Editor's Note: BallHyped.com's fourth and final Q&A to wrap up Women’s Week is with longtime Fansided.com network blogger Kim Constantinesco of Predominately Orange, a Denver Broncos blog. Constantinesco was featured in USA Today back in 2007 when blogging was much less mainstream and has made a number of radio appearances to share her thoughts on the Denver Broncos and the NFL. On Thanksgiving Day of all days, Constantinesco took time to share some of her blogging experiences and tips with BallHyped.com:
BallHyped: You’ve been blogging for a while now. Would you give us a quick rundown on your blogging background, when you first started blogging and how this girl from Salt Lake City became an expert blogger on the Denver Broncos.
Kim Constantinesco: Predominantly Orange is blog #1 for me. It was a definite work in progress when I started three years ago. When I started at PO, I was coming out of graduate school with a degree in health psychology, had backpacked Europe for two months, and just moved to Colorado. I've always used writing as a creative outlet, but became enthralled with it as I realized that I didn't want to use my degree in psychology.
As I was growing up in Salt Lake, the city was known for one thing and that's Utah Jazz basketball. The team made it to the finals in back-to-back years when I was in high school. I also played basketball year round with aspirations of playing in college. The sport was engrained in Utah culture. I was surrounded by it and needed a different sport to focus on at times, so I turned to the closest professional football team; the Denver Broncos. We ended up getting most of their games on television because of the close proximity. My infatuation for the team turned into love, and eventually marriage. I'm just waiting for the (Super Bowl) ring. When you fall for a team, it's only out of respect that you learn about its history and dream about its future.
The word “expert” gets thrown around a lot these days on the web, but you truly are an authority on Broncos football, featured in USA Today back in 2007 when blogging was much less mainstream, along with radio interviews and other appearances. How big have those appearances been to the growth of your blog?
When I first started, I was getting about 50 hits a day during the season - Certainly nothing to write home about. I felt like I had jumped off of a cliff and was expected to learn how to fly on the way down. With each appearance that I've made, it's only helped to establish credibility. People are more willing to visit your site if they hear your voice on the radio or see your name in publications like USA Today or NFL.com. As I've been able to put these experiences on my resume, it's also helped establish credibility with the Broncos' organization. They see me as more than just a fan covering their team and gave me press credentials for training camp this past summer. It was unbelievable to be standing next to John Clayton and Mark Schlereth who were there on assignment for ESPN. As the experiences multiply, so do the endless possibilities.
I know a number of bloggers who would love to be seen as the authority on the topics or teams they cover. What advice do you have for today’s bloggers trying to build up that credibility, expertise and voice in what has become a saturated sports ’sphere.
Be a work horse and when you feel like giving up, work even harder. It takes time to be build credibility, but if you know your team and can convey information with a different spin on it, you will develop a following. It doesn't help to put out the same information that your local paper does. Throw in your opinions creatively and allow your readers to voice theirs in terms of comments, forums, and polls on your site. Don't turn downs interviews or any opportunity to be a contributor on another blog or website. The more your name is out there, the more people will look to you as the resident expert.
Do you feel it’s even more challenging for female bloggers to become an authority in NFL coverage, or are those days finally behind us?
I think there are certainly more issues that challenge female bloggers who cover an NFL team. I've found that I have to prove myself more to be considered a viable source of information. Even though about half the NFL fan base is female, that certainly isn't the case in the media room. When I was invited by Nike to cover a Tim Tebow event, just 3 of the 23 journalists were female. I have never been disrespected by an athlete or by another journalist, but there are readers who question your authority because they don't like what you have to say, so they bring gender into the equation. Easy? Yes. Classy? No.
Reading your recent blog on Rob Lytle, I thought to myself, you’re an extremely talented writer. Your writing style is clean, accurate, professional and journalistic a times. How do you describe your writing style/approach on Predominantly Orange?
I try to keep my content at PO very professional, but fun at the same time. The PR Director from the Broncos looks at my site on a weekly basis to make sure that I'm covering the team in an appropriate manner. Keeping professionalism and respect at the forefront will only open more doors within the Broncos' organization. I also want it to be fun for my readers to read. I take more of a Woody Paige, play-on-words approach to keep the party alive.
I see you’ve written for A&U and the International Library of Poetry, so you obviously enjoy different styles of writing. Does the blog allow you the flexibility to scratch those different writing itches, penning more opinionated posts for example, or do you write elsewhere when you want to go outside traditional sports blogging?
I'm lucky in that FanSided (PO's network) has given me complete control over the content of my site. As long as it's somewhat relevant to football, I'm able to write whatever I want. I've touched on the subjects of death, cancer, and obesity and how they relate to football, but I've also kept it light and cagey by talking about football as it relates to pop culture. There are really no limits in my eyes.
You’ve been at this for awhile now, have you been able to “make a living” as they say off of sports blogging and/or writing, or is the “day job” still a reality for you like it is most everyone else in the blogosphere?
I hope that one day I can make this my primary source of income, but for now, I'm involved in medical writing as well. I create informed consent and patient education documents for various surgical procedures. My family and friends never know if I'm watching a heart transplant or replays from a Monday Night game.
What other tips do you have for sports bloggers trying to grow their blogs and take their site to the next level?
Network, network, network. Let name familiarity attract readers to your site, and then let your work keep them coming back for more.
Previous Q&As from BallHyped.com's Women's Week:
Day 4: Q&A with Predominately Orange’s Kim Constantinesco