Brandon Cavanaugh: Bleacher Report writer makes good, tells how he did it
“It started the way that everyone else’s success stories off of Bleacher Report do, I would think” Cavanaugh told me in an email. “I wanted to get noticed so I could start bringing in even more money working into the wee hours of the morning checking over stats and making sure that I spelled everyone’s name correctly.”
The folks at HuskerLocker noticed his work and recruited him. So how did he get noticed? Aside from his work as a Nebraska featured columnist, Cavanaugh worked on establishing his brand by running own website, eightlaces.com, a domain that “was easy to remember, spell and most importantly associate with me.”
“I would market my stuff under that header,” he wrote. “I went to friends, former co-workers, whomever I could find to get testimonials. I put up every piece of work that I wrote for Bleacher Report. I even started podcasting for some audio fare.”
“I went to Twitter and followed people, interacted with them and shared my opinions while always being sure to respect others, even [those] in vehement disagreement. I was asked to come on other podcasts; ones with thousands of listeners every show. A few weeks later, I woke up, looked at my phone and saw that e-mail” from HuskerLocker.
Cavanaugh said he’ll be writing, assigning stories and editing, answering questions and working on the site’s social media efforts.
He wrote that if he had to give three pieces of advice to Bleacher Report writers, they would be:
1.) Get to know the people working with you. These men and women want to succeed and the only way that they can do this effectively is with you working as effectively as possible on your end.
2.) Thank your lucky stars every day for editors. You won’t always see eye to eye, but even after a seventh draft, it’s great to have another person giving your piece an eighth look over.
3.) I cannot stress this enough: Listen to your audience. Take the time to respond to comments, and I don’t mean the trolls. When people disagree, converse and find out why. Encourage open dialogue and you will discover new ideas and maybe even why you should have rethought your position.
If you can do this, you’ll achieve something that you simply can’t with the B/R medal system: You will get compliments.
It’s far easier to complain than it is to compliment. When someone takes the time to genuinely offer you a compliment on your writing, you should feel extremely good about that.
Cavanaugh said he feels like he could write a book about the things he’s learned at Bleacher Report, “and maybe I will someday.”
We’ll be looking forward to it.