Engaging Your Audience

Blogging From Live Events

Next week I’ve set myself a challenge – to blog everyday! Maybe even several times a day, and hopefully using a variety of content: video, photos, and text.

Thankfully for readers of this blog, you will not have to visit everyday to keep up-to-date with my blogging tips and advice. No, the blog is a personal one called Getting Away From Minecraft and I’ll be blogging while I’m on holiday – yippee!

Why?

For those of you who are wondering why I would increase my workload while I’m on holiday, when most normal people actually try to avoid work, the answer is twofold. First we’re off on a ‘holiday of a lifetime’, an outdoor adventure holiday to Andorra, and I want a record of it. If this doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, it certainly is to us; our holidays to date have revolved around a muddy campsite somewhere in the UK.

Secondly, this is a great opportunity for me to become a ‘real’ blogger. Traditionally bloggers write posts sharing their interests, passions and opinions. As a ghost blogger I write content sharing other people’s interests, passions and opinions, and most of this is done through company blogs that inevitably have to toe the company line.

Furthermore these ghost post have to address a specific target audience and are part of an overall marketing strategy for the business.

It’s going to be a really liberating experience, writing a blog with no real target audience in mind, only likeminded people who are interested in adventure holidays, and my mother.

Blogging Live Events (not holidays)

So what’s this got to do with you, the business blogger? Well, this style of blogging is very engaging for a niche audience. It’s a great way of targeting people who share very specific interests, in an intimate and direct way.

Industry events are a prime example. Many of us will already Tweet from a conference or trade show, sharing insights from the event with our followers and crucially engaging with other people at the event. A blog is really a step up from this, a bigger commitment but with potentially greater return.

How do you do it? 

It’s important to recognise the difference between a blogger and a reporter. Your blog should not turn into a summary of the event giving a blow-by-blow account of it. Instead think more along the lines of the Comments page of a newspaper: your blog is about what you’re getting out of the event, and what’s relevant to your target audience – your customers.

  • Share your opinions; it’s OK to have them,
  • Highlight the key takeaways for your audience,
  • Make recommendations based on your experience,
  • Use images and video to help readers understand what’s going on, and to give posts variety and interest.

If you’re committing to publish a regular blog from an event, it’s worth doing a bit of preparation beforehand. You’ll already have an idea of what the event entails, and what’s of specific interest to you and your customers. With this in mind you can plan out a blog timetable, perhaps tackling several key themes throughout the event.

Depending on the duration of the event, and how often you plan to publish a post, you’ll also need to manage the practicalities. When are you going to write your content? As it’s happening, sitting in a conference room? During a lunch break? Or from the comfort of your hotel room at the end of the day?

For immediate engagement, especially from other attendees, you’ll want to blog live from the event. But if your audience are your customers back at home, your blog posts may still be interesting and relevant even if read a day or two afterwards.

Also what are you blogging on? Is it appropriate to sit typing into a laptop, or would it be better to use your phone or tablet? Is WiFi available? If you plan to blog live content, you’ll want to be able to publish it quickly: it’s worth checking out the logistics before the event starts.

Engagement At The Event

If you want to use your blog to reach out to other attendees, as a way of networking and spreading your content further, they need to know about you! Fortunately most event organisers are keen to promote their event, and this means sharing social media updates from people who engage with them.

Hashtags are the way to do this. By using the event hashtag on Twitter you will immediately reach those people who are following it. By mentioning speakers, sponsors, brands and other attendees using their Twitter handles, you will reach them and their followers – especially if you give them good reasons to retweet.

It’s worthwhile collating this information beforehand so you can quickly draw people’s attention to relevant content as it happens. Put together a list of useful hashtags, Twitter handles and other social media profiles so you can target them throughout the event.

Remember it’s a two way street. It’s all very well bombarding people with your content but you should engage with them too. Share and retweet updates from those individuals or organisations you want to connect with, and get a conversation started.

If you would like to follow my family’s adventures in Andorra, please check out my blog next week!

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