When it comes to reading about a live event today, most readers are not interested in lengthy, multi-page stories. They want to know the instant headlines, key steps, and the truly-compelling attention point of a story. The competition of online breaking news reporting is exponential and to get to the front of the queue, the pace of story publication must be instant.
Below we have collected and analyzed 7 live blogs. Each example is slightly different from the other, but they all intend to deliver immediate coverage on a particular event or story.
1. Sky Sports: Hamilton wins from Bottas Review – Chinese Grand Prix Live Blog
F1 Live Blog on Sky Sportshttps://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/10940375/the-new-sky-sports-watch-every-formula-1-race-live-on-sky-sports-f1
Like all sports blogs, the objective is to capture the major highlights of a particular sporting event and to deliver immediate coverage on the happenings of it. The Chinese Grand Prix Live Blog delivers exactly that. All major highlights are bullet listed (or pinned) to the top of the Blog, delivering the instant major headlines of the race. It delivers minute-by-minute text reporting of the race using vivid photos, interactive text, audio captures and snippet of video highlights of major crashes or overtaking actions, to capture the overall consensus of race coverage.
Kept Regularly Informed – You stay informed on the major coverage points, such as who is winning the race, who has overtaken who and any major incidents.
User-Friendly Coverage – Whether readers access the blog through smartphone or laptop, the coverage is simple to access and you can instantly locate the headlines you want to read.
No Marketing Ads – Some live-blogs cause accessibility issues if regular ads pop-up on the screen.
Unnecessary Information: Headlines relating to other sports were regularly added to the blog, potentially reducing reader traffic and diverting attention.
2. The Guardian: Israel Election 2019 exit polls winner Netanyahu Benny Gantz Live Blog
The Guardian are experts in delivering interactive and instant Live Blogs. This blog delivered live coverage of the Israeli election between Benjamin Netanyahu against the Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party. Dependent on who is the victor, one of the parties will then be free to form a majority coalition government to lead Israel.
The live-blog intends to capture the main highlights by providing a summary of events of the results with interactive coverage of the vote. The blog also provides a unique timeline of major headlines surrounding the story from the responses of both parties towards the victory, the result, followed by a conclusion to the event.
The Guardian masterfully delivers their recap of the events using visual images and bulleted text. Not only that, the live blog also entices the reader to re-visit future blogs surrounding the event by providing predictions of ‘What Happens Next?’ now that victory is secured by Netanyanhu. This proposes to the readers to return to the live-blog to be informed about preceding stories.
Timeline of Major Coverage: Where users do not have time to read through full commentary, a timeline of events is shown to provide the user with the information of when exactly a particular highlight of major incident occurred.
Closing Summary Recap: Readers are able to check-in to the blog even once the live coverage is complete by reading the comprehensive summary recap of the events
Leads Reader On: Once the event is finished, the blog ensures that the reader returns to the blog for future events.
Marketing Ads: The use of marketing ads may frustrate the reader whilst reading the blog coverage and may search for coverage elsewhere.
3. Football España: PSV 1-2 Barcelona – as it happens Live Blog
Football España is popularly known for its live coverage of football matches consisting of Spanish teams such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia to name a few. The match in contention is the champions league coverage between PSV and Barcelona, where the match finished 1-2.
The live-blog consisted of ball-by-ball, minute-by-minute text coverage of the match. The blog is interactive and instant, and readers rely on the blog to publish highlights within seconds of it occurring. Delivering comprehensive coverage of the whole match, it intends to glue the reader to the match coverage using text banners for major highlights such as when a goal is scored or a when a card given to a player. These text banners entice the reader to continue to read until the blog publishes more information of that highlight. It is an excellent technique to maintain the reader’s attention.
The use of Text Banners: The use of text banners highlights a major action or highlight within the football match, with the reader having access to the main context and keeping them glued to the blog, waiting for more information of the major action.
Fast, Accurate and Informative: Football matches required accurate and speedy coverage due to football being a fast-flowing game. Regular real-time coverage keeps the reader informed.
Website Ads: A website filled with ads can be an turn-off to the reader and can reduces engagement
Clustered Layout: A layout full of non-relatable images and an un-tidy website effects the publication of the blog and might affect incoming traffic.
4. Cambridgeshire-News: A14 – Cambridgeshire Live Traffic Updates Blog
Live Road Traffic is essentially important for regular drivers who require instant updates regarding traffic and travel. Cambridge Live delivers live updates regarding travel through the A14 in the UK.
