Why I Cover the 49ers for Niner Noise, Part of the FanSided Network

Fellow Niner Noise co-expert Doug Totten and I recently received a FanSided Expert of the Year award for our work covering the 49ers for Niner Noise. Here’s why I do what I do.

Along with fellow Niner Noise co-expert Doug Totten, I was recently awarded FanSided’s Expert of the Year award for 2016 for the work Niner Noise has done over the course of the year covering the San Francisco 49ers. It’s quite an honor.

As you might now, Niner Noise is dedicated to providing insight and analysis on all things 49ers. We don’t provide the news on FanSided, no, we give the opinions. We’re fans first, and that’s important.

So, if you’ve ever thought about dabbling in the world of sports writing, I thought it might be helpful to point out why I do this.

A Long, Long Road to Where I’m At

I’m often asked if I’m paid to write. I am now, although it’s not the kind of money one could make a living on.

But I am getting paid to do, essentially, a hobby. While I have a regular job I also love, covering the 49ers is fun to me. Even when times are tough for the team, I enjoy writing about San Francisco.

It all started when I ran a CBS Sports fantasy football league. The old CBS interface allowed league commissioners to write up “articles” on whatever. So I tried my best to actually run league-related stories in a humorous and entertaining way.

Until someone told me I should try this sports-writing thing for real.

I got my start with Bleacher Report in 2011 off this advice. Initially, I worked on basic coverage for MLB, the NBA, the NHL and, of course, the NFL. The results weren’t big at the start, and I certainly wasn’t getting paid. But I kept at it.

That’s what it takes. Work. Never let someone else outwork you. And always continue to hone your craft.

By 2013, I was a B/R featured columnist covering the 49ers. Not long after, I received contracted and paid positions with B/R covering the Niners through multiple seasons and NFL Drafts. I even had the opportunity to interview San Francisco greats, Steve Young and Jerry Rice. Not bad.

Moving to FanSided

In the summer of 2015, I elected to take a new direction in my sports coverage. Joining FanSided seemed like a natural choice. But, at the time, Niner Noise was at the bottom of page views and national attention.

I liked the challenge of bringing Niner Noise back up to the top where it had been long before.

It took a ton of work, recruiting and working with existing writers to hone their skills and develop their voices. And the type of content needed to be insightful and worthy of your reads.

Want your voice heard? Join the Niner Noise team!

I remember the initial monthly reads being at 30,000 or so — not much at all. But, by the end of 2015, we were just short of 767,000 page views. Fast forward to the end of 2016, and Niner Noise had reached 5.3 million — an increase of 590 percent in just one year.

Hard work. But it’s work I thoroughly enjoy.

What It Takes

Signing up to write for Niner Noise or FanSided won’t immediately get you a paid gig and loads of national attention. No, it takes months. Years, in many cases.

But it’s important to grow and constantly strive to get better. I often look back at my first pieces with B/R and wonder, “how the heck I wrote something so bad.” It doesn’t matter though. We strive for improvement, not perfection.

There will be bumps along the way. I remember coming up with amazingly well-written pieces that I loved, only they never generated the interest or attention from readers. And those articles I posted, which I never felt were that great, often provided the biggest discussion points. It’s weird.

And, of course, I’ve been called every name in the book. But that’s what happens when you open up your own opinions. Not everyone will agree, and some people won’t hesitate to let you know in a candid way.

Don’t let that stop you though.

What you’re aiming for — and I hope you are, if you want to write for Niner Noise — is an opportunity. It’s a chance to get your voice out there and to start a profile. Writers have started here, received paid positions with FanSided and/or have even gone onto other ventures like B/R or even USA Today.

It’s worth it. Just take that step and get yourself signed up to write with Niner Noise today.

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