The Complete Beginner's Guide to Live Blogging

Speech bubbles sketchLive blogging can be compared with a live radio or television broadcast covering an event.

Both these communication mediums involve sound and visuals to portray the events' happenings while live blogging do the same thing in textual form.

Since this is a beginner's guide, I'm assuming you've not yet started live blogging and want to give it a try for the very first time.

Some people regard micro-blogging as a form of live blogging though I differ with their opinion. Live blogging is a prearranged blogging action that runs in parallel with the event being covered while micro-blogging is an informal and random way to communicate with the followers.

Let's get started and see what live blogging is all about and how to do it like a pro!

Live Blogging Basics

Since live blogging is all about covering an event in real time, it is broadly divided into two parts. Both these parts are necessary for both new and growing blogs. Widely popular blogs can afford to skip the first part as the huge audience following their updates naturally and are aware of their future live blogging coverage.
  • Event announcement - This obvious and recommended step ensures your followers and subscribers are aware about the upcoming live blogging schedule and the event it is going to cover.
  • Event coverage - The second important part involves live blogging covering an event as scheduled previously.
Following are some of the important guidelines one must follow while live blogging an event. Whether you're doing it for the first time or have already tasted it before, taking care of the things mentioned below can ensure everything goes smooth and the followers get the best experience.
  • Aggressively announce blogging schedule - There's no point live blogging unless you have a decent number of followers watching the updates in real time. Take advantage of your presence on various social media channels and do your best to spread the word about the schedule to ensure you get the maximum possible followers.
  • Start up early - Live blogging always starts at least 15 minutes before the event is started. You can even start it half an hour before the event schedule. This will ensure the followers can easily start following the updates before the actual event starts.
  • Build the momentum - Needles to say, you need to have excellent command over the language since live blogging doesn't allow review and edits for whatever text is posted. Start with introducing about the event and the important associated entities with it.
  • Credit shard media (wherever required) - It is quite common to share different types of media along with text updates during a live blogging session. Whenever you do that, do not forget to credit the owner if it taken from an external source.
  • Engage with active followers - Unlike traditional blogging, followers are more likely to interact with you during a live blogging session. You must keep an eye on the comments section too to ensure you reply to the feedback and questions of the readers in a timely manner.
  • Do not overwhelm followers - New bloggers live blogging for the first time can get carried away during the updates flooding the update stream. Keep a check on the frequency of your updates so that the readers can follow the stream easily.
  • Wrap up nicely - And last but not the least, end the session with thanking all the followers and naming couple of most active readers during the entire session.
  • Share the transcript - Though it is not mandatory, but uploading the transcript of the entire posts and interaction with the readers in exportable or downloadable format can help offline readers follow the happenings at their convenience.
In a nutshell, the success of live blogging depends on how interesting are your updates and how actively you interact with the followers keeping them glued to the live updates. It's an art that can be mastered after few live blogging sessions.

Tools of the Trade

Now that we've got a fair idea about live blogging essentials, it's time to look at the tools and applications bloggers use for live blogging. There are number of plugins, apps and tools that can help you live blog in a better an easy way. Let's check out all these options.

You can either use a plugin for your WordPress powered site or can opt for a platform entirely dedicated to live blogging. We'll look at both the options now.

24liveblog plugin for live blogging on WordPress
24liveblog - live blogging tool - This is one of the best live blogging plugins available for WordPress users. It has tons of features and is immensely flexible to help you get hold of live blogging on WordPress. I've thoroughly tested this one on a test blog and found it surprisingly easy-to-use and powerful. The best part is that it is completely free with no restrictions. Its multilingual support ensures you can serve targeted followers across the globe with ease. Following are some of the features of this popular live blogging plugin.

#1 Real time publishing - This is one of the obvious prerequisites of live blogging which is easily fulfilled by this plugin. All the updates are published in real time so that followers can easily track the update stream.

#2 Easy media embeds - As I mentioned earlier, media associated with the event being covered is an integral part of any live blogging session. This plugin allows you to quickly and easily embed different types of media in the update stream and that too in SEO friendly format.

#3 Real time statistics - It's not just the blog updates that happen in real time, but the associated traffic statistics are also generated in real time. This way, bloggers can easily keep an eye on the server load in case you're experiencing large number of following.

#4 Live comment system - To support real time engagement, it also supports real time comments to quickly respond to the questions of the followers. This adds more value to the entire live blogging session giving your followers a reason to follow it diligently.

#5 Responsive updates - All the live updates and comments are fully responsive and render perfectly both on tablets and smartphones. This greatly increases the probability of getting more audience from these platforms.

Liveblog Pro service for live blogging
Liveblog Pro - This is a dedicated live blogging service that can be used in a standalone format or can be directly integrated within your website. Its free plan is good enough for most users who're new to live blogging. The best part of using this service is the customer support that can help you get started in no time. Following are some of the useful and powerful features of this excellent live blogging service.

#1 Multiple contributors - For a single live blogging session, you can easily add multiple contributors to keep up with the momentum of the ongoing event that is being covered.

#2 Real time rich text updates - All the updates are published instantly with the facility to edit and apply rich text effects quite easily. This way, you can convey your messages in a better and engaging way.

#3 Strong social media integration - Apart from facilitating easy sharing on various social networks, it also provides an option to automatically tweet your every single update during a live blogging session.

#4 Drag and drop image updates - It has one of the easiest media embedding options with drag and drop support for inserting images within live updates.

#5 Mobile friendly - This service also offers light yet powerful versions of this software for the tablets and smartphones allowing you to live blog quite easily while on the go.

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About Rajeev Edmonds

MintBlogger author - Rajeev EdmondsRajeev Edmonds has been blogging since 2006 about digital marketing, social media and of course about problogging. He specializes in WordPress installation and Thesis theme customization. He is the founder and editor of MintBlogger where he blogs about new media strategies.

Since April, 2012, he's making his living entirely from his blogging efforts. He holds a post graduate degree in computer applications and loves to dig in CSS/HTML code. Read more →

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