Liveblogging is quite an interesting phenomenon that has only become prevalent in the last few years. Essentially, this is when people post quick updates and commentary alongside a live event such as the Golden Globes, the Super Bowl, a national election or another big event that millions of viewers are watching and commenting on at the same time.
“According to SocialGuide’s 2013 Super Bowl Advertising Report, 5.3 million people sent out 26.1 million tweets during the course of the entire game.”
Liveblogging certainly isn’t limited only to big events, though. If there is something going on locally, like a festival, you can get users engaged about that or about an event going on via your business.
Step-By-Step Guide to Planning Your Liveblogging Event
1 – Decide Where the Livefeed Will Occur
You have a number of choices as far as where you can engage your customers during the live event.
Another option is to get everyone involved with PiratePad
ScribbleLive is another option that might work for your website
It really doesn’t matter which platform you choose, only that you choose one in plenty of time to let your customers know and announce the liveblogging to others.
2 – Choose an Event
There are many types of events you can use to liveblog about.
Event at Your Place of Business
If you can find an event that ties into your business in some way, or create an event, such as an awards party for your customers, and then liveblog about that, this can be particularly effective. However, you can also gain attention from new customers by blogging about trending topics.
For example, let’s say you run a business where you sell T-shirts featuring NASCAR sayings or other race items. A good liveblogging event to focus on would be the Indy 500 race. Go to the race, or watch it on television, and start talking about what’s going on.
3 – Pick a Liveblogging Team
You shouldn’t have to do all the blogging on your own. Choosing a team of people to report on different aspects of the event can work really well. MIT explains the different roles that are possible with a live blogging team.
They liveblog on speakers, so the roles tie into a live speaking event, but you can certainly adapt these for almost any event.
This person would post updates on what the speakers are saying. Let’s say that you are liveblogging about the Grammy’s. The transcriber would post quotes, the funniest jokes, and announcements like “the Grammy goes to…”
MIT describes the linkhound as the person who posts links that either the speaker mentions or that relate in some way to the speech. For example, if you’re covering a presidential debate, and one of the speakers says they created a website for local organizations to collaborate, the linkhound would seek out the address of that website and post it to the livefeed.
Polisher & Narrative Threader
MIT’s description is that this person talks about the overall theme. However, this person’s role could go much deeper for many events. If you’re covering a red carpet event, this person might describe the dresses, who is with who and offer up topics for discussion. The narrative threader might pose a question while covering a game, such as: “Who won the 1996 Super Bowl?” or “Which player do you think will get MVP in this year’s Super Bowl?” The idea would be to get those viewing the livefeed participating in the conversation.
These three roles will get you started on forming your own team, but be open to adding other roles as they make sense for your event and your organization. Be sure each person on the team, especially those who might be cross-posting on social media, to use a specific identifier to build brand recognition for your company. For example, if someone Tweets about your liveblogging, ask them to use #mybiz (use your own identifier here).
4 – Get the Word Out
Well before the event, you’ll want to let your current customers know that you’ll be liveblogging and ask them to participate in the discussion. Send out e-mails, post notices with dates and times on your blog and on social media.
In addition, ask them to let others know about the liveblog. This is a great way to reach new customers with a goodwill gesture and get your name out there. Top Rank Blog suggests cross-promoting (if you are blogging on your own site) by having another person posting updates on Twitter and Facebook along with a link back to the livefeed on your own website.
If a topic is trending on Twitter already, this can be particularly effective. You’ll want the person reposting on these platforms to be SEO savvy and to keep an eye on trending topics on both sites and use those hashtags. For example, if you’re liveblogging about the NBA playoffs, then you might want to use #playoffs at the end of each post, but you’ll want to see what other Tweets are using as a hashtag and then go with that to get in the loop.
Get People to Participate
You might be wondering why people would participate in your liveblog when they can just as easily go on their own Twitter profile and post notes. The answer is that you have to entice them into participating in your feed either instead of or as well as on Twitter. How can you accomplish that?
One of the best ways to get people excited is to offer contests and drawings. Let’s say you build websites for people. You invite your customers to participate in your liveblogging event and let them know that every 15 minutes, there will be a random drawing for those who’ve posted something in the last 15 minutes to win a prize. Prizes will include items or services related to your business.
If you own a brick and mortar business, you may be able to get other businesses involved in the event and have each contribute a prize. The person who wins the prize gets introduced to that business and will hopefully become a loyal customer.
Another thing you’ll want to be sure to do is to collect e-mail address from those who participate and invite them to be a part of your mailing list to stay updated on other events and specials. You can then let them know when you have a sale going on or some special new service, etc.
Lee Odden, an online marketing guru, has used liveblogging to grow the reach of his online business. He suggests:
“Liveblogging can create connections with speakers.There’s an expression I’ve used many times – If you want to get into the media, become the media.”
There are many reasons for a business to plan a liveblogging event. Knowing what you want to accomplish with the event ahead of time can help you plan everything from the platform to the promotion of the event to the items you’ll blog about.
If you aren’t quite sure about investing the time in a complete event, consider instead choosing an event related to your business, writing a blog post, and then getting involved in discussion on Twitter or another social media network and at some point adding the link to your blog post (of course, don’t be spammy about it).
There are as many ways to use liveblogging as there are different promotional channels. No matter how you decide to use this tool, stay open to what your participants want and how you can build a brand name for your business through short, informative posts.
Article by Lori Soard
Lori Soard has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 1996. She has a bachelor's in English Education and a PhD in Journalism. Her articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines, online and she's had several books published. Since 1997, she has worked as a web designer and promoter for authors and small businesses. She even worked for a short time ranking websites for a popular search engine and studying in-depth SEO tactics for a number of clients. She enjoys hearing from her readers.