Skip to content
Jun 8 / King Kaufman

Adam Fromal: From no reads to paid work in a year

Adam FromalOne of the most common questions Bleacher Report editors get from writers is “What do I have to do to become a Featured Columnist?”

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.

  • Jim Sheridan ND F/C

    Outstanding!!! Great job Adam and Bleacher Report. Everyone benefits in a situation like this, especially the readers.

  • pancho smith

    Good advice!

  • Jim

    So you’re saying the way to get paid is to A) make everything a slideshow and B) make every article about one of the most popular sports. This is what irritates me about BR sometimes. It’s not about writing original articles about original topics. You want reads? Make a slide show about MMA, NFL, NBA or hot girls in bikinis.

    How about some credit for writers who are not afraid to write articles about other topics? Motorsports, College baseball, the Kansas City Royals, all topics that if everyone was all about jacking up his stats we wouldn’t have any articles written on.

    Congrats to Adam for figuring out how the system works. Looking forward to his next ten slide shows on the NBA draft. I’m guessing that should be in about ten days?

    • Jordan Lewis

      I think that was a little uncalled for. Readers are what turn people from zero reads (and zero reputation), to 1.4 Million, as we’ve seen with Adam. So, if the readers don’t want to read about motorsports, than they aren’t going to. Writing about what you’re passionate about, even if it isn’t the most popular topic, is obviously important but there’s no need to knock the guy for continuing to write on things that made him successful.

      Its that way in many aspects of life. You aren’t going to stop throwing a pitch, or passing to a receiver, if that pitch is getting strikeouts or that receiver is getting you touchdowns.

      Congratulations Adam, hopefully some of that success will rub off on me.

      • Jim

        So what you’re saying is we should all just say to hell with it and keep putting up slideshows of hot girls in bikinis then? Because every one of those is a guaranteed 10k. BR needs to decide if it’s going to be about serious sports writing or David Letterman style top ten lists.

      • Jim

        And I’m not knocking him. I’m knocking the people who decide that this guy is deserving of an internship and being paid when he does nothing that any one of us couldn’t be doing. It doesn’t take a genius to do what he does. If I was a reader whore I could put up slide show after slide show only on the NFL. Or only on the NBA. If we all did that where does that leave the other pages? Where does that leave BR in general? This guy figured out how to get paid. Good for him.

        This guy is on here wearing his Georgia Bulldogs gear. UGA’s baseball team has been a very compelling story the last couple of weeks. But you didn’t hear bout it from him did you? Of course not. He’s too busy doing NBA draft slideshows one after the other. You can’t get 10,000 reads doing UGA baseball stories so there you have it.

        • Ashish

          Look Jim, you’re obviously angry at the system and we get that. But lashing out at Adam isn’t going to help in any way. In fact, you may just have turned a few of the B/R top brass against you.

          What you need to understand (I’m trying not to sound patronizing, I swear) is that Adam is not just a “reader whore”, as you so eloquently put it. Garnering reader appreciation is just one facet of the whole deal. Like Adam said, he found a way to “mesh together” topics that he wanted to write about in a way that readers would find interesting.

          There are obviously several writers out there who will churn out “hot girls in bikinis” articles, as you (again) so eloquently put it. I don’t know how many of them get paid, but I hope it’s a bare minimum. What I do know is that Adam wouldn’t be a paid writer if he was a “reader whore” – the editors at B/R clearly look through the articles that they put into newsletters, which is the main source of reads. And if they didn’t believe his articles carried significant substance, he wouldn’t have made it to where he is today.

          With that in mind, I feel you were a little harsh to lash out at Adam and call him a “reader whore”. I’d ask you boys to pucker up and make up, but how about this time we settle for a nod of apology?

  • Jim

    Fine. Lets just shut down every page except the NBA and the NFL then and nobody do any more articles that are not top — lists.

    If he is not a “reader whore” then ask him why no articles about UGA baseball during their exciting NCAA run? My guess is because UGA baseball articles won’t generate 20k on the reads counter.

    If I turned BR brass against me then fine. But maybe I made a couple of them stop and think about what is really important. Is it reads? If it is, then just say so and we can all stop pretending this is an all-inclusive sports site and we can just stick to what’s popular. If it’s not, then how about a little credit for people who do more than top ten NFL Quarterbacks named Joe articles.

  • Jim

    Oh, and if he wants to be a big time paid sports journalist he might better get used to criticism because last time I checked, it kinda came with the job.

  • Jim

    I’ll give you another example. A few weeks ago somebody wrote an article on Cal baseball. It was about how they almost lost the program but people stepped up and raised 9 mil to keep it going. Now guess what? They’re playing some unkown Baptist college in a Super Regional. All of a sudden they are the new ESPN feel good story. Well who broke this story first? Bleacher Report. That’s who. But because 22 people read the article I guess that means it’s garbage huh?

  • Jim

    46 articles in a row about the NBA. That’s right. 46 in a row? Hey, I didn’t stalk this guy either. I went to write an article and a link was put on my page holding him up as a great example on how to get paid. So I bit. And what do I find? 46 articles in a row about the NBA. The vast majority of them slide shows about the draft. Well F me? Why didn’t somebody tell me the way to get paid around here was to beat a live horse to death? I thought it was about writing? Who knew? Originality? Screw it. Versatility? F that. Wish I would have known sooner. As it is now I had to give up on writing and take a “regular job”. So if the BR brass is upset with me it won’t matter after tomorrow anyway as I will be too busy to write. Seems my family has these weird ideas about indoor plumbing and eating every day. Go figure.Maybe had I made up 100 straight slide shows about the NFL…