Selling Is Everywhere: Marketing Secrets From a Top Sports Writer on Medium
Plucked from the pages of Siddhartha — a novel by Herman Hesse — there is a line that has outlived two World Wars, Woodstock, and Nintendo 64. It’s been 95 years since initial publishing, and by my calculations, the four-word credo will likely survive another century — and then some.
The river is everywhere..
Or — everyone and everything is somehow connected.
As sports writers, you ought to follow a similar credo. Especially, if you’re looking to get your work seen by as many people as possible.
Sales, just like the river, is everywhere..
Whether it be marketing a blog post, a shiny smile at your book signing, or the snappy cover letter to a newspaper; we are selling both ourselves, our work, and the notion that we are experts in our field.
Sales, in the writing field, is in fact everywhere. The quicker you learn that, the better off you will be going forward.
Think about it.
There has got to be a half-million sports writers online, every one of them going after the same niche audience. Some great writers will never get noticed. That’s just a fact. But, some mediocre writers will get noticed. That, also, is a fact.
Then, some downright bad writers — who happen to be great salesmen — will achieve the type of fame that most writers dream of. Pure…fact.
Take Barstool Sports for example. Are they rock-solid journalists? Absolutely not. But, do they know how to get noticed? Hell yes. Dave Portnoy, founder of Barstool, recently sold his company for nearly $15 million and not once did they publish something on par with the longform journalism at Sports Illustrated or Bleacher Report.
Barstool is just different. They pump out a ton of content and are probably the GOAT’s in terms of knowing the temperature of the water. They play to their people — if a guy comes to your lot with four kids, you don’t show him a coup, ya know?
Now, I’m not saying you need to half-ass it with click-bait articles, you’ve got to find a happy medium. Ideally, you can love what you do, execute your content properly, and have the wherewithal to take necessary steps in promoting your work.
On our site, The Nosebleed Seat, we’ve learned the hard way about getting people to read content. You can write something interesting, post it to Medium — a platform with over 1 million downloads — and still get only a handful of views. It’s a discouraging sequence, but like the dog in the window, it just needed some more eyeballs.
You take that same article, the one with eight pageviews, and promote the shit out of it? You’re likely going to see that count float towards the thousands. That’s how I became a Top NBA Writer on Medium — promotion.
Here are some of the best avenues for promoting your Medium article, all of which cost you exactly ZERO dollars.
The guidelines are a little funky, but once you get established, Reddit is probably the best way to bring people to your Medium post or publication.
Totally free (and with a gigantic audience). Use hashtags, @ your keywords, and hope it gains traction.
On Medium, you can @ people featured in your posts which definitely gets their attention. The more recommends you get, the more likely it will be for readers to check it out. Also, you can post your article in the comments section of related posts. Next to Reddit, that avenue has been the most successful for writers at TNBS.
Are you writing a story about someone from the Kansas basketball team? Or a middle-reliever from the Phillies? Make sure to @ them in your Twitter post. Medium and Twitter work together, so when you put your Medium link in a Twitter post, it does a nice job of showing the picture from your story which adds to the officialness of it all.
One of the most underrated ways for promoting work. Join communities on Google Plus, engage the audience, and people will definitely click on your posts. Plus, posting your stuff on Google Plus helps with your SEO. Since your article was on a Google-brand platform, it is likely to be one of the top hits if someone were to search for it.
Overall, a regular sales job and the selling done by writers is similar, but also miles apart. The main reason I say that is because most regular salesmen aren’t selling something they made. Writers are on double-duty, responsible for the research and structure of a story, but also responsible for delivering it to the world.
While it can be a lot of work, you are the master of what you’re out there hawking — like if the owner of Hyundai was on your local car lot trying to sell an Elantra. Take full advantage of this inside information you have. Know your audience, know the message, and by golly, keep on pushing.
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