Essentials Twitter for sports journalists

Twitter has fundamentally changed how journalists do their jobs. And for those on the sports desk, where breaking news, photo finishes and down-to-the-wire games are a routine occurrence, reporting via Twitter and following what others are saying has become essential.

Quite simply, you now have to tweet your beat. For journalists who post a concentrated number of Tweets in a short time span, follower growth rate is about 50% more than average.

Content you can live-tweet

Live-tweeting a big game or press conference is a great way for sports journalists to connect with fans. You can give your followers real-time updates on scores and stats, promote blog posts or articles and even provide instant analysis of a game that’s just finished. And remember, you can also tweet via SMS or text message — so even if you’re standing on the sidelines, you can still reach your followers.

Share your images and videos

Tweets that feature media receive an average of 1.5 times more Retweets and 2 times more favorites than Tweets without pictures or videos. Sports fans, in particular, love to be brought behind the scenes for on-field warm-ups or locker room interviews.

Tap into your archives

Use Twitter to share previous coverage, historical photos and video or other content that will make fans nostalgic for their team’s glory days.

Start conversations

Use Twitter to build interest in your yet-to-be-published stories and coverage or to hype a big upcoming game. Before the season starts, let fans know when you’ll be publishing previews of the upcoming coverage for the season.

@Cite your sources

Instead of just posting Tweets that contain URLs, you can try mixing up the content of your Tweets. News organizations can grow their followers by almost 20 percent by simply increasing the number of @mentions they include. Add Twitter handles for the athletes, teams and leagues you cover to promote interaction and engagement. 

Crowdsource ideas or content

You can gauge public opinion and develop sources by asking questions and responding to other Twitter users. Follow all the players and teams that use Twitter on your beat, and find fans who are talking about topics or trends that can make great articles.

Use #hashtags

Hashtags can increase engagement almost 100% for journalists and 50% for news organizations. You can also discover what fans and athletes are discussing and join the conversation yourself by including hashtags of the team, game or league, for example.

Use Twitter search

You can do a simple Twitter search here, or a more advanced one here. It’s a great way to keep up to date on breaking news or trends around the league.

Create and use Twitter lists

Twitter lists can be used to follow a separate group of Twitter users from those you follow. Create Twitter lists of teams, athletes or your favorite Twitter users.

Post Tweets on your site

A great way for news organizations and journalists to display their Tweets is to embed them on their website or article page. See more about embedding Tweets here.

Share what you’re reading

Journalists with above expected follower growth send 200% more Retweets compared to journalists with below expected follower growth. So use that Retweet button, and become the hub of information for the team you cover.

Twitter Q&A

Q&As, where a Twitter user takes questions from multiple others, is a great way to keep fans in the loop and drive them toward your account. Whether the season is heating up or the team is bedeviled by injuries, consider Q&As as a way to give fans the freshest information. Many sports journalists also run Twitter town halls, wherein a Twitter Q&A is also broadcast or live-streamed. That way, you can reach an even bigger audience.

Finally, use your real estate

Promote your Twitter handles and hashtags in print (near your byline) or on-air (near your name) to drive the audience to your Twitter account.


Are you a journalist covering Transfer #DeadlineDay or the trade deadline? Click here for tips on hashtags to monitor, lists to subscribe to, TweetDeck columns to add and more.