14 Live Blog Benefits For Digital News Publishers

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Keeping your news audience engaged is getting more difficult. The Washington Post recently named a new CEO amid reports that its digital audience has declined by 28% since 2021 (digital subscriptions are also down 15%). It’s not just the Washington Post that has faced challenges either.

Many digital news publishers need help to get and maintain audience engagement. There are many ways to solve this challenge, like experimenting with new content experiences (e.g., the New York Times has invested significantly in sports and games). 

Making your website more engaging with a live blog is a powerful way to keep your audience engaged longer.  A live blog is a perfect way to use a mix of content like videos, short Twitter-style posts, articles, audio clips, and more to engage your audience.

14 Live Blog Benefits To Grow Digital News Audiences

With the right execution, retaining and growing your digital audience today is more than possible. Here are some ways a live blog can keep your audience returning for more.

1. Deepen audience engagement multiple times a day

A person who visits your website for minutes is much more valuable than someone who reads a few headlines and disappears in seconds. Live blogging solves this problem by giving your audience a reason to keep coming back for more.

Imagine there is a breaking news story like an election. You can cover that event with a live blog and provide hourly updates. Those frequent updates give your audience a reason to visit in the morning, at lunch, and later in the day to get the latest developments.

2. Grow search traffic

In July 2023, many news publishers noticed a drop in Google traffic. The drop was later attributed to a bug in Google’s software. That disheartening experience reminds us that keeping a close eye on the latest search trends is vital.

It’s been established that providing up-to-date content is a proven way to attract search traffic. A live blog is one of the best ways to provide a steady stream of new content like analysis, new facts, commentary, video, and more. Feeding the search engines with new content – especially on trending news items – is one of the best SEO (search engine optimization) search strategies.

3. Grow the bond with your audience with a human touch

The rise of AI and misinformation makes it harder for your audiences to know who to trust. In 2022, the Pew Research Center reported, “ Adults under 30 are now almost as likely to trust information from social media sites as they are to trust information from national news outlets.”

Rebuilding trust with your audience takes several strategies, including recommitting to high standards of journalistic behavior. You likely have one or more highly trusted news personalities within your current team. Those trusted individuals can help you to grow audience trust.

Invite one of your top trusted journalists to use a live blog to cover a breaking news story. Shaping the live blog around a specific journalist’s reputation and expertise can deepen audience engagement and trust.

4. Increase referrals with viral content

Receiving content from a friend is one of the best ways to grow your audience. This is another area where a live blog can help. For example, you and a few friends might eagerly follow the new NBA drafts each year. A live blog that follows all draft announcements is tailor-made for audiences to share.

You can supercharge this viral effect by using Arena’s interaction elements like polls, responding to comments on your page, and hosting chat experiences.

5. Provide exclusive content for paying subscribers

Paying subscribers are the coin of the realm. Keeping them happy and engaged is crucial for the future of a publishing business. A live blog can help you to win here by offering an exclusive experience.

For example, invite a few experts to share their thoughts on a breaking news story to make contributions alongside your in-house staff. Sharing a broader perspective on the news makes the experience more valuable for your subscribers and keeps them returning for more.

6. Use team reporting for more stories

When a big story breaks, it’s tough for anyone to research and cover it thoroughly. Bringing together a team – even a small two-person team – with a live blog is a great solution. Each team member can submit updates and keep your audience engaged.

7. Accelerate your urgent news coverage

When an urgent story breaks, the digital news publisher with the fastest and best coverage is positioned to win. A live blog is a good option for rapidly developing stories. You can share updates every minute, every hour, or however, you often make sense for your audience.

8. Distribute your online content faster

High-quality content is the foundation of online success as a digital news publisher. Yet, the best content in the world isn’t worth much if your audience can’t find it in their preferred format.

A live blog is flexible: it can be updated on a desktop browser or a mobile device. That means you can keep your reporters in the field engaged.

9. Enrich traditional written articles

Today’s digital audiences are conditioned to expect engaging images and videos. You will struggle to keep your audience if your online content doesn’t meet those social media expectations. 

Enhancing your written content with comments, videos, GIFS, and social reactions helps your content to compete effectively with the big social media sites. Think of it this way. One way or another, your audience will want to discuss your content. If you make it easy for your audience to connect and discuss with you on your website, they’ll have a reason to stay there longer.

10. Innovate faster than your competitors

Live blogs – sometimes known as live updates – have been around for years. However, many digital news publishers have yet to use them. Adding a live blog to your website will make you one step ahead of other news publishers.

11. Get closer to your audience’s real interests

Traditional digital analytics only tell you so much about your audience’s interests. You can get basic demographic information and see what content gets likes and views. That information helps, but it doesn’t go very deep.

Offering a live blog where your audience can comment deepens your understanding of your audience. Instead of guessing which kinds of content your audience wants, you can check the comments section and see which updates are driving engagement.

12. Offer a branded experience to your audience

Your audience should have a consistent experience when interacting with your content. Arena Live Blog is designed to be customized. Creating your live blog theme and customizing icons will give your blog the same look and feel as the rest of your website.

13. Connect your coverage to the social media conversation

You may have mixed feelings about social media as a digital news publisher. On the one hand, you love how much traffic social media sites can send you. On the other hand, you don’t like how social media sites compete against publishers for your audience’s attention.

A live blog can offer your audience the best of both worlds. Start by creating your content and updates. Then, track the social media conversation (e.g., tracking specific hashtags and keywords) and curate the best content for your audience.

14. Make the news helpful for your audience

A live blog is an interactive and flexible way to share your content. Rather than simply posting a static article, a live blog invites conversation.

In Brazil, Arena delivered a live blog to keep readers updated about the COVID-19 pandemic. It contained daily statistics about the virus and other sources of information to give a broad perspective on the situation. 

Even more importantly, as health measures decreased social interaction, the live chat provided a much-needed social outlook for people to interact with each other.

Find Out If Live Blog Is Right For You

The best way to find out if Arena Live Blog is suitable for your audience is to try it out. Try our live blog tool for free!

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