by Gideon Lehmann | June 25, 2018
News & Updates
Tips and Tricks
June 25, 2018
7 Tips for Live Blogging Your Running Event
From personal experience, I know there’s nothing more exciting than being part of a large running event. From kids high-fiving runners to live music being performed at different points of the race and volunteers handing out water and snacks, there’s always something taking place.
As the organiser of a running event, you’ll want to capture these moments and be able to update your runners with important information. You’ll also need to keep spectators well-informed once the race begins. A live blog will allow you to publish all your updates in one place, ensuring that readers can easily keep up-to-date with the race.
To help you get started, we’ve prepared seven tips that will help you get the most out of live blogging your race day.
This video is made using InVideo.io
#1 Prepare coverage before your running event begins
By having content prepared before the race begins, you’ll have enough time during the event to focus on more pressing updates. Content to create beforehand could include:
- Posts detailing the runners’ profiles
- Interesting facts about the race and its history
- A list of things to see along the race course (monuments, buildings, bridges, etc.)
That way, even during some of the less exciting moments in the race, you’ll always have something to publish.
#2 Engage your readers
By introducing a social media hashtag, such as #LondonMarathon, before your running event takes place, you’ll be able to find relevant social media posts to include in your live blog. You can further increase reader engagement with your coverage by using Live Blog’s user commenting feature, which allows you to collect, moderate and publish your readers’ comments.
#3 Organise your live blog’s timeline
Giving your live coverage a clear structure will help your readers keep track of important updates and help latecomers to your coverage get quickly up to speed. Pinning a post will mean that it stays at the very top of your live blog’s timeline, ensuring that it is the first thing a reader sees. Highlighting posts that contain important pieces of information, such as who is leading at the halfway mark, allows for readers who are pressed for time to quickly scan through your live blog.
#4 Make your data stand out
To help you cover a wide variety of events, Live Blog has several post types available, including scorecards, play-by-play commentary and the presentation of statistics in charts and graphs. You don’t even have to be limited to the existing post types either, as it’s easy to create your own with Live Blog’s freetype feature.
When live blogging the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships in 2017, AthleticsAfrica created a custom post type that allowed them to display small medals next to the winners of a race, which helped to improve the look and feel of their page. The medal post type is now a permanent post type on Live Blog so others can also display the results of the race in this visually appealing way.
To show you just how easy it is to create a specific post type for your running event, I created a custom post type using Live Blog’s freetype feature (seen in the image below). I wanted to call attention to some of the important facts and figures of the running event, so I made a post type that would allow me to make certain parts of my text bold and larger.
#5 Involve your sponsors
Style your live blog according to your sponsors’ corporate identity and branding. This can be done by featuring their logo prominently on your blog and by including ads for their services in your coverage. You may also want to mention your sponsors in prepared posts that concern key moments in the race – perhaps in the lead up to announcing the winners, or if a new national or world record has been set.
#6 Share customised coverage
To reach a wider audience, consider sharing your live coverage with media partners and sponsors. With Live Blog’s output channels, you can customise the look and feel of your live blog for every outlet that you choose to share it with. This means that the same content can be shared on multiple channels, each with a different design.
#7 Turn your live coverage into a multimedia report
While during the race you’ll want the latest updates to come up first in the reader’s timeline, after the event ends you may want to change the default order so that the reader sees the oldest posts first. By doing so, the reader will be able to read the live blog as a multimedia report on the whole event.
June 18, 2018
Live Blogging Pro Tips: Adding Animated GIFs and Unicode Icons to your Live Blog
by Thomas Moran | June 18, 2018
We recently teamed up with the Eurovision Song Contest to help them create an entertaining live blog that provided music fans with updates and behind-the-scenes content throughout the competition. One way in which Eurovision kept their readers engaged with their live blog was by including animated GIFs and Unicode icons (⛵✈ ☂ ☕ ♫) in their coverage.
To help you enrich your live blog with Unicode icons and animated GIFs, and make your own coverage as eye-catching as Eurovision’s, we’ve created a screencast that shows you just how easy it is to include both in Live Blog.
June 6, 2018
Live Blogging the FIFA World Cup: a Game Plan
by Clare Charlesworth | June 06, 2018
From 14 June to 15 July, 32 international football teams will compete in the hopes of being this year’s FIFA World Cup champion. The World Cup is one of the most popular sporting events in the world, with a whopping 1 billion people watching the 2014 final between Argentina and Germany. But naturally, these viewers weren’t just watching on traditional media. An estimated 280 million people watched matches either on a mobile device or online over the course of the event. In FIFA’s words, it’s a clear sign that ‘more and more fans are embracing new technology for sports content’.
