Charlie Carmichael | Deputy Head of Content for Snack Media

Our next guest is Deputy Head of Content for Snack Media, Charlie Carmichael.

Tell us about yourself, what you currently do and how did you end up where you are right now?

Prior to Snack, I worked as a Content Editor for COPA90, helping to oversee its written editorial strategy across all its owned channels — those being the website, its newsletters and its e-commerce store.

Since graduating from university, I’ve also been involved in the football writing space. I freelanced for years for several publications, namely These Football Times and NPLH Magazine. After spending a couple of years working full-time in digital marketing alongside my freelancing, I got my break at COPA90, when a recruiter reached out to me on LinkedIn and put me forward for an interview.

As Deputy Head of Content at Snack Media, what does a normal week look like for you?

We’ve recently relaunched GiveMeSport Women, a section of the website dedicated to championing women’s sport, so that’s been a big focus of mine over the past few weeks.

Generally speaking, I don’t have a set routine. There are a few weekly meetings I attend with various departments, but much of my time is spent trying to enhance both the quality and quantity of our work, as well as increasing the amount of traffic we drive, whether that’s by seeding our content into different news sites and apps, or optimising it for organic search.

What is your number one focus when it comes to your work?

On a personal level for my role specifically, I’d say organisation is the biggest strength you could have. The day-to-day is hectic — you can quickly end up spinning a lot of plates at once — so being able to prioritise certain tasks while ensuring you get everything done on time is very important.

What is the most enjoyable part of your role?

Another big one would be our content syndication work. If we manage to sign up a new partner — be it a sports publisher, live score app, or some other news aggregator — and they start generating tonnes of referral traffic for us, it can be really satisfying.

As a freelance writer, I’m sure you’ve sent many pitches to editors. In your opinion, what makes a good pitch?

Any writer can knock together a pitch on Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s reign at Old Trafford, so you need to be able to add an element of uniqueness to the conversation. On the other hand, if it’s a really niche topic, think about who your target audience is and whether there’s enough mass appeal there for it to be of interest to publishers.

What are your thoughts on the current freelance market for football writers?

As clichéd as it sounds, the industry is still very much about who you know not what you know. I worked really hard to get to where I am, but I’d be an idiot not to acknowledge that luck has played a massive part in my journey.

What general advice would you give to those individuals looking to pursue a career in football writing? What are the key skills required?

Networking and developing your own style are another two big ones for me. Try and speak to as many people in the industry as possible. There are a bunch of free events and online panel discussions you can sign up to and attend. Make yourself known to others in attendance and those leading the debates. You never know when an opportunity may present itself to them and you could well pop into their head as the perfect fit!

With regards to writing style, it’s always nice when you can look at a piece and know who’s written it before glancing at the byline. Great writers — the likes of Jonathan Liew, Rory Smith and Marina Hyde — all have their own unique tone of voice, making it easy for readers to build up a relationship with their work. You know exactly what you’re getting each time they publish a new piece.

Where do you see your career in the future? Are there any specific objectives you hope to achieve?

I’d like to continue working with talented people, be they sports writers, graphic designers or social media gurus, and help to add structure to their overall process. Ultimately, if I’m in a position where I can actively help change the landscape of sports writing in a positive way, I’d be over the moon.

And finally Charlie, where can people find you on social media?

I’d also encourage anyone with even a passing interest in women’s sports to check out GiveMeSport Women: @GiveMeSportW. The editorial team are publishing some really cool features every day, so there’s plenty to read!

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