Similarly to other digital marketing practices, live blogging can be achieved using a variety of platforms, from dedicated live blogging sites to social media, namely Twitter. Live blogging is a major component of event marketing, where the aim is to both update readers online and also boost engagement by encouraging conversation and discussion. This can then generate interest for upcoming events or create leads that can be converted later.
Event businesses who host multiple events throughout the calendar year will have live blogging in some form, but it can also be used when businesses attend a trade show or exhibition, as well as special one-off events like recreational company BBQs for example. Another important use of live blogging is the ability to share and promote your business while at a trade show or exhibition, posting timings for your talks or perhaps the location of your stand so that potential customers can find you easier.
Challenges of live blogging
Live blogging is a marketing technique that is difficult to master for numerous reasons. Timing is a crucial factor for a successful live blog; ensuring information is posted promptly will help readers feel as though they are in touch with the event and give them more incentive to ask questions spontaneously and organically. Posting too early can feel scripted and disingenuous, whereas posting too late can negatively impact engagement as readers will feel less connected. The frequency of posting is also important, as updates that are too frequent may come across as spam and deter readers.
As well as timing, the content itself needs to be accurate, of high quality and ideally containing reasons for the readers to engage. When the content being posted doesn’t fully represent the event or your business, readers will be less likely to engage and continue following it. Furthermore, failure to capture the reader’s attention will mean there’s less chance of them sharing your content, therefore inhibiting your ability to reach a wider audience. Trade shows and exhibitions are often expensive and involve a lot of planning so in order to ensure they’re as beneficial as possible, which means live blogging has to be done well.
Effective live blogging – Timing
As previously mentioned, timing is the first aspect of live blogging to consider. Before any event, it’s essential to have a plan or schedule for your posts. This may involve using an agenda for the event so see when specific presentations or pitches are occurring, so you can then gain an idea of when to post. Live blogging can also begin before the event actually starts, by posting travel guidance, answers to FAQs, and reminders of important event times or dress codes. During an event, provide readers with how much time is remaining until certain activities or actions, so they can plan ahead and ensure they free up availability to stay up to date with it.
Live blogging for readers who haven’t attended needs to be clear and follow a coherent structure to avoid confusion. They should be able to understand exactly what’s happening and when, so they can spontaneously react and ask questions. If focusing on readers who are attending the event, the aim will be to provide updates on any last minute changes such as presentations moving to a different room or changing start times. It’s about ensuring attendees can easily find the people or businesses most relevant to them.
Effective live blogging – Content
The content itself can be difficult to get right. It needs to be informative and communicate clearly what’s happening in a reactive manner. A portion of the content can be prepared beforehand using schedules and agendas, so it allows for more time to write the best possible content. This will allow for questions to be asked in the text and provide clear descriptions for people to follow. As with any content produced in digital marketing, it needs to be of high quality and keep readers engaged.
Possibly the most challenging aspect of live blogging is creating reactive content; at any event, there will be many conversations and presentations that won’t be preplanned, especially the specific details and quotes. This all has to be written live and it therefore involves quick thinking and reactivity. For example, a particularly powerful quote should be posted rapidly so people can respond and join the conversation. Focusing on correct grammar then becomes vital as mistakes can easily occur when writing live. It’s therefore ideal to have a proof-reader available to check over posts before they go out. Posting text with spelling mistakes or perhaps tagging the wrong person can be messy and poor for brand image.
Reacting to unforeseen circumstances is also an important and difficult part of live blogging. At any event, things can go wrong and these must be communicated effectively to readers in a clear and concise manner. When there are many attendees in a building it’s vital to stop any complications both from a customer satisfaction perspective but also for health and safety. Creating unnecessary panic or conflict would be highly damaging to the event brand.
Effective live blogging – Engagement
Live blogging is a great way to boost engagement at the event. Encouraging people to respond and join discussions is great for building brand awareness and also for generating potential leads. People can instantly reply directly on Twitter, or leave comments in forum-based blogs, where the blogger can then respond and strike up conversation. This may in turn encourage readers to share or post about the event, leading to a wider audience. While engaging with readers is highly effective, it does further increase the challenging nature of live blogging, as a balance needs to be struck between creating the content itself and replying to readers.
If there are speakers at an event, it’s good practice to tag them in your content by including links to their personal LinkedIn accounts, or perhaps links to their work available online. These speakers may then interact with your content and share it, further growing impressions. Call-to-actions can be a highly effective method for increasing engagement; they allow readers to click through and transition from the live event to the company website where they can view the products and services available. If a reader replies showing interest or intent, perhaps asking for more information on the business, bloggers can reply with the necessary details using specific product pages.
Live blogging is a niche but powerful field of digital marketing. While it may not be used regularly for most businesses, it can be extremely useful for generating interest, building brand awareness, and boosting engagement. It’s fast-paced and requires a lot of reactivity, which can lead to errors or mistakes so it’s always ideal to have somebody on your team to proof-read and support with any information you may have missed.
At Inflowing, we have vast amounts of experience working with events, providing full year-round support and event marketing services. We’ve discovered first hand the benefits of live blogging, gaining large volumes of interactions and engagement during the events. If you’d like event marketing support, or any other digital marketing services, feel free to get in touch for a friendly chat.
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