SBD/February 20, 2013/Media

Blogger Ed Sherman Discusses Challenges Of Creating His Sports Media Website

Sherman says he wanted to attract a following before monetizing his blog
Former Chicago Tribune and Crain's sports journalist Ed Sherman, who has been “blogging about sports media for 10 months now” at ShermanReport.com, recently sat for a Q&A with media writer Jim Romenesko. Below are excerpts from the interview:

Q: At what point did you say, “I’m going to start The Sherman Report?" And what niche in the sports blogosphere did you see it filling?
Sherman: I had done a sports media column for 12 years at the Tribune, and really enjoyed it. I had been kicking around the idea of bringing it back in the form of my own web site. To be honest, I was influenced by your site. I wanted to see if I could do it for sports. There are a few sites that cover sports media, and they are quite popular. I felt I could be a bit different by doing more Q/As with people in the industry. I also want to explore the process of how sports news gets reported.

Q: How was the launch of The Sherman Report -- easier or more difficult than you imagined it would be? Biggest challenges?
Sherman: Twitter has been a big challenge from several different angles. I now understand the importance of getting people to tweet out your posts so they get into that huge Twitter Mixmaster. It’s not an easy process, and you have to rely on the kindness of strangers. Also, I was under the mistaken impression that if I did a Q/A with a network personality or executive, that network would tweet out the interview to millions of its followers. That hasn’t occurred. The networks have various rules for what they will send out on their main Twitter accounts. Even though they promote themselves like crazy, they won’t promote a Q/A on my site even though it may be of interest to their followers. I pounded my head against the wall pleading my case. All it got me was a huge bump in my head. That’s been the most frustrating part of launching the site. I know if the networks tweet my stuff on main feeds (not just on PR feeds), it will generate page views.

Q: You don’t have any ads or a “tip jar” seeking donations. Why?
Sherman: My goal from the beginning was to try to build the site, attract a following, and then see about monetizing. I decided to wait until I’m finished with the book ["Called Shot," scheduled to publish in '14] before I jump into that pool. There’s only so much I can take on at one time.

Q: Do you closely monitor your traffic? What posts have attracted the most visitors? Care to share numbers?
Sherman: Yes, I am constantly monitoring traffic. It’s probably not the healthiest thing to do, but I can’t help myself. ... I’ve been told I need to be patient. I still haven’t been out there for a year. I am starting to see some growth. I am hovering around 100,000 page views per month, which I am told is good for a new site (JIMROMENESKO.com, 2/19).
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