The FanPost section of BTSC has seen a surge in entries recently, and based on a conversation we had with the community recently, we're hoping to see it continue. FanPosts are an excellent way to make your opinion read, garner some credibility within the community and scratch that creative itch.
Have a long comment? FanPost it. Want to see something specific from the Steelers in 2015? FanPost it.
I'm happy to announce longtime BTSC community member Simonsen has been selected as the FanPost Coordinator. He is a very sharp and detail-minded guy, and he's going to be looking over the FanPosts, and making recommendations on which submissions can and/or should be promoted. I've given him a general overview as to what I am looking for when it comes to placing FanPosts on the cover. Please keep in mind, you don't have to write FanPosts for that purpose. Nothing at all wrong with just writing something you want to keep as a FanPost, and by and large (while the upper management at SB Nation and Vox remind me), I reserve the right to remove a FanPost for any reason, my intention here is just to broaden the scope of opinion on the site.
If you are interested in writing FanPosts that can be promoted, I'm hoping this mini guide gives you all some insight behind the basics of sports writing as well as a few tips on how to get your writing placed on the cover of BTSC (a.k.a. on the "front page").
1. Be creative, but be realistic. There are always interesting angles to take on certain things. An old adage in news writing goes, "A dog biting a man isn't a story, but a man biting a dog is." Look for the "man bites dog" angle of your subject.
2. Know your capitalization, and other grammar-based issues. No one expects 100 percent clean copy, least of all not me (I've heard your recent calls for better proofreading and I "own that," as Coach Tomlin would say). Obviously making sure it's free of typos and other human errors is ideal. More than anything, though, know the rules of capitalization. I bring that up specifically because it seems those happen more frequently than the dreaded "McClendon" error. Not every proper noun needs to be capitalized. In fact, I'd even go as far as to say a good rule of thumb is to think to yourself there needs to be a specific reason why you're capitalizing it.
3. "What do you think?" questions aren't necessary. The community will decide on its own what it thinks. No need to ask.
4. Don't start sentences with the word "well." One of my biggest pet peeves. Along the same lines, headlines don't have to be in the form of a question. I understand the amount of sites that do that nowadays, and I'm guilty of it here and there as well, but just aim for an emphatic headline. The question will come in your writing, as will, hopefully, the answer.
5. Aim for around 500ish words. It doesn't have to be exact, but the absolute minimum should be around 300.
6. Don't use pictures from other sources. I understand you feel it makes your FanPost better, and I'm not saying to remove them, but just know I will not run FanPosts in the cover that have images I do not have access to via the site. If I run them, they will be removed.
7. Citation is a good thing. If you got information from another source, just link it. You'll see at the top of the story editor something that looks like a chain link. Highlight the text you're referencing, then click on the chain link icon. Paste in the URL, and you're good. Just give credit where credit is due.
Boiled down simply, proofread your work, cite sources, don't ask questions in the headline, don't use outside images and come up with interesting and unique topic ideas. While I can't guarantee any FanPost will be added to the cover, I am launching this initiative with the hopes of generating more community-based content.
My email address is in my profile, please reach out to me or to Simonsen if you have any questions or ideas.