by Anthony Covalciuc | Jul 5, 2017
News & Updates
Tips and Tricks
June 28, 2017
5 Tips To Boost Engagement and Popularise Your Live Blog
by Anthony Covalciuc | Jun 28, 2017
So, you’ve now got your Live Blog up and running; you’re impressed by its intuitive, easy-to-use interface and excited about the quality and quantity of syndicated content. The next logical step to get the most out of your blogging software is to attract and maintain an engaged, regular audience.
Wondering how to increase traffic and engagement for your blog? Not to worry, here are 5 tips from some of the top live blogging professionals. In particular, we’d like to thank Paul Bradshaw, who runs the MA Data Journalism and MA Multiplatform and Mobile Journalism at Birmingham City University and authored the book The Online Journalism Handbook, for sharing his insights with us.
Tip 1: Prepare – Try To Avoid Making It Up As You Go
Coming up with material ad hoc is not the best practice for maintaining a successful live blog. Even though events unfolding in real time often leave little to no opportunity to prepare, there will inevitably be in-between moments where not much is happening. During these times, it’s important for you to have at some relevant material prepared in advance, general knowledge on the topic you’re covering, and reliable contacts who can assist you.
That way, you can offer your visitors supplementary information in the form of other articles, quotes, statistics, and photos (to name just a few). This will make your blogging experience more exciting and less nerve wracking, not vice versa!
Tip 2: Be Relevant – Ensure That Your Live Coverage Provides Value
The networking nature of live blogging is one of its most distinguishing qualities. That is to say, while you cover breaking news or an event, any number of individuals or media agencies may be blogging and/or covering it too – as well as watching it on TV. Prior to dedicating the time needed to make a good live blog, it’s important to ascertain whether or not your coverage will provide value and be able to capture an audience.
One way to accomplish this is to see what syndicated content is being shared in your ecosystem. This should give you a good idea of what other agencies collectively feel is relevant news for your followers. In addition, making use of Live Blog’s analytics feature will reveal, especially over a period of time, what kind of stories attract readers and keep their attention.
Tip 3: Be Accurate – Make Certain You Post Verified Facts
It is of the utmost importance that you publish accurate, verified information. Therefore, you must be careful when the live event you’re covering features disputable facts or different perspectives of events. This particular problem is common during elections, when anyone and everyone can have an opinion. In these cases, it’s critical to establish procedures which allow you to verify that what is being said is actually true.
Similarly, if you happen to be covering volatile situations such as demonstrations, riots, or something similar, you will find any number of varying perspectives about what is happening and why. These circumstances put you under pressure to confirm the hard facts surrounding the situation.
In both cases, having a reliable reporter or reporters who can conduct the necessarily research and provide you with accurate information is usually the best option. If you don’t have your own reporters, once again we recommend that you consult the syndicated content within your ecosystem to find out which information a variety of sources agree upon and choose to publish.
Tip 4: Differentiate Yourself – Provide Your Audience With Rich Insights
A common live blogging mistake – and one that will leave your blog with little to no value – is to simply make note of what is occurring. Many other coverage providers are doing exactly this, so you should give special consideration to filtering, aggregating, and posting only the most insightful content. Together with this curated content, provide some analysis on what is happening. Some questions to consider are: why is this information important or not important? What insights does it provide for the topic that you are writing about?
It’s also a good idea to supplement your live coverage and analysis with multimedia. Adding multimedia enriches the quality your coverage. Some examples of this come in the form of audio, video, or social media.
Tip 5: Socialize – Encourage Your Audience To Participate
Given their instantaneous nature and multimedia structure, live blogs are the perfect opportunity for you to interact with your viewers, so make sure that readers are able to comment and share. Not only will they feel more connected and involved in the experience, but they will also provide you with additional content and inspiration.
Good thing that Live Blog comes with a User Comments feature. Now you can engage and interact with your audience in real time.
Follow Paul on Twitter @paulbradshaw.
April 6, 2017
Live Blogging: Take Your Elections Coverage to the Next Level
by Anthony Covalciuc | Apr 6, 2017
In the coming months, several European countries will start electing (and possibly replacing) their current political figures. In particular, this year is seen by many as a crucial one for the future of the European Union, with the elections in France and Germany leading the charge. The recent general elections in the Netherlands and last year’s political events in the US serve as strong examples of how news organisations must adapt to the changing demands of their clients and the technological resources they use in order to provide moment-by-moment coverage of live events.
It’s in moments like these when a blogging tool like Sourcefabric’s Live Blog bridges the gap between the substantial amount of content and the consumer need for up-to-the-minute updates.
Apart from its ability to instantly synthesize and share live breaking news content such as polling results, party tweets, quotes, and coverage of live streams – all done by posting a link or using the embed feature – Live Blog 3.1 has recently been outfitted with several new live blogging tools which optimise breaking news coverage. This provides viewers and readers with engaging, minute-by-minute content.
Custom Post Types – Show Percentages as They Arrive
Among the new features is the Custom Post Types, a free-types management tool which gives you creative freedom over how to present the latest news best-suited to your coverage (available for Live Blog instances of type Team or higher). When you cover the French elections, one of the uses of the free-types tool would be to create custom-designed posts for all the party names in color-coded, image-containing graphs or charts. As the polling results change with each passing moment, all you need to do is simply add the percentage to your blog feed and then publish it for your audience.
