The Art of Liveblogging: Eight Tips

SCFWEST_P01 To start the week I will be speaking and liveblogging on for my client the Human Capital Institute in Phoenix (see picture of summit host The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa). The 2008 Human Capital Summit covers the movement from traditional HR administration towards fostering talent management  as the new lever for market success. Liveblogging has its unique role at such an event.

First and foremost, liveblogging can create an air of excitement at an event, not only for attendees, but also for extended members of the HCI community. Other benefits liveblogging offers:

  • Google juice for the event
  • Recorded history of the event
  • Helps an organizations and companies see social media at work
  • Better retention of information for the liveblogger (I personally hope to gain a lot as an exec who runs his own companies. HCI revolves around reinventing the organization around talent and to communicate the value driven by cutting-edge talent practices to investors and other stakeholders.).

Their are many philosophies and beliefs on the best ways to liveblog. Here’s some of my favorite tips based on my experiences as a sole liveblogger.

1) Pre-identify who and what you want to cover. For example, after the keynote and first session, I will crash the video interviews of many speakers and give readers an inside scoop on their thoughts. Also do a little research on speakers in advance.

2) Have camera, will travel. Make sure you have comfortable gear for your camera so its readily accessible and can be used easily. My neck strap was bought for just these situations. Also be sure to have all of the necessary cables and pretest your equipment. Visuals are critical to great blogging, and you must be able to quickly add photos to each story.

3) Write, read and send: Don’t overthink the writing. You are a scribe in the ancient Egyptian sense, analysis is great, but in reality people just want to know the prescient points. Read through the script after writing, and send. Don’t over-edit. You come back that night and clean it up. If you are truly liveblogging, your job is to get the posts up almost as quickly as events happen.

4) Be flexible: Livebloggers get called into all sorts of weird situations. “Cover this, write that, don’t take my photo.” Just roll with it, and have fun.

5) Headlines matter. Like any blog post, be creative and try to get folks interested. Liveblogging can be an entry point for larger engagement with the subject matter and/or organization.

6) Don’t kill yourself. After three or four posts, you’ll be tired. Take that break. No one needs to be Brett Favre.

7) Limit your tools. Don’t overdo it. You can’t vlog, podcast, blog and tweet an event. Or at least you can’t do all of it well. Choose your most comfortable tools and execute well. For me, writing, photos, and maybe a couple of podcast chats.

8) Ethan Zuckerman’s right (any real liveblogger should read this excellent treatise). Sit in the back or on the side. Make sure you scope out where the outlets are so you can keep optimal battery levels throughout the event.