Red Carpet Secrets For Live Blogging Events (And How to Work it Like a Pro)

In case you missed it, it was a major news day yesterday. Nerds, politicians, and celebrity junkies all got their fixes of fancy as Amazon launched three new Kindle devices, President Obama took the stage at the Democratic National Convention, and MTV held its annual Video Music Awards. And let's not forget those that are mainlining serious style during New York Fashion Week.

I'm surprised the Internet didn't break. Though heads may have exploded.

How to Liveblog

What do all of these events have in common? They've all been liveblogged up, down, and sideways in various forms. A liveblog is exactly what it sounds like — live coverage of an event that provides rolling updates via text and/or photo on a blog or website and social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Though liveblogging should include updates of actual events that are happening as they unfold, it's also a perfect time to show your A+, gold star proficiency by analyzing and breaking down the news into bite-sized angles and chunks of easy to understand information. You don't even have to be at said events (though it helps) — you could be doing liveblogging from the comfort of your own couch.

We know that covering current events brings traffic to your site, and liveblogging big events takes a match to that theory and sets it ablaze. Coupling livebloging and live tweeting? Well, if you have the right hashtag, you just might see a tsunami of new visitors that will make all this work worth the effort. People don't just watch events on TV anymore — they're sitting on their couches with their laptops and tablets open, following their favorite sites' coverage and adding their own commentary on social networks. Be there to whisper in their ear and you'll gain some new regulars.

So how do you make a successful liveblog? A few tips to get you started after the break.

  • Be prepared — Do your research before the event. Find the official hashtag, Twitter handles of all the big players, location, time, and any major news expected to come from the event. Write out a list of possible angles you can cover from start to finish — red carpet arrivals, best quotes, favorite dress, specs on a new gadget, who the gadget is perfect for, the food typically served at the event, workouts you can do to get red carpet ready, how to look good for photogs, so on and so forth. If you're liveblogging from home, make sure you find all the right channels this event will be on — TV, apps, and livestreams over the Internet.
  • Move fast — This is not the time to dilly dally. Liveblogging means quick, fast paced, rapid-fire posts. Keep them short, sweet and accompanied by photos. If you don't have access to photos from an event, create one post that you're constantly updating with the newest entries on top.
  • Make it visual — A quick note on photos: if you're not taking pics with your camera or smartphone from the event, I suggest digging up a livestream or signing into your cable company's web viewer. This will allow you to screenshot the events so you can accompany your posts with live photos. If you are pulling photos from somewhere like Flickr or Instagram, be sure to get permission (if required) and credit appropriately.
  • Tweet and repeat — Don't forget to tweet with the appropriate hashtags and handles! Quotes always get a lot of attention, so choose powerful ones to focus on.
  • Break it down — After the event is over, look at your current coverage from a high level and decide where you can fill in the blanks. So you've liveblogged every new Kindle model in its own post, but maybe now you can educate buyers on which one is right for them or why they should buy one over the other (or both!). You've blogged your favorite celebrities as they've posed their way down the red carpet, but maybe you've spotted an emerging fashion trend between them. Write about that. You've covered President Obama's speech, but what were his main talking points? What were the best quotes of the night? How does his speech compare to others in the past? You get the picture?
  • Wrap it up — After all is said and done, create a wrap-up post so readers can find all of your coverage in one place. A short introduction and a list of links is perfectly fine, or you can choose to create a slideshow with your main image from each post and a link to the coverage in each slide.

Full disclosure: liveblogging is hard work and takes tons of practice to get it right. I'd love to hear your thoughts, concerns and questions on liveblogging. In the comments, please tell me:

  • Have you ever tried liveblogging?
  • What's the one big question you have about the process?
  • What tips would you add to this list?

I can't wait to hear from you so we can discuss!

Source: Flickr userlipstickproject