Social media platforms, like Twitter, are a great way for sports journalists to engage with readers and come up with story ideas.
Today, having a strong presence on social media is an integral part of being a stand-out journalist.
There are several ways sports journalists use social media to engage with their audience. Here’s a look at some of the current trends.
1. Social media screenshots in stories
One of the best ways to get a scoop on a story and lure readers in is by including information directly from the source. Some of the most popular athletes in the world (e.g. LeBron James, Aaron Rodgers) use social media on a regular basis to give journalists and fans inside access into their lives.
Journalists also will use social media screengrabs from fellow industry journalists in their stories to help give another point of view.
In this example, the author uses a screengrab from director Spike Lee to help tell the story of a rally for NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick.
2. Social media comments in stories
Journalists often post opinionated questions on social media to help engage with their readers. They sometimes use those answers and comments as direct quotes.
In this article, Ashley Petty of TheBillsWire asked her Twitter followers what they’re most excited to see from the Buffalo Bills in the upcoming season. She used several responses to the question directly in her story.
3. Facebook Live
Several prominent sports journalists use live video to interact with their audience. Facebook is quickly becoming the go-to platform for live streaming sporting events and discussion around athletes and teams.
The viewer can type out questions/comments for the journalist to respond to in live time.
Some of the more popular topics for these sessions include live shows and games, glimpses of behind-the-scenes action, game recaps, and Q&As.
4. Instagram Stories
Instagram is quickly becoming a prominent place for sports recaps and highlights by journalists.
With the slideshow feature, ability to do different sized posts, and Instagram Stories, media have a lot of flexibility to create shareable posts that can reach far wider than their direct following.
The platform makes for an interesting and attractive linear narrative — whether sharing videos or photo highlights.
5. Twitter Q&As
Sports journalists often take time out of their day to answer a variety of questions readers may have about the team or sport they cover. It’s common for the journalist to post something along the lines of “Top 10 Q&A. Leave your comment, and I’ll answer ten questions.”
Odds are an engaging journalist on Twitter will quickly grow a strong following, which leads to more views for their stories.
6. Entertaining GIFs
GIFs are a great way for journalists to engage with their audience with humorous pop culture references. Leading up to the solar eclipse that occurred on Aug. 21, SB Nation posted several funny GIFs with the hashtag #SportsEclipse.
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Anthony Vence is a Customer Content Specialist at PR Newswire. He contributes to @PRNmedia and previously worked in the newspaper industry as a news and sports editor. He also works as a freelance photographer.