Chris Evans | Editor of The Set Pieces

Our next guest is the editor of The Set Pieces and freelance journalist, Chris Evans.

Photo credit: Nick Dawe

Hi Chris, thanks for speaking to Freelance Football Opportunities today. Can you tell us about yourself, your journey and how you ended up as the editor of The Set Pieces?

I took a job at a content marketing agency and worked as a writer and editor on projects for loads of different clients over the years, including the likes of Speedo and Tesco. I even bagged industry awards and shortlists, but it just wasn’t what I really wanted to do, which was football writing.

I’d been freelancing alongside my agency work — most regularly for FourFourTwo — so decided to go part-time to make time to start bridging the gap. Among a number of extra things I picked up included becoming editor of The Set Pieces (who I already wrote for).

Some prospective football writers may find themselves in a similar position as you did. Was taking a different route a help or a hindrance?

I then applied that to finding football stories. That’s probably how I managed to become a regular contributor to FourFourTwo’s magazine because I hunted down stories that wasn’t on anybody else’s radar. One of my favourites was about the Brazilian non-league side that were led by a pastor, who was trying to bring young pros to England from South America by playing in the lowest tier of the football pyramid. I also got to know Brighton boss Graham Potter back when he couldn’t get an interview for jobs in the Football League because I was writing stories about his work out in Sweden.

It might sound old school nowadays, but I’d hugely recommend any young writer to go and learn their trade working on something that’s not football first — go and get those skills first and things will come back to you eventually because you did.

That sounds busy, so what does a ‘normal’ week look like for you?

What is the most enjoyable part of your role?

When did you know you wanted to work in football?

Who are your favourite writers at the moment and what do you think it is that makes them so brilliant?

I’m also a big fan of Miguel Delaney. He’s another who is intuitive and is very entertaining too. The king of the comment piece!

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

My biggest piece of advice for individuals trying to make their mark is to find a niche. Anybody can sit in their bedroom and churn out an analytical piece on something they watched in the Premier League last weekend but, frankly, who cares what you think? If you’re an expert on a particular subject, have found your own story or have gone out to get an interview, that’s worth so much more.

As the editor of The Set Pieces, I’m sure you’ve received countless pitches in your time. In your opinion, what makes a good pitch? Any key advice you can share with freelancers at the start of their journey looking to pitch their stories/ideas to editors?

That said, it’s important not to get too downhearted. You do get a lot of nos in this game, especially when you’re starting out — but sometimes it’s worth just asking why it’s a no so you can learn from it and come back with something better next time. I pitched to FourFourTwo for nearly three years before I finally got a yes, so perseverance does pay.

As you know, we often feature opportunities from The Set Pieces in our newsletter. You are currently looking for a freelance social media person. Can you tell us more about this opportunity for any of our readers it may interest?

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

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