The blog intends to provide comprehensive coverage of any delay, incidents, accidents and general roadworks in the area which may disrupt travel. The traffic blog also invites instant twitter updates on the blog. The blog isn’t as informative unlike blog events, however it is responsive and instant focusing on major traffic events. The blog also integrates with Facebook and twitter to provide real-time updates across various media outlets.
Responsive and Instant: Upon a major traffic incident occurring, a traffic blog is useful because it only focuses on essential pieces of information for drivers.
Interactive Twitter and Facebook feeds: The use of Twitter and Facebook feeds are particularly impressive because it connects with other users who may have important traffic updates.
Lack of Notifications or Alerts: Although the updates are specific, users who have access to the blog may not be informed of traffic updates via notifications to their device unless they access the website themselves
5. The Economic Times: Lok Sabha Election Campaign Live Blog
The Economic Times of India reported on the Election Commission and how a decision to take place regarding the invoke of armed forces in campaigns by political leaders.
This blog is more of an informative news blog with regards to Congress candidates and reactions towards the election commission, with the blog also using twitter feeds to gauge the reaction of fellow politicians. This blog is an example of not reaching out to the audience and doesn’t seem to cater to any common questions or structure to the topic. These types of blogs are, however, effective research gathering and illustration.
Use of Twitter feeds to support the blog updates
A Lack of Context: The information is waffling in parts and fails to focus on the context of the election campaign, rather than overloading with various unrelatable stories.
Not Audience Focused: The reader will struggle to capture the essence of the blog.
A lack of summary or highlights: Readers looking for instant information or key highlights will struggle to easily find these without reading through the whole feed.
6. Europe Elects: Live Blog: 2019 Finnish Election
Europe Elects Live Bloghttps://europeelects.eu/2019/04/14/2019-finnish-election/
EuropeElects.com is popularly known for its breakdown of information about European Union elections. Recently, the 2019 Finnish election was concluded. This live blog is another informative blog providing live coverage of the full election results process. The readers of the blog were informed of the elections coverage with statistical graphics and digital insight of the progress of the election, including seating projections and text coverage of the results. The results were captured with a provisional results chart, making it simpler for the reader to find the winner of the election.
A blog covering election results is somewhat a difficult blog to maintain reader attention. However, the live seat projection are live counts for each election party, and its live updates keep readers to the website as the seat projections continue to evolve during the vote count.
Use of Graphical Insight – Presenting the seat projection in terms of graph statistics immediately shows the reader coverage of the votes and who is leading in terms of the election. A concise method that visually and effectively delivers information to readers.
Information Presented with Data – Presenting information with data immediately hammers home the important facts of the blog.
A lack of Commentary: Commentary is a focal point of blogging a particular event and helps to add voice to the live blog.
7. The Verge: Apple’s “Show Time” TV and news services event live blog
Recently in 2019, Apple announced a new TV Service and News Subscription Plan at an event conference. The blog immediately hammers home what the blog is about, with a sub-heading text banner informing the reader what the event was. The event was widely anticipated, promoting a service to rival other online services such as Amazon and Netflix.
Requiring speed and accuracy of the coverage, the live blog is reported with live image snippets and commentary of the event, capturing live speeches for the CEO and informing readers on reactions on stage. The publication of the event in the blog provided regular real-time auto-updates every minute and is user-friendly to the reader to keep readers interested.
Informative and Accurate: The blog provides instant updates with the use of quotes to capture commentary reactions of the CEO and other celebrities.
Pins the most relevant information: Should the reader require immediate information, the use of pinning posts informs the reader of the key events of the coverage.
Some may not like the informal language: The language presented to the reader is somewhat casual and a matter of reader preference and voice of the brand.
What we can learn from the above examples
The live blogs we have picked out are not intended to demonstrate the best of the best. Instead, they are meant to highlight and exemplify some of the techniques of providing live, interactive ,and textual coverage of ongoing events to different audiences. Our Pros and Cons list showcases what we believe are good practices based on the different formats and types of live content the blogs aims to cover.
What ultimately works for a given news site can only be discovered through having a thorough understanding of your readers’ behavior, your market, and what type of events you are covering. The key to uncovering these, we believe is having the tools to iterate often, and thereby quickly learning what resonates with your readers.
The upside of successfully engaging readers with live blogs is significant. As a format for covering events, live blogging is widely considered one of the most influential and engaging methods.
Take the Guardian for example, with a reported peak audience of 14.4 million browsers, their ability to trap each reader in every corner to read their live blogs is proven by the astonishing peak traffic numbers captured by their stories.
This sort of numbers might sound unreachable, but regardless of your site’s reach and market, creating highly engaging live blogs that create loyal and return reader groups is achievable if enough planning, insight, and technical capabilities are applied.
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