One of the technological platforms that many are turning to for online coverage are live blogs, which are an excellent fit for covering sporting events. Have an update on Neymar’s injury? Write a post and have it up on your live blog in seconds. Receiving insider updates from an account on twitter? Grab them and add them with a simple embed code.
Capitalising on the high demand for online coverage of the World Cup, however, can be a daunting task for you and your live blogging team. How best should you present your content so that it is both informative and engaging? How can you make sure that your live blog stands out from other online content on this hugely popular sporting event?
Here are a couple of pointers to help you make the most of your live blog coverage of the World Cup.
#1 Warm up before the match
Match days are sure to be hectic for your blogging team. Having a clear editorial structure in place will save you valuable time when your team begins publishing content. Depending on the scale of your live blogging operation, it might be helpful to manage the different editing privileges that members of your team have. Do you want member A of your team to be able to publish their updates as soon as they finish, but for member B’s posts to be read by an editor first? Establishing this editorial workflow before the match is imperative for staying on top of everything.
Even the most passionate of football fans will begrudgingly admit that not every game is particularly exciting all of the time. At different points in your live blog coverage, such as before the match begins, in the halftime break, or at some slower points in the game, you might struggle to find content and keep your readers engaged. Researching and drafting posts on players and past matches beforehand will mean that you always have enough content to publish throughout your coverage. Live Blog’s editorial workflow structure even allows for potential posts to be stored in your live blog’s contribution section until you are ready to publish.
#2 Provide a structured reading experience
With so many updates throughout the match, you may be worried about your live blog seeming chaotic at times. A football fan visiting your live blog mid-way through the match might struggle to find key moments of the game without having to read through less important posts first. Consider using a pinning feature to have the most relevant information, such as the score of the match, come up first in your live blog’s timeline. Ensure that other interesting updates, such as a commentary on a goal scored, can be distinguished by highlighting the post.
#3 Bring your coverage to life
It can become all too easy for readers to simply gloss over your content if it consists solely of text. Including visual posts, like images and videos of match highlights, will make your live blog’s timeline more dynamic. Additionally, keep an eye on different social media channels for relevant posts to include. With Live Blog, incorporating different forms of multimedia into coverage is simple and intuitive, saving time and effort in high-pressure situations.
Similarly, consider the different methods through which you could represent live data. Conveying complex figures about ball possessions just through text probably won’t resonate as much with readers as a graphic element might. Opt to include charts and percentages that represent the game’s statistics, such as corner kicks, fouls and bookings, visually.
Including a scorecard is an excellent way to represent the most important information about the match. As described in our tips on how to cover the Champions League, scorecards provide readers with the most up-to-date score of the game in an easily understandable manner. Live Blog’s scorecards are easy to update and can also provide more detailed information, such as who scored and in what minute of the game.
Additionally, engage your readers by including a user comment feature, which allows for editors to incorporate reader comments into your live blog’s timeline. By including this feature, you’ll be able to showcase different opinions on how the match is going while also increasing reader participation with your live blog.
#4 Monetise your live blog
Now that you know how to make your coverage of the World Cup more engaging, why not monetise your live blog by including ads from third-party providers or even ones you’ve made yourself? Get in touch with nearby businesses (a local brewery, for example) and ask them to sponsor your coverage in exchange for the inclusion of their ads in your live blog’s timeline.
May 30, 2018
The Highly-Anticipated Events You Should Live Blog this Summer
by Clare Charlesworth | May 30, 2018
From international sporting competitions to decisive elections, there are many highly anticipated events taking place this summer. Some of the events will be over in a flash, making a live blog’s ability to produce real-time updates an asset. Others, such as the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, will take place over several weeks and are perhaps more suited to a ‘slow blog’, which offers updates on a topic over longer periods of time.
To help you keep track of everything going on this summer, we’ve compiled a list of diverse, live-blog-worthy events. If you’d prefer to see this list in a different format, click here to download it as an Excel calendar.
Arts & Culture
Comic-Con (19 – 22 July)
Held in San Diego but followed eagerly by many all over the world, Comic-Con aims to promote an appreciation of comics and pop culture. In recent years, the four-day event has seen attendance exceeding 130,000 and even holds the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest annual comic and pop culture festival.
