Tips to cover The Russo-Ukrainian war with Live Blog
What is going on in Ukraine right now?
On February 24, Putin launched a massive attack on Ukraine claiming to protect people subjected to genocide and aiming for the demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine. He also threatened to use the nuclear bomb if any other country decide to interfere with his goals of making Ukraine a satellite country of Russia. In response to that NATO took severe economical sanctions and deployed troops in the region to protect the European border. This situation caused million of Ukrainian to flee their home, but above all, it raised a devastating Third World war threat that concerned everyone not only the Russian and Ukrainian citizens.
As we are entering a new global crisis now, more than ever it is important to keep the population informed. To cover the crisis in the best way, editorial teams need to find tools that will allow them to effectively get the fact across in real-time and also allow them to focus on storytelling. Liveblogging is especially suited for this kind of situation that unfolds over a longer period and requires capturing a variety of perspectives on what is happening.
But what are the benefits and why you choose to cover the war with live blogging?
They are several benefits to live blog during the Russia -Ukraine crisis:
- Reader engagement and growth
Engaging and dynamic, live blogs encourage readers to interact with content. They can easily send questions to experts, share their thoughts on the current stressful war events. Also since everybody is concerned by the current Russian-Ukrainian war your live blogs will most likely generate a lot more views and traffic than a regular article on another topic.
- Talk about news as they happen
When the news is as important as a World War 3 threat, people no longer wish to wait until the end of the day to watch TV or read long articles about what happened. Live blog posts are published as things happen, giving an immediate context to what’s new and informing people right away.
- Optimize editorial work
In today’s fast environment, optimizing all the work you can is essential. An outstanding live blog benefit is that it automatically reaches out for content in many different channels, bringing out several sources of information together to optimize and fasten editorial work. Live Center for example is the most intuitive live blog platform in the market and requires little to zero training for journalists to create, edit and publish a post. This means that journalists can quickly get onboarded.
Now that you know what’s the importance of covering this conflict, here are some tips on how to maximize the editorial effort, and engagement.
Here is a perfect example of a great Ukrainian live coverage powered by Live Center: https://news.sky.com/story/ukraine-news-latest-war-putin-russia-skynews-live-12541713
Choose a robust and reliable live blog provider that can handle bursts of traffic
The Ukrainian conflict is such an important topic therefore, you should expect more traffic on your website when live blogging. This is why it is crucial to choose a reliable Live blog provider that can ensure continuous service and a high degree of performance. See below some of the best Live blog providers:
- Live Center is built in a distributed fashion with several layers of caching to effectively deal with bursts of high traffic and to sustain a large number of concurrent users. The core Live Center services run on multiple continents, and users are directed to the data center most performant for them automatically. For static content distribution, we use a globally distributed CDN with edges around the world that in turn access the data center closest to them. Learn more about Live center here: https://livecenter.com/
- Live rock content is perhaps the solution that started the live blogging form of publishing back in 2008. Starting as an enterprise solution for breaking news coverage and live events, it has morphed into a content marketing platform that is used by publishers, markets, and event planners alike around the world.
- The Live Blog Pro also offers a variety of features that will spark your interest in the live blogging career, and help you kick start your community of viewers. While suitable for both niches sites and larger organizations, it does however not offer the same level of customization that Live Center does.
Preparing for your live blog
When covering such an important news topic, it can be helpful to prepare content that you can post throughout especially when things are moving very fast. This can be finding relevant tweets by searching for hashtags, interesting articles, pictures/videos of interviews, and 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 in the field and potential writers at the news desk are in sync, all need to have access to necessary tools that are going to be used. This can ensure that pictures are uploaded to the media library, that everyone has access to the live blog software being used, etc.
Here are 2 live blog features that help you prepare your live coverage:
- Draft post/ publish later: With Live center, journalists can write a post and schedule it for a later time it helps you to stay organized.
- Photo Mode: During Global crises such as the Ukraine crisis, things happen quickly and there is a need to fast and easily get images into your live blog. Live Center’s Photo Mode allows a photographer or user responsible for images to rapidly upload images from a folder with just a few clicks and using only the keyboard. Read more about the feature here: https://support.livecenter.com/photo-mode
- Twitter automation: Live Center’s Twitter Automation allows you to search Twitter from inside Live Center to find relevant tweets to embed in your live blog. You can choose to either manually select which tweet to include in your blog or set up the integration so that any new tweet is automatically posted. This way you won’t need to spend time looking for important tweets. Read more about Live Center twitter automation feature: https://support.livecenter.com/twitter-automation
Know your audience and know what they are interested in
Once you have your live coverage tool, establish your editorial team the next step would be to find out what the audience wants to read and learn how you can engage readers to help online interactions and conversions.
The amount of information about the conflict is massive and it can be overwhelming for newspapers to choose what to cover or not. Here are a few tips on how to proceed:
- Find out Who and Where Your Readers Are
- Ask Them What reader about Want
- Review Your Website Visitor and Search Data, Google Search Console Queries…
- Ask for Engagement and Feedback
Once you know what the audience wants to read about as journalists, you need to start editing your live blog content focusing on the fundamentals below:
- Keep reader up to date
- Give context for developments
- Explain the fundamental concepts
- Give a broad view of events
Include social media into your feed to attract a wider audience
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine highlights how social media platforms have added new dynamics to age-old patterns of information. We’ve seen weapons like guns, tanks, missiles, and more on the ground in Ukraine. at the same time, social media has risen as a useful weapon both for Ukraine and Russia. Also, Ukrainians are using social media platforms not just to inform the rest of the world, but also to build a strong support network. Therefore it is crucial when live blogging to include social media posts. On the other hand, social media rise waves of misinformation and fake news, which is sometimes hard to verify. This means that journalists are also having to sharpen their verification and fact-checking skills in a digital environment.
Here are some tips on how to verify social media posts before posting on your live blog:
- Verify the source – speak to them and cross-reference answers with social data
- Analyze the online discussions on the topic
- Check content quality(image, video, text, etc..)
- Investigate how the information spreads across the network
Promote your Live Blog
Another important element when it comes to liveblogging Ukraine -Russian conflict is promotion. As a newspaper, you’ll want to drive as much traffic to your website as possible. However, with evidence suggesting that millions of live blogs are being published every day, you’ll need to think outside of the box to be visible to your reader and to rank high on google search. Social media such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are great places for promotion allowing you to bring a younger audience to your site. We’ve also seen newspapers promoting live blogs on their main page with large banners or alert articles. Lastly, make sure that your subscriber knows about your live blogging by sending them email promotions or SMS.
If you are keen on trying out live blogging to cover the Ukrainian crisis, Live Center provides a 30-day free trial where you have complete freedom to create and run as many live blogs as you want.