live bloggingLive blogging was front and center during this week’s presidential debates. You can use it, too! Yes, live blogging can support your business’s marketing and sale goals, and further the success of your corporate blog… if you plan carefully.

Writes Angela West at Web Designer Depot:

We have moved from the ‘I’m blogging this’ world to the ‘I’m Liveblogging this’ world very quickly. People are no longer satisfied with hearing news after it has happened — they want access to news while it is happening.

Live blogging is similar to live radio or television in that it happens in real time, like a Web chat. It is perfect for covering industry conferences, press conferences, and other timely events that benefit from rolling contextual coverage and commentary.

But first, what are the benefits? “Going live” can enhance your business blog overall because search engines favor timely updates. It can also facilitate conversation with those who would like to attend an event but cannot. Live blogging enhances your status as a thought leader because you’re providing insight and value to others. A record of a live-blogged event can provide content that can be referenced in the future, too.

Here are the basic steps:

Prior to the Event

Inventory tech needs if you’ll be live blogging onsite.
For example, does the site have wi-fi access? “[B]e sure to ask whether it’s free or paid, and whether you need to sign up ahead of time,” advises Cameron Chapman. Do you need a special pass to bring a laptop or iPad? Can you do all of your updates from a smartphone?

Determine what aspects you’ll be covering live.
You may want to live blog a keynote address and save additional business commentary for later blog posts. Or, you can assign blogging tasks across multiple team members.

Determine platform.
The two most common platforms for live blogging are your own blog (usually hosted by WordPress), or a popular pre-built platform like Twitter. You might choose to use sites like Tumblr if you’re exclusively using a phone for updates.

If you’re using your own blog, the free WordPress plugin Live Blogging allows you to quickly set up a Web post that will feature and record your live-blogging efforts for later reading. The plugin also distributes the first 139 characters of your live-blogging headlines to your Twitter feed.

Twitter is a stand-alone place to share live “micro-blogging” updates. Be sure to identify or select an easily identifying hashtag for others to use and join the conversation. For example, #election2012.

“A hashtag is an agreed upon abbreviation that conference attendees use to denote which Twitter updates are related to a specific event,” explains Aaron Uhrmacher of Mashable. You can later collect these hashtag conversations into a blog post, if you choose. Here is an example of live-blogged tweets from the Content Marketing World conference collected into a post.

Additional thoughts on what to bring to a live-blogging event  — lights, cameras, etcetera! — are found in this post by Aliza Sherman.

During the Event

Respect others when using equipment.
Record the people actively participating in the event, not attendees, to avoid problems with permission. Be mindful of how your equipment may hinder someone else’s view, hearing, or participation. For example, camera flashes or phone ringers can disrupt an event.

Accept that mistakes will happen.
“Live blogging takes a certain chutzpah,” writes Beth Kanter of BlogHer, “Someone said that live bloggers should carry around a hip flask in their tool box! So, you can’t be afraid of making mistakes […] publically. […] The nice thing about live blogging is that it is written in electricity, not stone — so you can always fix things later.”

Do the best you can!

After the Event

Keep using the content.
The content you gather and produce during your live blogging — photos, sound, video, etc. — can and should be reused and shared. You can share this material in a wrap-up post or series, and sprinkle the content throughout future posts, where applicable.

Let us know when you start live blogging — we’ll see you there!

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