How to write a good FanPost (and why you should)


One of the better aspects to writing on one of the various SB Nation platforms is the ability to cultivate (from the editor's perspective) and interact with the community. From our commenting tools to our FanPosts and FanShots, the community can be and should be as much a part of the site's identity as any staff member's contribution. That's why I'm excited MMA Fighting finally offers readers the use of FanPosts.

What are FanPosts? Pretty simple, really: posts made by readers and fans of MMA.

But they're more than that, too. FanPosts are essentially a commentary on the state of online communities today. As honored as I am to be working with this tremendous staff on this site as my daily occupation, we are but a few people. We cannot be everywhere or know everything or think of every solution to every problem. And when we try, we'll be sometimes wrong or misinformed. That's where online communities come into play.

Strong communities offer something irreplaceable. They fill in the blanks, fact check, offer their own narratives, make their own jokes, report their own news, offer information that no one previously had, do their own stats work and so on. In short, communities, when they thrive, often work hand in hand with site staff to more fully inform, entertain and engage the larger readers' experience.

We already have a strong community today, but this new tool empowers the reader like never before. With FanPosts, you can write your own opinion article, challenge the conclusion of one of our writers, report on historical research you've done, share a funny video you've found, and so on. With the FanPost (and FanShot), you make the site experience richer, deeper and more in keeping with what it sets out to be.

So, how do you do it? Rather than issue a detailed explanation here, I'd recommend the following two excellent posts who explain (with pictures and clear instructions) before that I can:

  • SB Nation's 'FanPost Help Guide': a great how-to in terms of writing a post from A to Z. If you have any questions related to the publishing process, this post has you covered.
  • Die By The Blade's 'FanPost User Guide': another great how-to post, but also one that explains the keys to what makes a FanPost good.

Why should you write a FanPost? Several reasons.

First, you've got a story to tell and a voice that probably deserves to be heard. Your feedback in our forums or comments is appreciated, but a FanPost is a way to more formally offer your viewpoint. Besides, when you're commenting, you're reacting to us. When you write a FanPost, everyone reacts to you.

Second, we feed off of your work. We use FanPosts every day in our Morning Report. When MMA fans post pictures and tell stories from the journeys to MMA events or foreign countries for combat sports fun, your contributions make our experiences on this site better. And if you turn in truly special work, we'll find special ways to feature it.

Third, some of SB Nation's top writers were discovered in the FanPosts. To be clear, I'm not saying I can promise you a job if you start pumping out stellar work. But what I can say is it's a great way to start a portfolio of work if you're an aspiring journalist or get some attention on work you've already produced. If you want to make a name for yourself on the back of your work, the FanPosts are a great place to do it.

Lastly, you've lived your life. You've got your own experiences and expertises. You know things we don't. We look to you to share those things for the better of us all. We don't deserve it, but we ask for it and we know we're better for it.

If you still have questions or need some help on getting started, leave a comment below. You can also reach me on Twitter. Feel free to ask anything to help on any issue related to FanPosts and FanShots.

And with that, I thank you for reading this and look forward to reading y'alls stuff. Now get to writing.

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