When to live blog

Live blogging has become a key tactic for news outlets and individuals covering big events. Understanding how to use the form for your company or clients can help you make the most of major events and news. The key is knowing when to live blog.

A live blog is a page updated in real time to cover an event of note. Reporters live blog major news events, including disasters, crime, protests and entertainment. Giving their readers a single page to visit for updates can help keep those users on the outlet’s site and provides one location for text, photos and video.

When to live blog keyboard

Photo credit: GotCredit.com

People are now used to knowing what’s happening right now and live blogs give them the timely updates that spark chatter online. And live blogging is a favorite for tech news and breaking news.

To determine when to live blog for your organization, consider the following:

The basics

Make sure the person or people live blogging have what they need. The best vantage point to see what’s happening (it’s no use if other reporters and bloggers have a better location for content), connectivity, power and that they are empowered to write, edit and post without a long round of approvals. It’s live blogging, not a recap.

How big is big enough?

Tie your live blog to an event that you know will capture users. For some companies, that may be a new product launch event, for others it could be a major employee volunteer event with a public impact and a celebrity guest. You may decide that live blogging is necessary to keep customers apprised of a developing issue. The live blog can be used to provide updates, redirect consumers and let them know when the issue is resolved.

A few hours at most

This format works for short-term events. A live blog over 2 – 3 hours works, but a live blog over a 3 day conference is likely too much. Decide where to focus the live blogging and be prepared to quickly turn content. For instance, if a professional photographer is shooting the event, their camera should be set up to immediately update a stream of photos you can pull as they are taken.

Prep for speed

Live blog content should be written in the moment. That’s why it’s live and not pre-produced. As a digital communications professional, it’s expected that you’ll have key messages and a very clear idea of what to expect at the event. However, there should be some surprises and “wow” moments. If the entire event is scripted and there isn’t anything that will give you great color for blogging, it’s probably not a good event to cover in this way. Consider also your team and whether the right writers are putting the blog together.

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