5 Steps to Becoming a Paid Sports Journalist

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If you have a talent for writing and a passion for professional sports, this could be the year you finally combine the two interests. More people are studying to become print journalists, digital journalists, and writers than ever before, hoping to smash their way into what was once a closed shop. Advancements in technology and a boom in sports-related apps created a need for more content writers and editors. 

Getting your foot into sports journalism can be challenging. If you’re looking for a field where you’ll get by on talent alone, you must search elsewhere. But if sports writing were easy, then everyone would be doing it. Instead, it’s for the most dedicated and talented writers with a clear goal and the focus to realize their dreams. Do you have what it takes? If you’re considering a career in sports writing, this article can help. We have the information needed to get you ahead.

Although becoming a successful sports scribe is challenging, it’s far from impossible. Whether you want to write for an NFL team’s website or sportsbook online, some tips and tricks help you get ahead. Keep reading as we reveal our five tried and tested methods to becoming a paid sports journalist this year. Our readers aim to help make your dreams a reality.

What to expect

In this article, you can expect easy-to-follow, relatable advice on furthering your career in sports content writing. We have enlisted the help of experienced sports writer Frank Monkhouse who shares his methods for success with our readers. The points raised on this page work from studying at university to writing professionally.

Nothing on this page will trip you up or nudge you off course. Instead, we keep everything as simple and easy to understand as possible. The goal is to give readers a better understanding of the journey from learning to working as a paid content creator, avoiding the pitfalls and knowing success is possible. You don’t need a degree or relevant qualifications when starting.

If you have a passion for writing content, the desire to succeed, and the commitment needed to make it happen, you’ll find the hints and tips helpful. From your educational background to getting your first paid writing gig, we’ll take you by the hand and guide readers to success.


You don’t need a degree in journalism or a college graduate to secure a high-paying career in journalism, but it does help. Not every writer comes from a university background, but those that do usually start at a higher level. If you have a journalism degree, you can skip the line and start pitching the major employers immediately.


But it’s not the end if you don’t have a degree or college certificate. Many writers are college drop-outs who had enough of learning in a classroom and need to be learning on the job. When you enter without the relevant qualifications, you’ll often start down the list, and graduates will often find employment before you do. 

But don’t give up, and don’t even think about throwing the towel in. Commitment is critical to success in this game. If you are willing to roll up your sleeves and do the hours producing well-written and professional content, you’ll make up ground for the graduates that originally left you behind. Like life, getting to the top of content writing is a marathon, not a sprint.

Build experience

Suppose you’re starting from the beginning or even with a handicap of already having a full-time job needed to pay your bills. We don’t advise quitting your 9 to 5 to pursue your dreams of writing content. Keeping the lights on and food in the fridge is always your priority. But when you have the time to dedicate to writing, it should be as a hobby or a part-time role. We know it’s boring, but we’ve seen many aspiring writers put all their eggs in one basket, only for things not to work in their favor.

The best place to start is to offer your content writing services for free to a popular website or app. The leading sports news providers will already have a team of writers and a pool of freelancers, but offering free content will help you stand out. It could lead to an app taking a chance on you as an inexperienced writer. That could be your big break, but if you’re finding it difficult to catch a break, you could build, write for and publish a blog.

Target paid work

When blogging or writing content for free, you’ll build a portfolio that you can use as a working CV alongside an excellent cover letter. Start pitching your skills to potential employers and content editors, showing your class and what you’d bring. A live portfolio of your previous work will serve you better than a professionally written CV.

The worst thing you can do at this stage is launch too early. We understand it may be frustrating writing for free, but you should enjoy it and know it’s the best way to get ahead. Launch too early, and you could ruin your reputation before you’re off the ground. But time your arrival to perfection; you’ll make waves and get attention.


Sell yourself

Now you’re at full-speed and working as a paid freelance writer; it’s the ideal time to promote your skills. Use social media to promote your portfolio and post about the assignments keeping you busy. 

Being active on LinkedIn will help you progress to the next level, adding more clients and building your reputation. Few people got anywhere good by keeping their talents under wraps.

Catch a big fish

The final step in this article is catching a big fish. The type of sports news app that’ll add weight to your CV, show your talents to a broader audience and boost your income. But how do you catch a big fish?

In most cases, you would apply to an open job vacancy, but the best writers don’t hang around. They’re proactive, chasing down jobs and sending their CV or portfolio to editors without an open position.

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