4 Steps for Live Blogging a Conference Successfully
Live blogs are widely used for everything from breaking news events such as terror attacks or fast-changing situations in world affairs, to sports games and election results. They are a great tool for publishers and news outlets to engage their audience through feeds of short, summarized, posts that can be embedded on front pages, inside articles, or native apps.
Although there are many uses for live blogs that are widely adopted by publishers, there exists one event type that is a sort of hidden gem among live blogs: Conferences.
Conferences are hugely popular
Even in a digital world, conferences remain hugely popular. They combine work by being informative and educational, with fun by being a great way to network and meet like- and different-minded people. However, with the large number of great conferences out there, most people find it impossible to attend all of them, especially the far-away or expensive ones.
This is where conference live blogging comes in: they provide readers with a way to follow conferences in real-time in a digestible and engaging way.
Why your audience cares about conference live blogs:
- It saves them time. Compared to traveling to a conference, or even watching several 30-min speaker videos, live blogs are great time savers
- It summarizes the most important idea -It cuts through the noise and focuses on the main ideas, topics, and takeaways in a digestible way
- It’s timely. Live blogs brings summaries, takeaways, and commentary on conferences to readers in real-time.
- It’s social – Tweets, Facebook posts, videos, live video streams, etc. can all be included in the feed to keep the content engaging and visual.
Why this is important to you:
- It builds your brand – live blogs shows your readers that your brand creates exclusive content they care about, using a medium of delivery that’s both engaging and summarized
- If done you’ve done your homework on your audience, live blogs will attract new readers and convert them to subscribers (more on this in step 3 and 4).
- Shows that you are active where and when important events and news happen
- Drives organic traffic – even after the live blog has ended, the content will attract highly targeted visitors around the clock
Now that you are familiar with live blogs, and the values they bring to you and your readers.How do you set up your first live blog to ensure it’s successful?
Below we’ve summarized 4 key steps for how to succeed a conference live blogs that will ensure a great ROI on your efforts.
1. Promote and Plan your delivery
Promote your live coverage ahead of time. This begins by letting your audience know that you’ll be attending the conference and when and where they can find the live blog once it’s live. A great way to do this is to use a countdown inside a promotional article which at 00:00 will reveal a link that will take readers to the live blog
A useful way to think about your audience is to group your traffic into two kinds of readers:
1. The ones who knew you were covering the conference ahead of time, and
2. The ones who found it by accident and decided to stay.
How many readers of the first kind your live blog ultimately gets depends on how well you promoted your live blog.
Lastly: make sure you set up the design your live blog. A live blog should look and feel homogenous with the rest of your website. Make sure your readers have the best experience possible by using a live blog design that both fits your brand and the conference
2. Research the conference and its schedule
- Research the conference’s agenda to identify which speakers, events, roundtables, etc. you will be attending. If you are working as a team, divide up the speakers between the team and don’t forget to plan for breaks – conferences and live blogging can be exhausting!
- Prepare a short speaker bio (can usually be found on the conference’s website) which you can post before each event to give your audience a bit more context
- Research which hashtags will be used for the conference and find speaker’s Twitter handles so that you can mention them in your Twitter tweet relays. This will generate a huge boost to your traffic
- Live blogs work best when content is published in as close to real-time as possible. Therefore ensure you are familiar with your live blog’s interface so that you can seamlessly publish posts on the-day-of.
3. Stay active during the conference
Make sure you’re geared up! MelCoulson.com have created this great infographic of equipment to bring for successful live blogging.
Once you’re ready to start blogging kick it off with an introduction of the agenda and a list of all the events you are going to cover.
When you’re live blogging focus on transcribing, quickly editing, and publish. If you are going to receive comments from readers in the live blog, make sure you publish these in piecemeal and not all at once. Similarly, don’t forget to engage through social media – make sure your live blogging solution has a twitter relay that provides you a way to automatically publish posts to Twitter as tweets.
Use the “@” handle of the speaker, company, etc. who are running each event. This creates a great opportunity to ask questions which they might follow-up on later.
Don’t forget to post call-to-actions in your live blog. This could be a newsletter subscription post, digital subscription promotion, or any other call-to-action that aims at converting your readers to customers. This also gives you another method to gauge the impact of your live blog, and measure on how your live blogs improve over time.
4. Reconnect with readers after the conference
Write a summarizing article about the overall experience and takeaways from the conference. In it, reference to your live blog for more details this will make sure it keeps adding value to your site.
Follow-up with converted readers that were generated from your call-to-action. This follow-up can be a summarizing email of the conference, a special subscription offer, or a list of other upcoming live blogs or articles related to the conference’s topic. This type of follow-up will help strengthen your brand among your readers.
Interested in trying out conference live blogging?
Get a 30-day free trial of our Live Center solution – the industry’s most flexible and powerful live blogging solution.