Adam Fromal: From no reads to paid work in a year
The answer is pretty simple: Write often and well about topics that readers are interested in, take assignments and deliver on them promptly, and use SEO practices and social media to build an audience.
But you B/R writers shouldn’t just listen to people like me. You should listen to people like you.
Adam Fromal was a top intern from the Fall 2010 class. A rising junior at the University of Georgia, he’s a Featured Columnist for the Atlanta Hawks, Georgia football and the NBA and a paid writer on the NBA draft.
He ranks in the top 50 all-time in total reads at Bleacher Report.
“Before I became a writing intern here, I’d done very little sports writing,” Fromal writes in an email to the current intern class that he agreed to let me share here.
He writes that he began at B/R with some satirical pieces, with headlines like “LeBron James’ Indecision Leads to Brett Favre’s Disappearance.” Not many people read them.
“Which leads me to my first piece of advice,” Fromal writes. “Make sure you pay attention to the invaluable tips you’ll be given about search engine optimization and ledes. I had absolutely no clue how to be successful in the online media genre going into the first of the two internships I completed. I was able to glean countless bits of helpful information in that area, as well as learning things like keeping paragraphs short to hold the attention of the average online reader.”
OK, ignore the length of that last paragraph. You’re not average!
Fromal also notes that two of the most important things he learned were “a newfound ability to mesh together what I wanted to write about with what people wanted to read about, and the ability to make articles have lasting relevance and staying power.”
More tips from Fromal:
- Make sure you don’t just mindlessly go through the assignments. Readers can tell when you’re giving something less than your full effort. It’s easy to get an assignment you’re not thrilled about and halfheartedly complete it, but resist that temptation.
- Remember that it’s much more common for a person to leave a negative comment than a positive comment. Don’t get sucked into an argument with a troll, but instead accept constructive criticism when it is given and ignore what is essentially hate mail.
In about a year, Fromal went from writing satirical pieces with readership in the low three figures to having more than 1.4 million reads and getting paid to write about the NBA draft.
“A year ago I never would have dreamed that this was possible,” he writes.
Check out Fromal’s archive and note the qualities he talks about. His slideshows are well thought out and thorough, with tons of research leading to a lot of interesting information on each slide.
His article topics are not only interesting, they tend to have legs. “The Most Disappointing Acquisition In Each Team’s History,” for example, won’t be dated in a day or two, or even a week or two.
And readers have responded, rewarding him with consistently solid page-view numbers, propelling Fromal to a Featured Columnist spot and paid work.
For more on Bleacher Report’s intern program, including how to apply, visit the B/R Internship page.