Edinburgh Fringe Festival (3 – 27 August)
From jazz concerts to stand-up comedy to Rocky Horror performances, there’s no shortage of things to live blog about at the largest performing arts festival in the world.
Eurovision Young Musicians (18, 19 & 23 August)
Part of the Eurovision Family of Events, this music competition consists of performances by young musicians from 18 European countries. If you’re looking for a blueprint, the Eurovision Song Contest recently teamed up with Live Blog to produce an engaging live blog for fans all over the world.
Venice Film Festival (29 August – 8 September)
Established in 1932, this year’s Venice Film Festival will celebrate its 75th edition. Being one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world, many eagerly look forward to finding out who the winners of each category are.
FIFA World Cup (14 June – 15 July)
Every four years the FIFA World Cup takes place, captivating soccer fans all over the world. As is the case for many other sporting competitions taking place in the summer of 2018, Live Blog’s free sports theme is well-suited to covering the FIFA World Cup, with the theme including play-by-play commentary, scorecards and the production of statistics in both charts and percentages.
2018 Wimbledon Championships (2 – 15 July)
This prestigious tennis championship will take place over the course of two weeks at the beginning of July. The BBC has reported that for last year’s Championships it had 24.1 million stream requests via BBC iPlayer and BBC Sport – just one indication of the large demand for online access to coverage of the tennis matches.
Tour de France (7 – 29 July)
First organised in 1903, this multi-stage race takes its cyclists, and the many viewers who follow passionately from home, all over the French countryside.
Formula One, British Grand Prix (5 – 8 July)
This year will be Silverstone’s 70th anniversary as host of Formula One’s British Grand Prix. To celebrate this milestone, throughout the weekend, Silverstone will also have numerous concerts and other entertainment for racing fans to enjoy.
Athletics World Cup (14 – 15 July)
This year’s Athletics World Cup will be held in London and will see eight of the world’s best athletic nations competing against each other for the Athletics World Cup trophy and the $2 million prize that comes with it. While lasting only two days, the Athletics World Cup will consist of 34 track and field events with 102 individual medals also being up for grabs.
European Championships (2 – 12 August)
This will be the first ever European Championships: a multi-sporting event held in both Glasgow and Berlin over eleven days. Organisers expect there is a potential television audience of 1.03 billion people, with additional millions looking for other digital platforms to receive updates.
18th Asian Games (18 August – 2 September)
Also known as the Asiad, the Asian Games is the second largest multi-sport competition after the Olympics. Alongside more “typical” sports, this year’s competition will see eSports being played for the first time, with plans for it to become an official medal sport at the 19th Asian Games in 2022.
44th G7 Summit (8 – 9 June)
To be held in Canada this year, the G7 Summit brings together world leaders from France, Germany, Japan, Italy, the UK, the US and Canada to discuss important issues currently at play in the world.
US – North Korea Summit in Singapore (12 June)
President Donald Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, are set to meet in Singapore for a historic summit on 12 June. Since the details of this meeting seem to change every day, the summit is well suited to live blog coverage as they offer bloggers a simple, fast updating tool, and readers an easy-to-follow stream of information concerning an important event.
There are many elections scheduled to take place this summer, the speculated outcomes of which change almost daily. Due to the unpredictable nature of these elections and the ever-changing circumstances surrounding them, live blogs are an ideal match for coverage. Live blogs are able to offer readers real-time updates as the results become available through a wide range of multimedia, including different infographics showing the results of the elections.
For tips on how to successfully live blog an election, have a read of our blog post.
Some of the many elections taking place include:
- Colombia’s Presidential Election (With the first round on 27 May producing no clear majority, Colombia’s presidential election moves into a runoff with the second round taking place on 17 June.)
- Mexico’s General Election (1 July)
- Pakistan’s General Election (25 July)
- Sweden’s General Election (9 September)
- US 2018 Midterms (6 November)
While taking place in autumn, there’s no need to limit your live blog coverage of the US 2018 Midterms to just election night. Many news organisations have begun to use Live Blog as a slow blog, which allows for coverage of a specific topic over longer periods of time.
A conference might not be the first thing that springs to mind when considering what events might suit live blog coverage. However, there are many advantages that come with putting the two together. Covering a conference with a live blog can increase audience participation and social media coverage of your event, and by archiving your blog, you’ll have an easy-to-read, comprehensive document detailing the conference. To find out other ways in which live blogs can be used to cover conferences, be sure to read our post.
