Live Blogging Best Practices

If you’re arranging an exhibition or event, or even if you’re just attending one as an exhibitor, you want as many people to know about this as possible, so that you can get the most out of the day. No doubt beforehand, you’ll be trying to get the word out on your social media channels, through blog posts, perhaps even a microsite, and through your email marketing and so on, but you should also know that this shouldn’t stop on the day of the event.

Live blogging is the perfect strategy to employ during your event to keep those not in attendance connected to the event, and to engage those who are connected with your social media and internet presence.

Why Practice Live Blogging?

You can use Twitter on the day of the event to send out short updates about what’s happening, or any interesting news or industry updates that you think people should be aware of. You can also create your own trending topic using the #hashtag. For example, if you own a retail store and you are arranging a fashion show, create a hashtag around that event, and encourage your participants to use it in their tweets from the event. You can do this simply by including the twitter logo and your hashtag on your banners, pamphlets, and other literature. Twitter updates are very short, however, so if you’ve got something to say that’s going to take more than 140 characters, it’s not the best way of doing things.

That’s where live blogging comes in. It’s not something that’s mentioned very often, but you can see it in action quite a lot, for example on many websites, mostly for sporting events, such as the recent Olympics. Through live blogging, you can get word out to potential clients or others who might be interested in your event. If it’s an open event you might even be able to draw in a few more prospects.

Live blogging is also really useful for keeping your fans and clients updated with industry developments. For example, if there are product demonstrations or talks by experts, you can share things you’ve learned without worrying about being limited by characters.

What To Consider About Live Blogging

There are a couple of things you need to keep in mind if you want to live blog from your next event. Firstly, don’t try to be the first to report on EVERYTHING. Just aim at being the best. Getting a scoop is great, but it also needs to be backed up with informed, well-written posts and opinions.  Otherwise, people won’t bother, and they’ll just find the information they need elsewhere.

With live blogging, you’ll still want to keep your posts fairly short; if you’re sending out posts in quick succession, you don’t want them to be essays! Nobody wants to read that, any more than you want to have to write it.

And remember that there is a big difference between live blogging and real time. Don’t try and type at superhuman speed, just focus on the things that will be of most interest to your readers.

How to Prepare for Live Blogging

If you want to live blog your next exhibition or event, you’ll need:

  • a laptop, tablet or smartphone
  • chargers for the above, in case batteries run out!
  • a digital camera, including a camcorder setting (with a decent microphone for interviews)
  • digital recorder

And you’ll also need to:

  • double check that you will definitely have access to the Internet on the day
  • check how much Internet access will cost – some venues will charge.

Writing for Your Live Blog

Television stations and popular websites that have a massive budget probably use the most powerful blogging software there is to keep up with its updates and readership, but if you don’t have a large budget, there are still some applications you can use that will work just as well for your venture.

The best known application for live blogging is probably Coveritlive, however, since they have now eliminated their free option (there is now only a free trial), this might not be the best option for smaller budgets. If you’re looking for a free application, the following three are great resources:

  • WordPress’s liveblogging plugin –aptly called “Liveblogging”. Ideal if your site is built on WordPress.
  • Wordfaire – embeds into your site, and you can get 1000 updates per month, quite useful if you’re only using it for events!
  • G-Snap – has quite a lot of cool features, and users can host photos, videos, polls and more. You can also update on both Twitter and Facebook.

Live blogging is not ideal for every exhibition or event, but it can be very useful given the correct circumstances and when run by the correct people. Not only can live blogging keep those who are unable to attend connected to your event, it can also draw in people to visit your event. Have you had any experience with live blogging a particular event or exhibition for your business? What are your tips for live blogging? Leave us your thoughts in the comments!

These live blogging tips are brought to you by Helen Laird of Astro Exhibitions, an exhibition stand design company based near Manchester, UK. Astro have many years’ experience in the events and exhibition industry, and build exhibition stands for companies such as BASF, Siemens and Casio. You can view their design portfolio here.

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