Liveblogging offers several advantages over traditional event coverage. You have the immediate attention of a curious audience, you have a unique perspective and opportunity for standout coverage, and most importantly, you have the ability to gain more exposure by creating more media (text, video, photos) for more platforms (social, video, and visual).
Is there a special event coming up that you want to cover? Everything is fair game, from industry conferences to rock concerts. No matter your blog niche there is sure to be something to liveblog about. This quick guide will help you prepare to cover for whatever comes your way. Half of the battle is showing up armed and ready.
Choosing Your Devices
Liveblogging is all about the tech. Which devices do you want to have in your arsenal? This is the most important decision in this entire guide, and will largely determine what else you need to bring. Think about your angle: are your readers going to be looking for short quotes? Will they want to hear live audio? Does the event call for photo and video coverage? This will depend largely on the event, your publishing platforms, and of course, the target audience.
We always suggest bringing a reliable laptop – it will come in handy for revising and publishing, even if you would rather have something more portable for the bulk of your liveblogging. Make sure it has your word processing software, your blogging software, and your social media aggregators. There are tons of great photo editing apps for Mac to make visual publishing a little quicker and easier.
A device with a full keyboard is highly recommended for any events that will require a significant amount of typing. A cellphone or tablet may work for short quotes and quips but you’ll want a full laptop for anything longer than tweet length. The cellphone is great for on-the-go coverage, especially if you are up and moving around during the event.
The cellphone may be able to handle some of the audio, photo, and video capture but do not rely on such casual devices for events that rely entirely on these aspects. We do not suggest bringing your best camera for ordinary events (the rewards do not justify the risks), but readers looking for coverage of a concert or sculpture exhibit will want to experience everything in full detail.
Mobile Workspace Basics
Now that you have chosen your gear, you’ll need the right stuff to make it work. First, you’ll need a way to carry your luggage. We suggest picking out a nice spacious messenger bag, perhaps with a hard back to serve as an impromptu lap desk if needed. Try to choose something nice and comfortable with a waterproof liner to protect against potential rain or spills.
A high quality power strip with built-in surge protector should be your first go-to investment, regardless of the tech you choose. This will serve as your lifeline to all your electronics and the extra power outlet slots might help you make some new friends. Don’t forget extra batteries just in case the “charge as you go” technique doesn’t work out.
You may want to make a list of your devices and the cords/chargers/adapters that go along with them. Color-code your cords if you have to. Nothing ruins a liveblogging session like a dead battery and it can be impossible to find a compatible charger on short notice at a packed event. Double-check your list before departure.
Analogue tools never go out of style. Don’t get so involved in your tech inventory that you forget about the good old pen and paper. Handwriting is much better for taking notes in a fast-paced environment, especially if you have your camera and tripod poised for action between scribbles. These low tech methods will always remain champion.
Last but not least: what is the most important part of liveblogging? Connectivity! Pack along a wireless Internet hotspot in case the local wireless is clogged or nonexistent. If all else fails, make sure to connect with other journalists at the event so you can borrow or rent a slice of Internet hotspot.
Are you getting excited yet? Create your packing list well ahead of time so that you can spend the days before the event publicizing your liveblogging plans and doing the necessary preliminary research or interviews – you will be glad you did!