With so many different conferences taking place, we’ve whittled it down to a couple focusing on journalism and media that you might find particularly interesting:
The GEN Summit 2018 (30 May – 1 June)
This year’s Global Editors Network (GEN) summit will take place in Lisbon, Portugal, with the overall theme of this widely attended meeting being ‘Towards the Augmented Newsroom’. For a better understanding of the GEN summit, see our interview with GEN CEO, Bertrand Pecquerie.
World News Media Conference (6 – 8 June)
Featuring many different speakers, including prominent publishers, chief editors and CEOs of different media organisations, the World News Media Conference is held annually to discuss the sustainability of the media industry and media freedom. This year’s conference will be held in Estoril, Cascais, Portugal.
Global Media Forum (11 – 13 June)
‘Global inequalities’ is this year’s theme for Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum, an international media conference that brings together a wide range of fields including journalism, politics and academia to discuss pertinent issues facing journalism today.
World Science Festival (29 May – 3 June)
Bringing together both the general public and some of the brightest scientific minds, the 11th World Science Festival aims to make science more accessible by taking it out of the lab and placing it into ‘the streets, parks, museums, galleries and premier performing arts venues of New York City and beyond’.
NASA (Launch Window: 31 July – 19 August)
NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is scheduled to be launched this summer. Travelling through the sun’s atmosphere, this will be the closest contact any spacecraft has made with a star.
What events are you planning on live blogging this summer? Let us know by using the hashtag #liveblogthissummer
Click here to download this list as an Excel calendar.
April 25, 2018
Top 6 Tips on How to Live Blog Your Next Conference
by Gideon Lehmann | Apr 25, 2018
Here is the good news before you start: Covering your conference with Live Blog is a natural fit. Expect increased user engagement, great social media coverage and easy event-documentation coming out of it. All things you probably already have to take care of but with Live Blog it will be easy to do with just one tool. And with the tips below, we hope your first post will be even easier.
#1 Choose your target audience
With Live Blog you provide minute-by-minute updates of your event to your audience. Now let’s take a moment to think about your target audiences. Live Blog can perfectly be used for both internal and external communication: people not attending the conference can follow the discussions and keynotes on the conference website and even participate by commenting on the live coverage. But apart from this rather classic use-case, Live Blog can also play a good role in engaging the participants of the conference itself. Screen your Live Blog right into the conference room and notice how the visibility of the key arguments to the participants has a positive effect on the discussion itself.
#2 Build a team
Do you have someone in the team taking care of social media and someone doing press relations or dealing with the website? Here you go! Live Blog will actually save them time to reach their goals and have a better audience engagement and outreach. However, live blogging might be a new tool in your communication toolset and building a live blogging team with clear responsibilities is key to a successful live coverage of your event. No matter if there is only one person taking care of the live reporting, a team or if you decide to turn your conference participants into reporters – make sure to clearly assign your team members to the following roles:
- Who is responsible for the blog as a publication?
- Who can publish to the timeline and who is just contributing?
- Who takes care of the social media coverage and is curating the reader comments?
- Once you’ve done that, your coverage will be a smooth operation and a great success!
#3 Prepare well
Live is live and when things are moving forward time is what matters and you will feel great if you can rely on a well-prepared coverage. Here are some suggestions on what you might typically need:
- Ahead of an event set up your Twitter search (and other social media channels) to monitor relevant accounts and hashtags. You can also prepare your first social media posts based on the results of your research and schedule them to be published during the coverage.
- Prepare posts introducing the speakers of your conference. At the beginning of a session keep it at hand and publish it.
- Store your images in a folder available to everyone
- In case your blog is sponsored by a media partner or other type of sponsor – make sure to set up a branded blog and prepare sponsored posts.
#4 Εngage your audience
Studies show that the likelihood of user engagement significantly rises during live events. As a conference organiser, you know this through tracking the trend of your conference hashtag during your event. Live Blog is your ideal partner here because you can both, highlight the activities in the social media by embedding them into your live coverage and make use of the comments feature of Live Blog, curate incoming user messages as well as make them part of your coverage. Another specific aspect, when using Live Blog for conferences, is that you can screen the Live Blog timeline in real time to the conference participants and make them feel particularly engaged seeing their quotes, tweets or comments appearing “big” on the screen.
