Clay Travis Speaks on Social Media and More…

Posted: March 1, 2012 in Personal
Tags: , , , , , ,

Clay Travis joined us yesterday via skype for my sports writing class. The topics of discussion were social media, starting an online site, and those crazy Alabama fans. I’ll just give my disclaimer that I love this class, and I am so glad I had a change in heart with taking it. Travis has a pretty extensive background. He started as a lawyer and later worked for CBS Sports, Deadspin, FanHouse, and now Nashville’s 104.5 radio station. He’s written a few books, and currently runs the popular online site, Outkick the Coverage. He’s also kind of witty and funny, and there’s not enough writers like that anymore, in any genre not just sports.

Here are some things Travis discussed that was interesting and relative to the things we’ve been discussing in our graduate classes:

1. If you’re not active on Twitter, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

2. You have to be smart, funny, and have original content.

3. Journalists have to be in control of the content and the business.

4. You have to work your ass off.

5. Read more than what you’re interested in.

6. Write what you want to read.

Travis suggested that a journalist’s credentials would be established by his or her Twitter followers. What I took from his statement is that Twitter is a valuable source for getting your work and brand out there. It’s also what most people use to get to news stories. Do you know how I found out that Davy Jones of the Monkees was dead today? Yep, Twitter. I didn’t have to wait to see the cover of People magazine, they released an official statement via Twitter. While I’m still getting use to branding myself on Twitter, it is my number one source these days for news and networking. Travis said Twitter allows him to use the audience as his primary resource for things he can’t always see. I thought that was a powerful statement because out of all the great things Twitter does for journalism, I think this factor is the most viable in the long run.

He also talked about his business model, and why he wasn’t scared to launch a website. Travis was comfortable starting Outkick because the ad revenue was there, and he already had ties in Nashville, as far as local advertising. Secondly, social media was there. While he doesn’t advocate Facebook, he knew people would follow him on Twitter. In fact, most of Outkick’s traffic comes from social media and mobile devices. These factors are why he thinks journalists should invest in Google Analytics. Travis had no idea what the numbers were when he worked in TV, and Lars Anderson has no idea how many views his articles get on the Sports Illustrated website. Travis discussed how writers can craft ideas about what works and what doesn’t work because they have the data to back it up, and you know what market is driving your content. Where does he see the future of journalism? He thinks people will start to analyze the numbers more, and the young and creative journalists who are involved in their content and the business will be the only ones to thrive. He said we, as young journalists, can’t rest on our laurels or that one good story we’ve produced. We have to grind it out! So, with all that advice and working to grind it out, I approach the next few weeks as an opportunity with my project. Hopefully, within a few months, I can employ some of these tips at work or launching my own site.

Follow Travis here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s