Basically, I attended a one-day blogging event and “live blogged” the whole thing. By live blogging, I mean I typed the key points of each of the speakers as they spoke, publishing the posts as soon as they’d finished.
Why live blog?
After a three-month blogging hiatus, I knew I needed to do something to get my traffic going again. I looked at the Blogopolis event from the perspective that I was going to be there taking notes on my computer anyway, so why not just publish my notes as I went?
How can it help your blog?
Here’s a quick rundown of the numbers in the five days since the event (this doesn’t include my regular traffic):
- 5000 extra page views
- 3104 Stumbles
- 2000 extra visits
- 1600 extra visitors
- 200 new Twitter followers
- 200 Tweets
- 50 new Facebook likers
- 30 new inbound links (that I know of)
- 25 Facebook likes
- 20 new RSS subscribers
- 20-point increase in my Klout score
- 10 new Google Friend Connect members
- 4 Google +1s
These numbers are approximates. I should have noted the exact “before” numbers, but didn’t think about doing so. If you do something like this, know your stats beforehand so you can accurately measure your success.
What can you learn?
You can get so much more out of these things than just a traffic increase. This is a highly valuable opportunity to learn more about your blog and your audience, so make the most of it!
These figures have taught me a few things, namely that I should probably move my Facebook “Like” box up higher and that I should make more of a song and dance about subscribing to my RSS feed. And, clearly, it’s still too soon to expect much Google +1 action from my audience.
How do you live blog?
I’ve outlined the basics here, but let me reiterate what I did with a little extra detail.
- Find something your audience will be interested in reading about – an event, conference or seminar. Make sure it has a hashtag – this was crucial to my content being shared.
- Look at the schedule for the day. Is it arranged in a way that you’ll be able to cover it?
- Prepare your posts in advance. Obviously you can’t prepare the actual content in advance (unless you’re a psychic blogger? :) ) but you can have the headlines and introductions written and in draft ready to go. Also prepare a “landing” page (or “index” page) so that as soon as the conference starts there is somewhere people can visit to know what’s coming up. For me, that was this page.
- In the name of keeping thigs easy, I edited the URLs of each post to be “/blogopolis-1/”, “/blogopolis-2/” and so on. The numbers related to the order of the “classes” covered. This made it easy to…
- … Edit the index page with the link to each post once it went live. Rather than copy and pasting a long URL (eg: theblogstylist.com/the-state-of-the-australian-blogosphere) I simply updated it with /blogopolis-7/. (Make sense? Let me know in the comments if it doesn’t.)
- Knowing the URLs in advance also meant that I could create shortened links and pre-write the tweets for each session. I had a document of tweets ready to go (three per post) that I could simply copy, paste and tweet in a matter of seconds. When writing the tweets I included the hashtags and Twitter handles of the speakers as I knew there wasn’t going to be time to go looking for them once people started speaking.
- Have follow-up content ready so you can strike while the iron’s hot. I had a post in mind, but ended up going with the 51 Blog Tools & Resources Mentioned At Nuffnang Blogopolis. This is because when I started to go back through the live posts, adding the URLs I didn’t include on the day (I can type fast, but not that fast), I realised that I could turn these links into a whole new post. That is, extra content without the extra work (it took a whole 10 minutes). Win-win.
Tools and resources to use?
- WordPress. I honestly couldn’t imagine having done this kind of thing without it.
- An Acer Netbook. It’s very small and light, yet has a decent-sized keyboard.
- Your own internet connection. The Wi-Fi the event orgnaises provided was awesome, so I only had to rely on this once for about 10 minutes.
- Su.pr to shorten the tweets in advance. This meant the tweets were being sent out with the StumbleUpon toolbar attached (which can also drive traffic)
- Google Chrome. A fast and minimalistc browser.
- Silver Bird. A Google Chrome extension that meant I could tweet straight from the browser – no clicking in and out of applications or other tabs.
- Power board. In case there aren’t enough power points to go around.
- Extension coard. In case the closest power point isn’t close enough.
- Pen and paper. Just in case your computer crashes (as mine did – I lost about 10 minutes, and was able to jot down notes the old fashioned way and add them in later).
- Panadol and water. Oi, did I get a headache at one point…
What I should have done differently…
- Found a seat with a better view/temporarily moved for the panel discussions (I didn’t always know who was talking).
- Stayed closer to the conference and got more sleep beforehand! I was already feeling completely run down, and an early start made things harder.
Can anyone live blog?
To quote one of the speakers, Nikki from Styling You, “TOTES!”. A few people have kindly said they were impressed with my “skill”, but really, the only skills involved were planning, and typing. Planning is easy (see my bullet points above).
Typing, understandably, will be the trickiest part for most, but it basically comes down to practice. Also – and most importantly – I didn’t write word-for-word. I just noted the key pieces of information being said.
Someone on Twitter compared my bullet-point notes to “tweets” which is so very true – I couldn’t have said it better myself!
Conference notes update
Many of the speakers have since added notes and slides about their presentations to their blogs. I suggest you check them out – they provided some truly awesome information. (In order of appearance.)
- Nuffnang: Nuffnang Blogopolis 2011 Roundup
- Nicole Avery: Tools Of The Trade presentation
- Michael Aulia: Nuffnang Blogopolis 2011 Tools Of The Trades Slides And More Info
- Danielle Melnyczenko and Minh Giang: Blog Photography presentation slides
- Arnold Aranez: Nuffnang Blogopolis: Great Day Of Blogging Tips & Peeps
- Christie Burnett: Overcoming Writer’s Block Or Blogger Burnout
- Susan Thye: Melbourne Part 1
- Nikki Parkinson: Blogopolis 2011: The Clothes, The Tweets & The Lippy
- Andrew Hughes: Nuffnang Blogopolis 2011
- Jaclyn Ely: Working With Brands presentation slides
- Phoebe Montague: Visit her blog Lady Melbourne
- David Krupp: Visit his website Nuffnang
- Jeff Tan: Visit his website iProspect
- Darren Rowse: Visit his blog ProBlogger
- Candice DeVille: Visit her blog Super Kawaii Mama
- Eden Riley: Visit her blog Edenland
- Helen Yee: visit her blog Grab Your Fork
What are your thoughts on live blogging? Is it something you’ll try?