#5 Publish internally and externally
A Live Blog is normally used to report to an audience that is not present at an event, in (almost) real time about what exactly is happening there. This way you can engage people who were not able to attend the conference, improve the impact of the conference’s outcome and win new participants for your future events – so far so good. But with a Live Blog, you can also reach out to the participants of a conference directly and highlight the importance of their input by screening it on a big screen. This may even have a moderating effect on ongoing discussions in a conference panel: Live Blog sums up the discussion in a way that helps to avoid endless repetitions of arguments already made and shared.
#6 Archive your blog, document your event
Many conference organisers have to actually document the conference output and impact in order to report to their sponsors or initiators. Live Blog will help you with it and save a lot of time. If you cover a conference with a Live Blog you can archive the blog by saving it with the first post on top, emphasizing certain posts as highlights and pin a summary to it on top of the timeline. This way your live coverage becomes a Multimedia documentation of the event and by making use of the analytics feature of Live Blog you can even prove the impact by tracking and sharing the number of visitors on each and every blog.
Extra tip – Set up sponsored blogs
Live Blog is not only your partner when it comes to live coverages – it will also help you to monetize your efforts. In case you would like to offer an attractive package to your sponsors – Live Blog allows you to create branded versions of a blog. All you need to do is to create a branded output channel and apply the logo and corporate color of your sponsor to your blog. How many sponsors do you have – with Live Blog you can create as many branded versions of the blog as is needed for your business. Happy live blogging!
February 6, 2018
Live Blogging Sports Events Creatively with Live Blog
by Gideon Lehmann | Feb 9, 2018
AthleticsAfrica is a news site that had been covering track and field, road running, cross country, and other related competitive events about Africa or African athletes via its website and a variety of social media channels since July 2004. It has become established as a premier source of news about African athletics, with an average of 80,000 visitors to its website on an average day. During major sporting events, traffic can surge to more than 200,000 daily visitors.
In 2017, AthleticsAfrica used Live Blog for the first time to cover the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) World Championships that ran from 5-13 August in London.
Live Blogging Provides a Competitive Advantage
Previously, AthleticsAfrica had used a commercial live blogging platform as well as Twitter timelines, but did not find either solution satisfactory. In particular Yomi Omogbeja, editor in chief of AthleticsAfrica was looking for a live blogging platform that would remain available indefinitely after an event, serving as a kind of archive. But that wasn’t the only reason to choose Sourcefabric’s Live Blog.
“Live blogging adds an extra dimension of live coverage,” said Omogbeja. “As a news organisation you become more competitive by reporting during the event rather than afterward.” Omogbeja added that there were many shares of the Live Blog pages, especially in social media.
AthleticsAfrica started as a hobby during Omogbeja’s university days. The website itself was a spin-off of Mr Omogbeja’s MA in web journalism thesis at the University of Sheffield in 2004. A former student-athlete and track runner himself, Omogbeja engaged two other journalist friends studying in the UK to turn the project into a platform to provide news and information on athletics events that were happening back home in Africa. The three kept their passion project going even after they graduated, moonlighting as journalists in their free time.
In 2005, after a stint at the BBC working as a Web Content Assistant on the CBBC website, Omogbeja decided to to put AthleticsAfrica on a fully professional media footing in terms of its tools and public presentation. AthleticsAfrica won the 2011 Telkom / SABC Highway Africa new media award for journalism innovation in Cape Town, South Africa for its website. Continuing to look for more compelling, digital-native storytelling options, it was a natural choice to add Live Blog to AthleticsAfrica’s portfolio of coverage.
Live Blogging Promotes Engagement
Omogbeja and his team quickly began to make full use of Live Blog’s creative possibilities. During the 10-day IAAF event in London, Omogbeja and his team not only covered the full spectrum of athletics events with Live Blog, from the 20 km race walk to the 100 meter dash, but also spun up brand new post types of their own on the fly using Live Blog’s free type feature. For example, they created a medal free type post that highlighted the winners of gold, silver and bronze medals which was a novel way of presenting the information visually and also improved the look and feel of the pages. A number of readers even made screenshots of the medal free type to reshare as image posts on social media.
Going forward, AthleticsAfrica aims to add more free type posts for the next major events on the international athletics circuit. One idea would be to create a post for start lists, which would display the name of athlete, lane, country, country flag. “We don’t have play by play commentary, instead we have start lists and live results,” explained Omogbeja.
