In 2012, tired of patronizing health magazines and male-dominated sports pages I created women’s sport and fitness blog Lunges and Lycra. Four years on, it’s introduced me to some brilliant people, I’ve had the chance to take part in some amazing events (from raving in underground tunnels to acro-yoga with a hip-hop harpist – yes, that actually happened), I’ve interviewed Olympic athletes, I’ve trained with Victoria Pendleton in the Swiss mountains and most importantly it landed me my dream job. Here’s a run-down of how it all started, how I landed a job in sport and what I learned along the way.
How it all started
I started Lunges and Lycra just over four years ago with my friend Charlotte. Inspired by London 2012 and fed up of male dominated sport mags or worthy women’s health mags, we set up the blog for women like us who like sweating or fitness but who also like the ‘odd nip of gin’.
How I landed a job in women’s sport
It’s hard to make a living from blogging. It takes time – lots of it. As well as writing you need to be your own editor, photographer, PR, web designer and social media manager. It does however open lots of doors, it builds your CV and your skills and it helps you evidence your passion.
So once blogging had filled out my CV, I made the decision to make my passion for women’s sport my day job. I landed the role of Insight and Innovation Manager at Women in Sport, the UK’s leading women’s sport charity. I provided insight led consultancy for brands like The FA, England and Wales Cricket Board and Virgin Active on how to develop campaigns that women and girls want to be a part of. I then moved into the role as Campaigns Manager at Women in Sport, leading on all campaigning and influencing activity.
As a result of the blog, I was also given the opportunity to work with the Youth Sport Trust to design and deliver a three day leadership camp and a keynote on my own journey into sport, to inspire and up-skill 14-16 year old girls so they could play their own part in transforming women’s sport.
After spending time understanding the opportunities and challenges of women’s sport, I realised that the part of the puzzle that I wanted to impact was commercial investment. In the UK, women’s sport only receives 0.4% of commercial investment in sport.
As a result, I chose to join CSM Sport and Entertainment, one of the largest sports marketing groups in the world, headquartered in London. My role is to help brands to understand the relevance of sport to female consumers, assess the potential opportunities within women’s sport and design activation strategies which better understand how women and girls relate to sport. In turn, helping me to create a sporting landscape where women see their contribution to sport as having equal value to that of men, where increased investment drives higher standards of competition, improved experience, increased media coverage which in turn will result in normalisation of women in sport.
If you’re looking to build your personal blog or become a publisher, here are a few lessons a learned along the way.
1. Start with why – why do you want to start a blog? What is it going to help you achieve? For me, the ultimate goal was always to find a way to empower women and girls through sport. Start with a purpose, then build a community to help you realise it.
2. Tell your own story – start by writing about your personal experience, no one can tell your story better than you. By documenting your own experiences you can build your confidence until you’re more comfortable talking about your subject matter. Just make sure you have a very clear story to tell and a consistent personal brand.
3. Ensure every piece of content provides value for your audience – what makes you different? Play on that and make sure your audience has a reason to read – information, advice, entertainment etc.
4. Network and collaborate (both online and offline) – do lots of it. Use social media to strike up conversations with brands, other influencers and magazines that you’d like to work with. Attend industry events. Get your name out there. A lot of it, really is down to who you know.
5. Be consistent – this is something I’m guilty of not sticking to when I’m busy but, wherever possible, keeping pushing out content, while still ensuring each piece has a clear value for your audience.
If you have a question on building your own blog or community or you are a brand who wants to understand the opportunity of women’s sport email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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