If your company is heading to an exhibition or trade show, either as an exhibitor or as a visitor, you want to get word out about this as much as you possibly can. Before the event, you can use Social Media, email marketing and blog posts to promote your attendance, but your activity should not stop on the day.
By liveblogging and/or Tweeting from the event, you can get word out to potential clients or customers who might also be attending, and if it’s an open event, you might be able to draw in a few more prospective opportunities to your exhibition stand.
It’s also a great way of keeping your fans and current clients up to date with news and developments from within your industry. If you sit in on a presentation given by an industry expert, for example, you can share the things you’ve learned with the people who follow you.
Liveblogging is a great way to do this. Although Twitter is more immediate and you can track event hashtags, you are limited to 140 characters. With liveblogging, you can set up a feed, and you aren’t quite so limited. You’ll still want to keep your posts fairly short – after all, nobody wants to wade through dozens of 250 word updates in quick succession, any more than you’d want to type them – but you’ve got a bit more flexibility if you want to make lengthier updates.
Preparing to liveblog an event
Make sure you’ve got all the gear you’ll need:
- laptop, tablet or smartphone
- chargers (just in case you run low on batteries)
- digital camera
- video camera (with a decent microphone for interviews)
- digital recorder
Also, make sure you double and triple check before the event that you’ll definitely have Internet access. And on that note, make sure that you know how much Internet access will cost – some venues charge you to use their connection.
Liveblogging applications and services
There are several applications out there that you can use for liveblogging. One of the most well-regarded seems to be Coveritlive. This is a free service, but has a lot of great features that make it ideal for liveblogging events, such as an iPhone app, and the ability to use Twitter hashtags.
If Coveritlive is a little too feature-heavy, and you want something a bit simpler, there’s Wordfaire, which supports text and images. If you have a Facebook page, try the Livestream plugin, which allows users visiting your site to share activity in real time.
If your website is built on WordPress, this too has a liveblogging plugin.
Some things to keep in mind when liveblogging
Don’t think that you have to be the first to report on everything. Of course, being the first to blog about some exciting industry story or development is great, but if your post is poorly written and ill-informed, people aren’t going to bother reading more. Take the time to be sure of your facts, check your post thoroughly, and make sure that if you can’t be first, you’ll be the best.
Another very important thing to bear in mind is that liveblogging does not mean “real time”. Unless you can type at Superman-like speed, there’s no way you’ll be able to blog in real time. Just focus on the things that you think are likely to be of the most interest and benefit to your readers. Have a plan, and stick to it.