Another suggestion is to document voter turnout, and these blog statistics can further be configured in terms of time, location, or any other metric you see fit. These are just some examples of how current political news can be illustrated, and apart from requiring some basic HTML knowledge, the ability for blog editors to get the most out of this tool is limited only by their imagination.
Image Slideshows – Take Your Audience on a Visual Tour
Another addition to our live blogging platform is Image Slideshows, a handy tool for when images are the primary interest of your subscribers. Photographs possess the ability to tell a story with more impact, and as was often the case for the Dutch and US elections, the photo was the story. This feature is not limited to just one image per post, but rather you can organise and present an array of images in the form of collections, giving your content the beautiful look of a magazine. Everything from photos of the candidates to peoples’ reactions in the streets can be neatly curated, captioned, and presented as a visual tour of the latest news on politics.
Highlight and Pin Posts – Prioritize Your Information
Blog editors will also find the Highlight and Pin Posts option especially useful for making certain that the most important political news is given priority and made easy-to-access for subscribers. Highlighted and pinned posts are an easy entry point to the most decisive moments of political coverage that may get lost in the constant stream of data (notice the gold star on the post below).
All of these new live blogging tools are part of Sourcefabric’s commitment to open source software, a commitment which empowers our partners to take full and complete ownership of their product. Live Blog has a simple, straightforward, and intuitive interface that lets you focus on what you do best: tell a story.
Made by Journalists for Journalists
Since its inception in 2012, Live Blog has undergone numerous upgrades, all of them made possible through strong partnerships. Our live blogging software was originally developed alongside the Global Editors Network (GEN), a strong indication that all its features are designed for and committed to media innovation and sustainable journalism.
Quality content and consumer engagement are the top priorities for any journalist, therefore any tool designed for and used by journalists must first adhere to these quality standards. In 2016, Sourcefabric partnered up with the Google Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund (DNI). Together with DNI, we used Live Blog as the foundation for our Live Coverage Ecosystem project, a partnership which also includes two leading European news agencies: Germany’s dpa and the Spanish news agency EFE.
*There are no strings attached. If you like it, great! If not, no problem, you can cancel your Live Blog account at any time during the trial period.
Live Blog in Action
*All the above values for the French elections are fictional and only meant to give you an idea of how to utilize your Live Blog.
Live Blog Clients Include:
March 15, 2017
Live News: The All New Live Blog 3.1 is Here
by Anthony Covalciuc | Mar 15, 2017
The latest release of Live Blog comes with great new features like scorecards for sporting events, analytics and custom-defined blog post types.
Over the past few years, Live Blog’s fan base has been growing in the world of news media.
Christoph Dernbach, head of dpa-Infocom, calls it “a robust, open and flexible tool for live coverage.”
Jenni Sargent, managing director of First Draft News says Live Blog is “a brilliant and super flexible live blogging platform that allows us to experiment with different ways of sharing information in real time.”
Now we’re about to raise everybody’s live blogging game, with the release of Live Blog 3.1.
Open Source Live Blogging Made for You
Live Blog 3.1 is packed with new features. We’re already planning to develop some of them even further, so keep your ideas coming:
- Scorecards: This is our starting point into the world of data visualisation. We know you’ll enjoy using scorecards to provide an instant tally of who scored a goal and in what minute. But we’re also curious about how we can build on this to provide even more value to your sports coverage.
- Image slideshows: Whether you’re reporting on awards shows or major weather events, multiple images are must-haves for certain stories. Live Blog supports this feature now with the Classic theme 2.3.45. Upload one picture after the other in a single post and publish them to the timeline. The Classic theme will then display the thumbnails of these pictures in a clickable gallery. Viewers can enlarge them and click through the whole image slideshow.
- Analytics: As soon as you update to version 3.1 of Live Blog and version 2.3.45 of the Classic theme, you will be able to see the number of unique visits to all of your blogs in the new analytics section on your Live Blog instance.
- Native and remote ad options: Since live blogging is a labour-intensive form of reporting, with two or three editors needed to cover an event and curate all social media content at the same time, it’s important to get the most value out of your live news coverage.
With release 3.1, including ads in your blog is easy. You can either add an advertisement zone from your ad provider into a post and publish it to the timeline or create a native advertising consisting of text, image and a link target. This is also a feature we’d like to get your feedback on, since we are already working on a more elaborate ad management interface.
- Custom post types – free types*: With the free types manager you can create custom post types, all you need is some basic knowledge of HTML to design your very own blog post templates. You could use them for reporting the results of an election, or maybe another type of local contest with its own running tally. It’s up to you.
* Not available for Live Blog Solo and Live Blog Solo Mobile
Two options for live blogging: DIY or Pro
If you don’t have your own real time blog yet, now is the time to get started. Along with adding new features to Live Blog 3.1, we have also launched a web-based LiveBlog.pro service.
New users can start their Live Blog subscription with two weeks free by signing up here. A variety of subscription options come tailored for different live blogging teams and goals.
Meanwhile, Live Blog itself remains free and open source, so you can still download the code and host it on your own servers. Check it out on GitHub.