How to Live-blog or Cover an Event Live (Complete Guide)
If you’re attending a conference or event — say Apple WWDC or Google I/O — that’s related to your blog or niche, you must consider live-blogging. Live-blogging is posting rolling updates to your blog about the live event rather than posting a report after the event gets completed.
Through live blogging, if you can provide regular updates with useful insights throughout an event, your readers will most likely take your blog as a go-to place for event coverage. Also, live-blogging may help your blog get better visibility in web searches and may help boost your blog rank with search engines too.
That is why, you must learn the tips and tricks of live-blogging like a pro, which is the goal of this post. So, let’s get started.
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1. Prepare well before the event
First of all, you must choose a relevant event with the right audience. The live conference or event must match your blog niche and fit with your readers. Then, you must set goals for live-blogging. And finally, you must prepare as much as possible before the event since you must post updates as soon as possible.
Check the event website
An event website is a great place to start researching the event. You can get the schedule of the event along with its speakers, sponsors, and corporate participants.
With this information, you can research more about them and create initial content for your live-blog including speaker details and links.
Speak out to the speakers
If your live event has a website, it will probably list the schedule of the event along with its speakers. If the site doesn’t show it, try checking the site later as they may post the speakers’ info just some days before the live event.
Once you know them, try reaching out to them on social media and telling them about your plan to cover the event. You can share the post link with them and on social media with attribution to them, calling them in a conversation.
And if they engage with you on social media, do share your excitement to hear them.
Design graphics and templates
It’s good to include graphics in blog posts as it interests users and helps with SEO. However, it takes time to create graphics, so you should consider creating them in advance.
If it’s not possible, you should create or download graphic templates with ample space to include some info or quotes from the event.
Be ready to talk to your audience
People always love insider insights about events. So you must prepare a list of questions you can ask the speakers and/or the audience at the event. If you speak to the speakers, you can get their take about the event.
Or you can discuss the event with attendees and ask their take about the event and its speakers.
You can also spread the word on your social media channels about interviewing people in the event and ask people to send questions. You may get surprised by people’s creativity and curiosity in asking questions related to the event.
2. Choose a blogging platform
Since you’ve prepared for the event, now is the time to pick your blogging platform. You can choose among multiple options based on their pros and cons (which I’ll discuss below under each sub-heading) and your preferences.
Your existing blog
Using your existing blog as the liveblogging platform is the most obvious choice — especially if you’re looking forward to boosting your blog audience through live-blogging. You probably need to create a category or tag for the event to help your readers follow it. Also, it’s suggested to write an introductory post.
Alternatively, you can create a single blog post or page dedicated to the event. However, you must create a post or page per day for a multi-day event. Also, you should consider having multiple authors for covering large conferences.
Using a microblogging site like Twitter or Tumblr to live-blog an event may work better than your blog if you want to provide short updates.
Also, it’s probably a better idea if you’ve a major following on Twitter or Tumblr. Otherwise, you should think about live-blogging using your blog or a live-blogging service.
If you’re opting for a microblogging site for covering the event, check if there are hashtags associated with the event and make use of them. Also, you can include the microblogging feed in your blog to send updates to both audiences.
Using a live-blogging service like 24liveblog or Arena.im provides you additional benefits over your blog or a microblogging site. These tools provide features to engage your audience and grow social engagement like content walls, event analytics, group chat rooms, spam control, etc.
Moreover, they allow you to embed your liveblog in your blog, boosting the reach of your event coverage. Also, 24liveblog allows contributors and editors to write on your liveblog and enables you to live-stream the event directly.
3. Choose an enjoyable device
After you’re done picking a platform for live-blogging, you need to choose a device for live-blogging. Since you’ll be on the go, the most obvious choices are laptop, mobile, and tablet.
It also greatly depends on the event: will the sitting be tight, will you need a full-day charge, or will you be comfortable using the device?
You must ask such questions before picking the devices. You must charge your devices to 100% before leaving for the event. It’s advised to carry extra batteries or power banks just in case; you never know if you’ll need them. And you should carry a tripod along with a camera — especially if you plan to live-stream it.
Also, don’t forget to test your devices prior to the event — especially if you bought any new equipment for covering the event. There’s nothing worse than you working or recording for an hour and your device getting crashed. Or the recording getting blurred or deleted or getting recorded without the audio.
4. Post blog at the live event
There are several things to keep in mind when you’re at the event. First of all, you must understand you’ll make mistakes. Live-blogging will have grammatical errors, typos, and whatnot. It’s mostly unavoidable — especially if you’re trying to post quick updates as close to real-time as possible during the live event.
Then, be mindful and respectful of others in the event. You should pick a device per comfortability in there, i.e., use a mobile or tablet instead of a laptop if you’ve less space.
If you’re clicking a photo or recording a video, remember to turn off the flash (it distracts the speakers) and turn up the ISO setting instead. Also, if the lights are dim in there, adjust your device’s brightness accordingly.
5. Live-stream at the event
If you want to enrich the experience of your audience following the event, you can live-stream along with live-blogging. It helps your audience get better and richer coverage of the event.
In case you’ve got team members with you, one of you can manage the camera for live-streaming while the others do live-blogging.
If you’re going individually to the event, you should carry a tripod as well (as I suggested it above). You can set up the camera on the tripod and then focus on live-blogging while the camera is managing live-streaming to your audience.
For the live-streaming, you can make use of a variety of platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Also, if you choose a live-blogging service for covering the event, check if it supports live-streaming. If yes, you can live-stream directly, and if not, opt for the platform with the most audience.
6. Go beyond live blogging
Live-blogging can’t be the end of your coverage at the conference or event. You should consider more ways to cover the event and reach a larger audience. You can set up a collection on Flickr to showcase your images of the event. Then, you can share your live blog on social media channels like Twitter and Facebook.