their batting average, you can make an online course that includes your best batting tips and sell the course for $150 or more. Know your audience, know what they are likely to want from you, and start from there when creating your digital content.
Sell Physical Products
Selling physical products is the original money making strategy. You gather an audience that is hungry for something, you sell it to them, and everyone wins. You don’t have to be an inventor, designer, or manufacturer to sell products. Sites like Alibaba and AliExpress import already-made items into the United States and sell them for a markup.
The two main methods for distribution of these items are: dropshipping and self-fulfilled.
Dropshipping is a method where you advertise a product on your site that you do not own. Once you make the sale, you inform the manufacturer, who will handle the shipping and handling to the end user. While this is simple because you don’t have to worry about storing or shipping any items yourself, you’ll find that the margins can be quite slim.
Self-fulfilled sales are much more of a hands-on approach to sales. You buy the item from the manufacturer, store it, then ship it to the end user once you have made the sale. While there is much more work involved, you’ll find that the margins per sale are much higher.
Product sales through a sports blog are often easy and the options are fairly obvious. Sports fans are passionate about the things they love, which means if they love your blog, they will happily wear your branded apparel. You can buy branded apparel and other branded items for a few dollars apiece and sell those products at a considerable mark up. Start small and see what your audience is most attracted to before going big with product sales.
While it can be very profitable when done well, selling products is not generally recommended for the beginner blogger. It’s best to secure an audience that you know will be receptive to the product before making a large investment in product development or acquisition.
Create A Service
Providing a service is another very basic money-making plan. If you can provide a service that you know your audience needs, you have a viable business on your hands.
Whether this service is delivered through a one-on-one interaction with the user, through a piece of software that you develop, or by directly completing a task for the user, this is a great way to monetize your skillset and your blog.
You can definitely come up with a service that fits your unique sports niche. The key is to know what your audience wants and what you are capable of delivering. You can host seminars, offer one-on-one coaching, and more.
The challenge with services is that you can easily overextend yourself - especially since you can charge a premium for your time due to the popularity of your blog. However, if you overcommit, you will struggle to keep your blog going strong. It is your blog that drives traffic to your services and serves as the backbone for your business. Try to balance your services with your blog to ensure that you always have more people seeking the services you offer.
Next Steps To Get Your Sports Blog Started
Now that you have the strategies in place to build and grow your own blog, check out our free course: How To Start A Blog.
This course includes all the essentials on how to get your blog out of your head and onto its own website. Starting a blog is simple and inexpensive, so there’s no reason that you shouldn’t start today!
Free Course: How To Start A Blog
Free Course: How To Start A Blog
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