The three pillars of liveblogging are the perfect way for reporters and editors to get started creating their 2020 US election liveblogs.
Pillar 1: First the planning, then the reporting!
When it comes to reporting on an election, especially one as large as the 2020 US presidential election, there are a number things to keep in mind. The first is that planning is key. With so many events, resources, and opinions, it’s very important to present everything in a cohesive manner. Given the number of reporters needed for such a range of events and topics, it’s crucial for them to understand what their role is and how they can best work together. A good briefing is important for the team – so that they are flexibly prepared for anything and everything newsworthy that could come their way.
Before the editors and journalists start writing, a consistent tone and style needs to be established. It should also be decided whether the liveblog is for something limited such as a speech or a debate or instead for a series of events lasting multiple days. This will help to determine how the liveblog is set up with regard to milestone posts. Milestone posts help to organise longer liveblogs by creating links to posts with clickable headlines that take the reader to specific parts of the liveblog, e.g. the Vice-Presidential debate. NB. While it’s easiest to create milestone posts while writing, this can also be added afterwards as well.
Pillar 2: Multimedia storytelling – don’t just write it, show it!
The upcoming election is set to be the media event of the year, largely in part because 2020 has been challenging for so many people, and for such a multitude of reasons. Even with the best written storytelling, the addition of multimedia content makes the headline more compelling and draws the reader deeper into the narrative. Integrated photo and video material make the election events more vivid and relatable. By embedding social media posts, the liveblog presents additional perspectives and demonstrates the relevance of the topic beyond its own medium.
Arguably the best storytelling is done “close” to the source, or in other words, on location. Mobile reporters, who have direct access to liveblog reporting via the Live Blog app, can document the news right from the thick of things. The content produced, whether visual or textual, can be shared directly with the readers. This level of contact with the event means that the reporting is both more authentic and the liveblogs are filled with more unique content, thereby helping to further captivate readers.
Pillar 3: The best content needs to be findable!
By nature, a liveblog is a medium which presents live updates to readers in a clearly laid out and readable format. The value of the liveblog is based on readers having access to the updates when they want them most, which is usually during the event itself. Even if the liveblog is still interesting and relevant afterwards, the key takeaway here is that the liveblog needs to be advertised on the website where readers can easily find it. This includes other relevant articles listing the liveblog in the recommended reading section for related articles and vice versa. Thus, the reader is provided with a complete offering of information that is of interest to them. In addition, particularly relevant news can be highlighted in the liveblog while it is being written (or even afterwards) by marking posts as important. Another important thing to keep in mind is to make sure that the internal search on the website recognizes words like “liveblog” or “liveticker”.
When it comes to articles being “findable”, this doesn’t just refer to the liveblogs on the organisation’s website, but also on the web. Thanks to some recent SEO updates, including AMP Prefetch and Styled (CSS) Prefetch, liveblogs can be more easily found by Google, thereby increasing reach and ultimately monetisation as well.