Find the sports theme alongside with the respective free types on our Github. It´s all free and open source. The free type “medal” is also compatible with the classic theme of Live Blog – just copy and paste it into your Live Blog’s free type manager.
With Live Blog, the field of possibilities is wide open.
January 16, 2018
6 Best Practices For Live Blogging Breaking News
from Zeit Online
by Gideon Lehmann | Jan 17, 2018
National elections, terror attacks or fast-changing situations in world affairs: these are all examples of the types of live breaking news stories for which the German news outlet Zeit Online uses Live Blog.
As one of Germany’s largest news organizations, Zeit Online attracts over nine million viewers a month to its website. At times, a substantial amount of this traffic can be driven by its live blog coverage. We recently sat down with Sybille Klormann, lead editor for all live blogging projects, to learn about Zeit Online’s best practices for this dynamic form of real-time coverage.
#1 Choose your coverage strategically
A live blogging tool is ideal for fast and rapid-changing news. However, prior to beginning your live coverage, it’s always important to verify what is actually happening and think about the best way to cover the story.
Once the situation is verified, the local and regional implications must be considered. News providers only have a small window of time to decide if it’s in their editorial interest to cover the story, meaning that they must gauge whether or not there’s enough interest and popularity among their audience.
For example, Zeit Online chose to cover the airport attack in Brussels with a live blog since it was of significant interest. Other examples in which it was necessary to decide quickly whether or not using a live blog were the terror attacks in Manchester or Berlin.
#2 Think in terms of editorial resources
To produce a good live blog requires some advance planning. Some practical questions to consider might include: is there enough staff available at that particular moment and are there reporters on the scene able to provide information, verify facts, as well as submit images and videos?
Another question concerns the linguistic capacity to cover a particular story. Klormann cited examples where a language barrier at first made it difficult to provide adequate live coverage, specifically the 2016 attempted coup in Turkey. In cases like this, Zeit Online needed to rely on secondary sources of information, which made things more difficult than usual, Klormann reported.
#3 Build in communication and collaboration tools
Using established lines of communication is essential for a time-sensitive format like live blogging. Zeit Online’s preferred channel is Slack. Klormann reports the editorial team uses this communication and collaboration tool in order to share information among their reporters and affiliates across the globe. They use this network not only to share information, but also for receiving remote blog contributions as well as to conduct quick and accurate background and fact-checking research. Finally, Live Blog can also be used as a collaboration tool, to let newsroom staff know who’s working on which story at any given moment.
#4 Adapt to the changing media landscape
Because news consumers have taken a much greater interest in live blogs, Klormann observed that the format has also become more professional In the current media environment, live blogs are a go-to form of storytelling. Rather than asking themselves what to cover in this way, news agencies are devoting more energy to how they should structure their live blogs.
In one instance, when Zeit Online covered the battle for Mosul, they experimented with what was referred to as a “slow blog”. Instead of the standard instant-update format, Zeit Online collected and curated various articles as background information using their live blogging tool. They felt that this was a unique and innovative way to consolidate and present all of the articles and updates related to the battle, which took place over a longer period of time.
#5 Take advantage of new technology
Advancements in technology are another point of consideration as they not only make the blogging process faster and simpler, but also provide live blogs with a sleeker appearance and allow for the integration of more types of multimedia. For example, embeds have become much more sophisticated and are a popular way to share a variety of media; social media activity has increased; mobile devices play a larger role in both the consumption and production of news; and the ability for news consumers to interact and engage with the news via a comments section has also become commonplace.
#6 Use professional live blogging software
Zeit Online has been using Live Blog for a number of years. Sybille Klormann also commented that live blogs drive lots of traffic to the site, especially when it comes to breaking news events.
December 6, 2017
The Long Tail of Live Blogs
Rank Higher in Search with Live Blog
by Anna Rohleder | Dec 6, 2017
When big news breaks, studies show that readers actively seek out quality information through search ahead of content shared in social media. That’s one reason why having a live blog dedicated to breaking news coverage will boost your site’s profile online. But it’s not limited to the immediate time during and after an event. It turns out that readers go back, again and again, to visit live blog timelines of events in the past.
“Our experience is that live blogs drive lots of traffic to our site,” said Sybille Klormann, an editor at Zeit Online covering politics and economics. “We are often surprised at how many people visit these blogs, especially during elections, but also show a continued interest afterwards.”
