7 ways to succeed with your live blog

Create a successful liveblog strategy with Live Center

7 ways to succeed with your live blog

Using live blogging to deliver live breaking news, live sport blogs, or live event coverage is a great way to increase traffic to your site and build reader loyalty. 

Publishers and media outlets are increasingly using live blogs to engage their readers, as The Guardian outlines in this article about the history of live blogs at their newspaper, it has become one of their signature digital formats

Development of the live blog at the Guardian

Whether you run an enterprise scale live blog or are just starting out, there are several key ways you can apply to ensure you succeed with you live blogging:

1. Research

Before you launch your blog you need to decide what your niche and differentiation should be. Part of this process is to research and find good examples of other live blogs on the internet which you like. 

Things to pay special attention are:

  • Voice – what is the writing style of the blog?
  • Blog design – does it feel integrated with the rest of the website?
  • Custom post elements – are there any good examples of post visuals such as interactive maps, counters, scoreboards, etc.

Learning from great examples will help you create a more engaging and crisp live news feed for your audience.

2. Prepare

If you are covering a specific event such as a product release, court hearing, gala, etc. it can be helpful to prepare content which you can post throughout the event when things are moving a bit slow. This can be finding relevant tweets by searching for hashtags, interesting articles and pictures, videos of interviews or introductions leading up to the event, statistics, or other pieces of content which will help enrich the posts in your live blog

If working with multiple contributors it’s important to ensure reports at the event and potential writers at the news desk are in sync, all have access to necessary tools that are going to be used. This can be ensuring pictures can be uploaded to the media library, that everyone has access to the live blog software being used, etc.

3. Communicate in your own way

As mentioned earlier, the first step of any live blog is to determine how to differentiate and  brand the live blog in your own way. Even though live blogs are used to provide minute-by-minute coverage and therefore they tend to be text heavy, the key to succeeding is creating an engaging content delivery for your specific reader audience. 

To achieve this you will need to apply more than just great text content, you need to decide how you your blog should look and what type of custom post visuals you will need

Examples of different live blog designs

Examples of different live blog designsDN.no

Custom post visuals can be anything from sport scoreboards, election candidate counters, stock index panels, etc. Basically any type of visual aid you will need to enrich the posts of you live blog.

4. Engage your audience 

While your live blog is active make sure you have a plan for how your going to engage them. There are many ways to do this, but some examples are:

  • Promote the use of a twitter hashtag which you then embed in posts
  • Collect and reply to readers’ questions and comments

In the same way that live blogging provides readers with a live news feed, readers are increasingly expecting to be able to interact with the news source

Have you previously covered the topic your are live blogging about in an article? 

Writing a post where you reference back to it and highlight why it is relevant and important is a great way to redirect your live blog traffic to other parts of your website. 

Pulling in articles from other news sources is also a great way to show openness and collaboration – and will most likely result in them linking to your blog in return

6. Summarize & highlight

An often overlooked part of live blogging is the flow of traffic while the blog is live. It can be confusing and difficult for a reader who just “dipped in” to understand what has happened and what is going on. Therefore it’s important to highlight and summarize key milestones and events in the live feed every now and then.

Better still, if you’re running a topical live blog which might extend back in time days, weeks, or even month, you can provide a New Overview of the blog.

News Overview of live blog posts

News Overview of live blog postsinvestor.dn.no

A live blog overview allows you to extend the life and increase the value of your posts by repackaging posts in a new format. Posts are highlighted in a dashboard format providing your readers with a summary of the most covered topics in your live blog and highlights the most important posts.

7. Review 

Especially when new to live blogging, after the blog has ended, it’s important to review and reflect on the delivery:

  • What things did we do well that increased engagement with our readers?
  • What could we have done differently? 
  • What are some areas for improvement?
  • Does our live blogging software support the way we want to live blog?
  • Should we incorporate more social media, videos, pictures, etc. in our blog?
The most pivotal aspect

In summary, the most important aspect of a successful live blog is how readers are engaged. Every activity: audience research, live blog software used, design, and content should all align and support a predetermined engagement strategy. Once that strategy has been determined the 7 steps outlined above will fall into place much easier.

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