College football season is here, and to get you in the mood we sat down with our blogger of the month and College Football Examiner Kevin McGuire to talk about the early season storylines and running a successful sports blog.
For more great college football and sports blogging insights, give him a follow on Twitter @kevinoncfb.
BH: It was a rough offseason for college football with controversy boiling over at Ohio State and Miami, to name a few. Putting those off-the-field controversies in the rearview, what are the storylines you’re following as the season gets underway?
KM: The conference realignment process is something that just will not go away, and as I’m responding to this question there is a massive cloud of uncertainty looming over the entire landscape. Are we heading toward an era of super conferences? I hope not, and I’ll suggest it may be more of a stretch than many realize. And for the good of the game, I certainly hope it is a reach.
We know you were going back and forth between Oklahoma and Alabama a couple weeks back. Who do you like to win it this year?
KM: I still have Oklahoma on top and Alabama number two. For now I’m going with the Sooners just because I like their schedule better and they have a true, legitimate quarterback in Landry Jones. But Alabama’s defense will be among the strongest in the nation and Nick Saban may be one of the best game-day coaches in the nation. Both schools have some big obstacles to get through, but they are the best out there.
I’ll play the odds and suggest to you that a conference winning a sixth straight BCS championship are not great. This is why I say Boomer Sooner this season.
Tell us a little bit about your different sports outlets. You have the blog with Examiner. The podcast and blog at No. 2 Minute Warning. How do you like writing for Examiner.com? And how is the podcast going?
KM: Examiner.com has been very good for me. I happened to start writing about Penn State football following a stretch of unemployment so it started out more as a way for me to do something I enjoyed doing without going crazy. The fact that it brought in some money made it even better. It eventually grew to allow me to sustain a reliable income as I gained readers and followers. My success covering the Nittany Lions led to me being offered the national college football position before the end of my first season, and I have loved every bit of it.
Being named the national college football writer has opened up many doors for me. I have been credentialed for bowl games, media day events and more. This year I joined the Football Writers Association of America and I have met a number of reporters, columnists and bloggers covering a variety of teams.
I decided to start up a podcast last year to supplement my college football coverage on Examiner.com before the 2010 season. I started the College Football Examiner Podcast on my first podcast website and was helped out by some talented college football podcasters along the way. The podcast site, which also served as a blog to allow me to share more opinions, was a success and was voted BallHyped.’s top college football blog last year. As things grew I decided to keep everything going but change the domain name, so I came up with No2MinuteWarning.com. The change was partially due to some legal stuff from Examiner.com but it was all on good terms. I got it connected on the Yardbarker network, and wanted to make sure that posts were shared on BallHyped, and I’m hoping to keep that going moving forward.
I’m now hosting an Internet radio show on Blog Talk Radio, which is still hosted at No2MinuteWarning.com, and you can find me contributing to many other sites, including Nittany Lion’s Den, The Chrystal Ball Run, The 700 Level, GregSwaim.com, and Bleacher Report (featured columnist). Did I miss any? Oh yeah, my personal blog, KRMcGuire.me!
In your eyes, what is the key to producing a successful sports blog, whether you’re writing about college football or pro tennis? As a blogger, how crucial is branching out with additional content types such as the podcast?
KM: Success can be defined many ways, and it will be different for each site. Find the voice you want to have and run with it. There is no wrong way to go about it really, but I recommend providing the information in brief, and link to a source. Then follow-up with your own personal opinion and commentary in any way you choose to do so. Want to break down the stats of a player? By all means. Want to be snarky and crack some jokes? Nobody is stopping you.
Just as there is a voice for everyone, there is likely to be an audience for every voice. The most important thing though is to be yourself, and be as unique as possible.
We’re fortunate to have hundreds of talented bloggers like yourself in the BallHyped community. For those who haven’t quite made a name for themselves, what additional tips could you share in terms of promoting their blog to get the word out, build up traffic and possibly even monetize those efforts?
KM: Embrace social media! Set up a specific Facebook page for your site, and set it up so links post automatically or post all of your links personally. Do the same with Twitter, and experiment with Google+. Get on BallHyped but contribute to the community. Don’t expect others to support your links unless you return the favor from time to time.
Get connected with other sites covering your topic, but don’t flood these sites with every single link you post. And don’t expect results immediately. Nobody will return to your site unless you have good information and an opinion that gets people interested in coming back. It takes time to build a loyal readership but when you get there it will be worth the time and effort you have put in to it.
Thanks again for getting Hyped Kevin. We look forward to all of your great coverage again in 2011-12!
- Brian Milne
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