Have you ever heard of a live blog?
If you’re looking for a great amount of website traffic and are willing to sacrifice reader retention to get it, you might want to consider live blogging.
With a live blog, you can maximize your reader engagement and return on your time investment in each blog post.
Guest author Christoffer Birch-Jensen is here to tell you what live blogging is and how you can use live blogging to maximize your traffic potential.
What is a Live Blog?
According to Christoffer, “A live blog is a feed of news posts in real time (or close to real-time) published to cover a live event such as a weather alert, an election, stock markets, or a sporting event. Live blogs emphasize short posts published as soon as information becomes available, and they are often used by newspapers and media outlets to attract readers to events with high levels of public interest and traffic.”
Where Can You Live Blog?
How to Maximize the Value of Your Live Blog
by Christoffer Birch-Jensen
Promising increases in traffic, longer sessions, and higher reader engagement, live blogs have become a more and more crucial part of operations for any news outlet or publication. They allow organizations to bring content to their readers faster, in a more condensed fashion and allows for high levels of reader engagement through polls, quizzes, comments, and replies.
However, since they tend to be more expensive to operate, sometimes requiring multiple concurrent writers, it is pivotal that outlets and publishers get the most value out of every live blog. There are many ways to do this, but the first step is to understand what type of live blog you are writing.
Two different types of blogs – Event and Topical
There are in general two types of live blogs:
Event live blogs
These are the type of blogs you usually think of when you hear the word “live blog” they include live election blogs, debate live blogs, live fashion blogs, live sports blogs, product release live blogs, etc. and covers specific events, often in-person from where they are taking place. They are only active for a finite amount of time such as an evening, day, or the weekend after which they are closed and archived.
These types of blogs tend to attract a large number of readers but since they are short-lived, they do not generate reader loyalty and revisits.
Topical live blogs
Topical live blogs can be financial news live blogs, sports live blogs, weather alert live blogs, traffic alert live blogs, and are usually active for an infinite amount of time. These blogs sometimes run around the clock (e.g. providing live financial news for different stock exchanges as the open and close), and can contain thousands of blog posts published by dozens or more of different contributors.
This post will focus on Topical live blogs and will give you recommendations on how to increase their lifetime value, reader revisits, and generate subscribers.
To start things off, let’s examine a dilemma all organizations using live blogging will face:
After you have operated your live blog for a while, what do you do with all the content you have generated?
If you’ve done a thorough analysis of your reader market, the posts you have published should have generated good traffic numbers and created reader loyalty, but it is not enough to just get the initial traffic increase of your post when you first publish them. These posts have taken a lot of effort to research, draft, and publish and after just a few minutes or hours they have slipped to the bottom of your live news feed, forgotten and not generating any value for your readers.
So how do you get the most ROI out of your posts? How do you make them relevant again after a week, a month, a year? How do you drive traffic back to older posts to revive it?
Creating a Live Blog Overview to Summarize and Highlight Posts
Live Blog Overview
A live blog overview allows you to extend the life and increase the value of your posts by repackaging them in a new format. They provide your readers with a summary of the most covered topics in your live blog and highlights the most important posts in a dashboard view. It allows readers to quickly get up to speed on:
- What were the key and most important events?
- Which topics received the most coverage?
- When did these key topics take place?
- Did I miss anything I’m interested in?
An overview is a great addition to your live blog because it allows your readers to see what has happened in a condensed and effective format.
It will increase revisits and create reader loyalty because readers will come back to your site when they want to catch up on what they have missed and see how topics they care about are trending.
What you’ll need
In order to effectively answer the above questions for your readers in an overview, you need to identify 2 things about your posts:
- Their topic.
I.e. identify posts by their tags to summarize how many posts were published for each sub-topic in your blog. This is a standard functionality in most live blog solutions, but one that is easily forgotten or not used.
- Their importance level.
I.e. determine which posts were the most important so that they can be highlighted in a summary. With potentially thousands of posts, you need a way to filter posts to be revived, repackaged, and reused as highlights and key milestones. The below screenshot shows a reader selecting the “SAS strike blown off” post which has been assigned the importance level of “Highlighted”.
Most live blogging software allows topic tags to be assigned to posts, nothing new here. But tags are not enough to determine a post’s importance level, for this post importance tags are needed.
By initially assigning each post an importance level, you will be able to sift through your content to find what posts are the most important and present these at the top of your overview. If your current solution allows this classification: great, otherwise it could be time to scan the market to evaluate for a replacement.
Functionality to drive engagement
An effective overview drives engagement between readers and your website by allowing them to select different date ranges, topics of interest, and related content. In the example below, the overview allows the reader to select “Most discussed” topics, as well as financial “instruments” to filter the posts in the overview.
Finally, the reader can select different date ranges to explore which posts were published during those dates.
Additionally, besides allowing the creation of an overview, the combination of both post topic and importance tags opens the door to many ways to further engage your reader such as:
- Weekly newsletters summarizing key posts and total topic coverage
- Push notifications to users based on criteria they’ve selected (I.e. a certain topic and importance level)
- Segmenting posts of a certain topic to help create new content pieces (i.e. leveraging posts from an election live blog to write a full piece article about the election results
- Correlating post topics and importance levels with other pieces of information (i.e. blog posts and social media posts)
Unlocked value and ways to increase reader engagement
Overviews allow you to create a dynamic, constantly updating, portal of the latest posts for your readers. It allows you to leverage content you have already created, therefore being a truly low-cost high-return addition to your operations. And if done properly, will become a significant entry point for your traffic as more and more readers learn to visit the overview.
Christoffer Birch-Jensen is the co-founder of Norkon Computing Systems that empowers media outlets to succeed with their digital transformation solution by providing solutions that engage their readers in novel ways. Christoffer is passionate about real-time market news, live blogging, visualization, and analytics.
Host Blogger’s Comments:
Readers, please share so other bloggers can learn about this strategy and decide if they want to blog live.
I look forward to your views in the comments section: Does this technique sound intriguing? Would you ever consider running a live blog?