The top 10 most-visited live blogs at Zeit Online in the year between July 2016 and July 2017 contain not less than four still getting significant traffic months after the original news event occurred. These live blogs are:
Christmas market attack in Berlin, December 2016
US Presidential election, November 2016
Turkey coup, July 2016
Coverage of Polish government, ongoing since 2015
At dpa, Germany’s leading news agency, online editor Suleyman Artiisik has made a similar observation about the staying power of live blogs. He said:
“Reading a live blog in reverse order, from the end to the beginning, provides an experience of a multimedia news coverage.”
Some news organisations are also using a Live Blog as a “slow blog,” which is a news format that allows publishers and their readers to follow a certain topic over a longer period of time.
For example, the German news agency dpa used this format to keep their readers informed about the refugee crisis as it developed over several months. Meanwhile, the Berlin-based publisher Tagesspiegel has been successful with a slow blog devoted to the local ice hockey team. A substantial fan base now follows the continuous stream of news and updates throughout the whole season. Christian Bigge, head of product development at Tagesspiegel, says:
“With our live blogs we manage to get in direct contact with our audience and keep them engaged for a long period of time.”
All of those factors are reason enough for publishers and news outlets to make more use of live blogs. Now Sourcefabric is adding a new feature to its live blogging platform that will give publishers an additional SEO boost. Gideon Lehmann, Live Blog product manager, puts it this way:
“Don’t hide your live content any longer behind an iframe. The new Live Blog 3 SEO Default Theme allows you to produce your Live Blog content in a way that it can be directly injected into your articles and make it appear as what it actually is (to both your readers and search engines): your very own content!”
With this technology, live blog content will become more visible in web searches. Why does this matter? When the text of a live blog post appears as native content to search engines — i.e. it “reads” as part of all the rest of the content on a news organisation’s site — it raises the profile of that news organisation’s coverage in new web searches as well as to its existing audience.
That makes live blogging a win-win strategy for news outlets, especially those publishing in multiple platforms and channels.
August 16, 2017
Cover Elections Like a Winner with Live Blog
by Anna Rohleder | Aug 16, 2017
Süleyman Artiisik, online editor and dpa-live product manager at dpa, Germany’s largest press agency, shares 5 tips for live election coverage that keeps readers coming back for more.
Tip 1: Speed is your friend
Live blogs are well suited to situations where it’s just about getting the facts across rather than going in depth on a topic. For me there’s no faster journalistic format than live blogging.
Tip 2: Every event deserves its own playbook
At dpa, we usually meet as a team about a week before an event we’re planning to cover and put together a script that we want the reporting to follow. Here you really have to think in terms of pure storytelling, from the opening scene to the dramatic arc of how the election plays out, and structure the blog so that you’re building suspense, one post at a time.
Tip 3: Creativity is key
For me, the multimedia aspect is one of live blogging’s main differentiators. Something we appreciate about Sourcefabric’s Live Blog is that it makes it easy to include multimedia. Also, all of our reporters use the Live Blog mobile app, which we use especially for photos.
Tip 4: Learn from every device and format
I always say that live blogging is TV without the live image. Mobile devices were once called second screens but today we have to think mobile-first. At dpa, we optimise our live blog coverage for mobile users, meaning shorter, snappier text – a maximum of two paragraphs. And we create our own graphics in house.
Tip 5: Source from your networks
For any other news organisation looking to cover the German federal elections, I would say take advantage of the coverage offered by dpa elections and dpa live. We give you the whole package, including interactive live graphics, in one go. My tip for covering live events in general is to create Twitter lists related to your topic — and start following them.
August 3, 2017
From Novice To Pro in 6 Steps: How To Launch Your Live Blog
by Anthony Covalciuc | Aug 3, 2017
New to live blogging?
Here’s a quick 6-steps guide and a 5-minute video to getting started with Live Blog. From setting up your blog to curating and publishing content, you’ll be live blogging like a pro in no time.
Step 1: Set Up Your Live Blog
To create a new blog, click the “CREATE BLOG” icon in the top-right corner of your screen.
This directs you to a small menu called “Create New Blog”. In this section, the only required field is “BLOG TITLE”. Without entering a title, you can’t proceed to the next phase.
The most important factor in naming your live blog is to communicate clearly the subject you are blogging about. It’s also useful to search for and use some keywords or trending topics related to your coverage, as it will boost visibility and drive more web traffic to your blog.
Step 2: Assemble Your Team
After creating a blog, you have the option to set up a team. Only users who are already in the system can be assigned authorisations to edit, contribute, and work in the back end of your blog.
