Live Blogging Best Practices

November 20, 2008

Each day is an adventure on the Internet, particularly when you work in the interactive space, as I do, and are exposed to so many things online. Live blogging is a growing trend as companies figure out how to engage with bloggers on a productive basis. And as a blog reader, it offers the benefit of experiencing an event that you cannot attend physically. It’s a win-win all the way around for marketers to engage with bloggers and exposure to their “fill in the blank”, blog publishers to participate and play a role, and readers to engage in ways they would not be able to otherwise.

During this morning’s adventure I came across a blog which was created around a small marketing industry event that made me blush. Their attempt at live blogging was to comment on their own blog post during their event. This blog will remain un-named as it’s not the point to embarrass anyone. Another separate incident over the past month was of a smart, well-intentioned person who live blogged via email. I will say the recipients, although unsuspecting, were grateful for the communication and in sharing in the event that they were not able to attend. Which is part of the purpose so points for creating value on that one. Now I didn’t see any other comments on the aforementioned blog, except the authors, so I can’t be sure there was ever an audience sharing in that event. I’m seeing a need to get some ground rules established here.

So what is live blogging and why do people do it? As summed up in a post on BlogHer:

“Live blogging is basically taking notes, photos, or recordings at lectures, conferences, and presentations of what was said and posting it to your blog.”

I will add the element of timeliness to that definition, it is publication that occurs during the event. Live blogging is performed by attendees and participants in an event. It’s an attendee multiplier spreading the word about the event/company/product beyond the event itself to the readers of each blog.

Technically Live blogging is typically accomplished through full fledged blogs or microblogs but there’s a trend of video blogging on the rise. Video can be shared by live streaming an entire speaking session while simultaneously microblogging and live commenting with viewers. It can also take the form of a more polished and produced show or interview. Below is another example of live blogging in this case using Twitter (microblog). This live blog stream is from the Web 2.0 Expo.

#web2expo live blog stream

#web2expo live blog stream

Now that you have the ground rules set, keep these tips in mind if you plan to participate or host a live blogging event.

Becoming a Live Blogger:

  • Is easy if you are already blogging. Jump in if the event makes sense for your audience.
  • Is even easier using a microblog like Twitter or Plurk. They are simple to start up and each post is only two or three sentences.
  • Use event hashtags. In the Twitter example above the hashtag was #web2expo which allows anyone interested in the event to find it in a search, and then follow. This makes you official.
  • It is a “pull” type of media meaning people who want to read it will subscribe or go to it. Do not email live updates to your email list (inviting them is ok though). Stick to “blogging”.
  • Promote it prior to the event, let your audience know that your going and plan to live blog. They can then plan ahead, it is after all live and a time sensitive engagement.
  • Use the type of media you’re most comfortable with but don’t be afraid to experiment. Audiences love narrative text, and pictures and video even more.
  • Be descriptive in your posts but have a point or learning to share. We do not need a line by line of what’s going on, filter the highlights.

Hosting Live Bloggers at Your Event:

  • Plan and promote well in advance.
  • Start with your blogger network.
  • If you don’t have a network you have a lot of work to do, blogger outreach is a whole process I can’t cover here.
  • Reach out and invite all attendees to live blog.
  • Feature your live bloggers during the event. Link them from your event site, your blog etc.
  • Consider using an event social networking tool such as Crowdvine to connect people and stream live blogs on your event website.
  • Do not forget to provide an official hashtag for the event. Twitter it, blog it and send it to your bloggers shortly prior to the event.
  • Do not abandon your audience post event. Engage with them and offer ways that they can stay updated on your event/product/company. Be careful not to be salesy or invasive.

If you have experiences or tips please share. Happy blogging.

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