How to use live news blogging to increase your reader engagement

How to use live news blogging to increase your reader engagement

Top of mind

Reader engagement is on everyone’s mind these days. As publishers and newspapers shift from an ad-based to a subscription based revenue model, how and where readers are engaged has become a top priority because it largely impacts if readers will convert to paying subscribers.  

Live blogging can be used to cover everything from fashion shows to financial markets and live weather blogging. They can be used to cover a specific event that lasts just one evening or to provide a continuous feed of updates on an industry.

Below is an example of our Live Center solution being used to live blog the product release of the Iphone 7 by Dagens Næringsliv.

Iphone 7 keynote live blogDagens Næringsliv

Live blogging as a tool for reader engagement

A great way to increase engagement with a reader base is to provide them with live feed or breaking news content. Live blogging allows one or more users to provide near real-time coverage of an event, topic, of news segment. A live blog can either be embedded in an article, or a standalone channel which provides a continuous feed of posts. Both methods have the goal of bringing the reader closer to news as they happen. Creating this close connecting between readers and the events is the secret sauce of live blogging as an engagement building tool. 

Competing with other media formats requires more than just text –  a live blog is not just a fact-based, black and white, announcement channel of what is happening, it incorporates audio, visuals, and social media to create a vivid account of the topic being covered. A successful blog will orchestrate the all of these mediums through the delivery of posts to bring not only the journalists perspective on the topic, but also what is being said, tweeted, and recorded around the web.

How to effectively use live blogs – a combination of process and tool

So how can journalists, reporters, and commentators create their best-in-class live blog? The first step is to perform an analysis of what topic your reader based values.

Some questions to help get the process started could be:

  • What need or purpose will the live blog serve
  • What are some worries, concerns, or topics my audience care about
  • What value does my live blog offer that is different than others
  • What should the mix of social media, video, audio be
  • How can I engage my readers so that they will keep coming back
  • How time sensitive is the topic I’m covering and how can I ensure I’m the first of my competitors to cover it
Selecting the right live blogging solution for you

Secondly, once a topic has been decided on, it’s time to select a solution which supports you in achieving your live blogging goals. There are a wide range of live blogging tools on the market: some caters to single user blogs and others to enterprise scale live blogging, some which are specifically designed for visual and audio media live event coverage, and some which are for centralized newsroom coverage.

There are many aspects to consider when choosing a  blogging software, but some questions to help navigate the market are:

Does the live blogging software allow real-time publishing?

Speed of delivery is absolutely key since the value of news drastically decays with time. Readers will simply stop returning if you are the last one to report on a time sensitive update.

Does the solution allow you to create custom visuals?

To create customer loyalty, you need to package and communicate news in your own way. That means being able to add engaging custom visuals such as scoreboards for sporting event, election counters for elections, weather alert visuals, traffic alerts, etc. Anything that makes your readers gain more value from your posts will be key to creating the level of engagement that will make them come back again and again.

Does the blog feel integrated with your website

A live blog should be an extension of your brand, and therefore it must allow a high level of customization so that the blog has the same touch and feel as the rest of the website. A live blog that doesn’t align with the style of your website, uses different fonts, colors, etc. will come feel tacky and cheap to your readers.

Scalability

How will the solution behave as your traffic grows? Will it allow the dissemination of posts to the number of readers you hoping to attract? In other words, is it build to scale? As you begin reaching your traffic goals you should not be punished with higher hosting or licensing fee simply because you are successful.

Modern technology & integration

Choosing a solution can be a big investment. It is therefore important that the underlying technology support both your current and future needs. Will it allow integration to the media of the future such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and other mediums of the future? Can it be integrated with your existing CMS?

Create a clear conversion strategy

Finally, it’s important to have a clear strategy for how to convert readers to paying customers. Because if all this work it doesn’t increase conversion, it will all have been for nothing.

 A sustainable live blogging presence takes time and requires continual work to build up a reader base. However if you’ve performed a thorough analysis of your topic, selected a live blogging software which supports the delivery of that topic, and you have the right users to write content, live blogging will become an important and successful part of your operations.

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