Lee Odden

Your Content Marketing Silver Bullet: Liveblogging Events

Liveblogging Events

Do you attend industry conferences? Would you like to create a greater diversity of content on a regular basis without a big jump in budget? Imagine these two scenarios:

Dan looks forward to industry conferences because they provide time away from the office and give him a chance to be inspired by industry thought leaders. He also gets to network amongst peers in the industry and depending on the event city and venue, maybe he has a little fun too.

Sandy plans her conference attendance according to topics and speakers. She identifies specific speaker presentations to attend and even liveblogs them for her company blog. Sandy networks with other professionals at the event and virtually through the conference hashtag and smartphone app. She compares each day’s efforts to her plan to ensure she’s effectively learning, getting inspired and networking – all while having fun.

Which one best describes you?

According to the 2015 Content Marketing Report from CMI/MarketingProfs, the top challenges for B2B content marketers included:

  • Producing engaging content 54%
  • Producing content consistently 50%
  • Producing a variety of content 42%
  • Lack of budget 41%

These are all reasonable obstacles to content marketing effectiveness and I have no doubt, you have experienced them yourself.

The good news is that all of these situations can be mitigated through the fine (and lost) art of liveblogging events.  I say “lost” because the number of liveblog posts from marketing and PR events has gone done significantly over the past 2-3 years. While that indicates a trend, it also means a significant opportunity to stand out.

The ultimate in pull PR. Beyond a full room, a row of livebloggers clickety clacking away on their laptops recording words of wisdom from the presenter can make the effort of creating and delivering a presentation all worthwhile. Coming out of an event with 4 or 5 articles about your presentation with zero pitching is highly motivating.

Tweeting vs. blogging. When I ask people if they will be liveblogging a presentation today, most think I’m asking if they’re going to tweet. Live tweeting is nowhere near the same thing as live blogging of course. It’s easier to push out a few quotes, statistics and tips from your smart phone than opening up a computer and writing an article in real time.

Is easier really best? It’s understandable why people would gravitate towards livetweeting. But that’s almost like saying it’s understandable why a tri-athlete would coast downhill on their bicycle vs. continuing to pedal.  It takes work to truly be competitive.

Why liveblogging is worth the extra work:  If you can only see a few feet in front of you, the world isn’t a very interesting place. If you can see beyond to the mountains, valleys and cities, it’s a whole different perspective.  That’s how I see liveblogging.

Benefits of liveblogging:

  • Inspired content based on a presentation
  • Presenters and their peers along with other attendees and the conference are inspired to share your liveblog post
  • Learning liveblogging improves your writing
  • Network with other bloggers and attendees who want to know why you’re typing so fast
  • Liveblog content attracts links from other blogs and social shares from attendees following the event hashtag
  • Liveblog content can fuel your own social content (including tweets)
  • Liveblog content can be modular and easily repurposed in the future
  • Liveblog content attracts mentions from brand newsrooms and brand social media shares
  • Liveblog content attracts organic search traffic for months and years after the event
  • Liveblogging prospective client, partner and employees creates a networking opportunity
  • Demonstrates writing ability of the liveblogger
  • Associates topical relevance of the presentation to the blog that publishes the article

Formats for liveblogging:

Transcription Post – documenting pretty much everything the presenter is saying. If the speaker is really good, this can work. More often than not, the presenter gets distracted or is non-linear. In those cases, it fails miserably.

Listen for Nuggets – With a little homework in advance, some of the liveblog post opening and close can be pre-written based on the presentation title, description and knowledge about the speaker. You can look up their past presentations on SlideShare to see if they’ve presented elsewhere on the topic recently. Then when the presentation is given, listen for highlights. Those nuggets of wisdom can then fill out the body of your post with added flavor of your own.

List Posts – Some presentations are perfect for list posts. More often, you can attend multiple presentations that hint at list-friendly content in their titles (10 ways to succeed at content marketing or 15 content marketing tools). Then you can combine the resources from multiple presenters into one blog post. A large list of tips, statistics and tools with short explanations of each item can become very sharable and attract links from other blogs.

Overview Post –  For some people listening to a presentation without doing anything else is the best way for them to experience the content. After the presentation is done, they write an overview summary of what the presenter talked about. These posts tend to be short, 300-450 words or so and include more personal observations and context.

Preinterview – Before the event, reach out to the speaker to let them know you will be liveblogging their presentation. Invite them to answer a few questions about their presentation in advance. This will spice up the liveblog and can create the bulk of the content. It’s also a great way to network with speakers who you might like to have a connection with for prospecting, recruiting or partnering.

Creating content at events is a great opportunity to support your own content marketing and networking efforts. It establishes credibility for both individuals and your brand.

Liveblogging consistently at an elevated level will position the blogger as a credible industry media source and inspire social media attention from other attendees, industry professionals and even competitors. At TopRank Marketing, we’ve been able to use liveblogging to create value for events in the form of media sponsorships that have covered the cost of employee attendance (not counting travel) at over 40 conferences.

Making liveblogging a part of your event attendance ensures a tangible benefit from the conference that can be shared with peers and superiors. If multiple people on your team can liveblog at a single event, you can capture content for days and weeks in the future. Does it take some planning and hard work? Yes it does. So does success in the world of social media and content marketing.

While you’re planning out event attendance for 2015, think about which persona (Dan or Sandy) will help you better achieve both personal and business goals. Think about how content creation at events can support integrated marketing efforts from social media to content marketing.

BONUS for speakers: If you speak at conferences, think about ways to incentivize the audience to create content around your presentation. For example, offering a free copy of Optimize to those that liveblog and for the best tweets during my presentations has skyrocketed my reach at some events. Instead of reaching 400 people in the room, I’ve had as many as a million impressions through social networks during the same 45 minute presentation.

To learn more about liveblogging conferences, check out these posts:

When you attend industry events and conferences, do you make a plan to create content there? Are you liveblogging or live tweeting? Or both?

Image: Shutterstock

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About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.