To add new users, click on the dropdown menu in the top-left of the screen and select “USER MANAGEMENT”.
On the following page, click the plus sign in the upper-right corner of the dashboard. A menu will appear which allows you to create new user profiles.
A live blogging team ideally consists of at least 2-3 people, although the team size is relative to your needs and goals. Teams are comprised of editors and contributors. While contributors can only write posts, editors approve, publish, and decide how to present and order posts.
Every team requires at least one editor. If you’re operating alone, then you are both editor and contributor.
The first action to take is decide on roles and create users for your team members in the system accordingly. Then you can add them to the team by typing their usernames. After you’ve selected your team, click “CREATE” and start blogging.
If live breaking news is the focus of your blog, then it’s a good idea to have a reporter on site to provide an eyewitness account of events. Another great feature of Live Blog is our mobile Reporter App. With the app, your contributors on the ground can submit and publish updates, photos, and other forms of multimedia directly to the blog from their phone.
Other team members can monitor social media and other channels including other blogs, news agencies, etc. They can use this information as either direct embeds in the blog timeline or as indirect sources of information.
Step 3: Create and Publish Live Content
Once your blog has been created, you can start publishing live news instantly. To begin, click the “Settings” icon in upper right corner of your blog. This takes you to a screen which shows both an embed code and a web address. Either one of these can be copied and pasted into your web publishing system of choice such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. Once you have done this, everything you post can be published live.
There is a second option which can be used to instantly publish your content. If you click on the “Live” button above the content stream in your dashboard, it redirects you to a Live Blog domain where you can both preview your coverage and even publish it there directly if you don’t have your own website.
Step 4: Post Content For Publication
Providing fast, minute-by-minute coverage of live breaking news stories such as terrorism, disasters, and accidents is sometimes referred to as “what we know, what we don’t know”.
For example, let’s say there was a plane crash in the French Alps – this much we know. However, the reasons behind the crash, the identity of the passengers, if there are any survivors – this much we don’t yet know. Since the coverage for these kinds of stories is often in the form of bullet points or a similar structure, the most common practice is to post a main headline followed by additional updates as they become available.
When creating a post, you can add text, images/videos, or other forms of multimedia such as embeds and quotes in the “ADD CONTENT HERE” box. Clicking on the text above or below the box allows you to change the type of media that you would like to use. You can also include additional media in a post by clicking this same option below your text and then dragging and dropping media into the post.
The “CHOOSE POST TYPE” option provides you with a number of templates for different types of content, ranging from news coverage of elections and sports to advertisements.
Once you’ve added some content, options will appear at the bottom: “PUBLISH”, “SUBMIT”, and “SAVE DRAFT”. All team members can offer contributions to the blog by using the “SUBMIT” function, and this allows the editor to review, edit, and curate items before publishing them. In the previous image, you’ll notice a notification of a new submission in the “Contributions” inbox on the left of the screen, which is where all submissions are stored as drafts for editors. Depending on your user role, you may be able to publish directly on the blog by using the “PUBLISH” function.
If you choose not to publish or submit, but would rather save unfinished or ongoing work, click on “SAVE DRAFT”. Anything saved as a draft is only visible to you.
Step 5: Make Sure Your Readers Get The Right Content
As an editor, it’s important to make sure that your readers always have access to the most important information, no matter when they start reading. Editors can “Highlight” or “Pin” posts both when reviewing a contribution or after an item has been published to the live blog stream. The icons for these actions appear at the top-right of a draft or post.
Pinned posts will always remain at the top of your blog stream, while those which you highlight are marked with a gold star. What makes highlighted posts really useful is that they can become instant curated content. To see how this works, click the “Live” option from Step 2 to preview the blog. Then once you click on the highlighted post option next to “COMMENT”, all highlighted posts will be grouped into a list for your subscribers.
Step 6: Refine Your Audience Engagement Strategy
A great way to engage with your community is to utilise Live Blog’s User Comments feature. Comments encourage readers to return to a site to follow a discussion or debate. By paying attention to what people are saying, you will also gain insight into the quality of your blog as well as your editorial strategy, and this can be used to develop future blog topics. You may also be able to incorporate direct user feedback in real time, including eyewitness reports or accounts of what other news agencies and sources of information are reporting.
Want more info? Have a look at the Live Blog manual.
For tips on ways to popularise your live coverage, check out this blog post.