Editor’s Note: This week is Women’s Week at BallHyped, and we’re reaching out to some of our favorite female bloggers to get their take on the state of the blogosphere, tips on creating a successful blog, how their sites are doing and where they see this blogginess going one, two, five years from now.
Our second Q&A is with Yardbarker ace and gold Bloggy Award winner Kate Conroy of LadyLovesPinstripes.com:
BallHyped.com: Could you tell us a little bit about Lady Loves Pinstripes, when you started the blog and why you started it?
Conroy: Lady Loves Pinstripes came about because as a female sports fan I needed an outlet to voice my opinions. It is difficult to get guys to listen and the majority of my girlfriends think I am speaking in another language, which became frustrating.
I enjoyed writing on my website from the start. So, in 2009 after the economy had collapsed, I left my current job over the summer and decided to pursue my dreams of becoming a sports writer. This coming season will be my third full season covering baseball.
LLP focuses on the New York Yankees (hence the pinstripes), but it also covers the hottest topics across MLB, NFL, my Fantasy Teams and any relevant sports stories that I feel strongly about.
What are your top 3 favorite posts of 2010? What has been your most successful post this year?
My three favorites posts include two of my most current writings. With sports changing by the minute, a lot of topics lost their luster quickly because it is so fast paced. The third listed goes back to January of 2009 and it covers a topic that is still extremely controversial.
MLB Hot Stove: Shame on You for Disrespecting Derek Jeter - I feel very strongly that the media has taken Derek Jeter’s contract negotiations and turned it into a TMZ story. Jeter always gives his time to the press and the poor guy has not said a word. Jeter is an icon and plays the game the right way. There are not many pro athletes left like this, making Jeter rarified air and should be treated accordingly. At the same time, Jeter has to be fair too and both sides have to give to get.
New York Giants: Get Back To Being Best Team in NFL Again for Week 11 or Else – Week 11 didn’t fair in my New York Giants favor, but I can say that the Giants defense is top in the NFL. Any sports fan would have to write after the performance of Michel Vick in Week 10. Since the Giants were Vick’s next possible victims and following the team’s implosion against the worst Dallas Cowboys ever some things had to be said.
Baseball’s Dirty Mistress – One of my first posts in 2010 that talked about the steroid issues in MLB. It was straight from the gut and one of my most popular posts I have written.
You’re in the YardBarker network and also part of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance, how important have those networks been for the growth of LLP?
Yardbarker has been excellent in regards to exposure and reading all kinds of opinions about any sport. At first, I was rejected from the YB network five times at which point I gave-up on YB as an option and just focused on my writing. Than around November in 2009, months after I had folded on ever being a YB blog, I received an email from YB asking me to become a source for their New York Yankee readers. It was a total shock, but YB had been watching my site and told me they saw the potential there from the get-go. YB is quite particular about sites they feature. With FOX SPORTS just buying YB and its sites might make it even more competitive of a site to get on.
What are your long-term goals for LLP?
In a sense, LLP is my resume. Also, I want to keep improving my writing, with the hopes of getting a permanent sports column someday. I want to help get rid of the stereotype that women can’t be sports fans unless they are fat and man-like. I love to shop as much as I love sports, so it’s the farthest thing from true. I have gotten some creditability amongst my male friends now, but it took years.
Women sports fans are very opinionated and smart, and society is just starting to get that.
Whether it’s writing about baseball or any other sport, what type of advice do you have for other women who wish to enter the male-dominated sports journalism industry?
The Internet has opened a new door for women in the sports industry because it allows us to express our opinions without being judged for being female. Try joining a sports forum, making a user name that is more masculine and starting to get in on discussions on a topic you are passionate about. It will show you that your opinion carries substance, allowing you to be more confident about your knowledge of sports. It may sound nuts but it helped me to realize that being female is the problem and nothing else.
Women also bring a whole new advertising demographic to sports websites. Incorporating women on a sports site will allow these male-dominant companies to be able to pitch to female brands, which means more revenue for everyone. Fact is chicks love to support each other. It’s just the way it is, so use all that to your value too.
Following up on that, have you found that you have had to break through any types of gender barriers or stereotypes?
Yes. Whether it is my dad, brother or guy-friend, sometimes they don’t want to accept my opinion. So, instead they reach for the female card and throw it down to feel justified about not wanting to listen, but blame it on my gender. It is the easier road, which gives warrant to their denial.
Since starting LLP, what have been some of your most notable successes?
Definitely becoming a YardBarker source gave me the confidence that I could do this if I just keep on working hard.
LLP won a gold Bloggy Award, which is given out once a month to just one blog. Click here to read how LLP was judged and what criteria used. Anyone can submit a site, as the judges look at every site only a few dozen will get reviewed. Trust me, if you happen to get chosen to be critiqued it is very constructive and specific criticism that can help tremendously. Keep submitting your site if you don’t get a review, but you never know you could end up as the one monthly Bloggy Award winner.
After the first year LLP was starting to get recognized and I have been on local radio stations numerous times to talk about baseball and football. Let me assure you it is not easy to be on air and get questioned by callers at random. I loved every minute of the pressure, but re-listening to myself has been an eye-opening experience to say the least.
Lastly, back in 2009 I wrote an article called For Sale: Derek Sanderson Jeter. It got picked up by Baseball Think Factory, which is a site that grabs the most debatable baseball article links everyday and their loyal following of knowledgeable fans don’t hold back on ripping some articles to shreds. Well, click the links above to see how badly these men criticized me. It got ugly but sparking controversy makes the best headlines. There are many Yankee haters, so if you want to write about the Yankees, controversy is inevitable.
On the other hand, what have been some obstacles you’ve encountered and the ways you’ve tried or been able to overcome them?
In the beginning it was really hard not to take every negative comment personally because of the vulnerability when it’s your words out there. I have developed a thick skin. Since I first started almost three years ago, my writing has significantly improved. It takes a long time to figure out that the Web makes everything so accessible and readers want to get the most information with the smallest effort.
Could you discuss some of the strategies you have used to promote LLP? Which have been the most successful and which are tactics you’d recommend other bloggers stay away from?
As a new writer head right for the Bleacher Report and sign-up. BR used to let anyone write but now you have to apply due to its popularity and lack of creditability that comes when it’s a free-for-all. Even if they say you are not ready to be a BR writer yet, create your profile, start commenting on sports stories like crazy and becoming other members’ fans. This helps with your BR status and also allows you to learn from fellow sports writers.
It’s tough to stand out in the sports blogosphere, what tips do you have for newer bloggers trying to make a name for them?
Three things you must have are patience, passion and persistence. Sports media is not easy, and even with the baby steps I have made, I am still a long way off from being as relevant a voice as I want to be.
- Erick D. Smith
Other Q&As from Women's Week on BallHyped:
Day 2: Q&A with Kate Conroy, a lady who loves pinstripes