In last week’s post, you may remember we showed you the unfortunate case of Ben Bloom – Sports reporter for The Telegraph – who was due to cover the Borussia Dortmund press conference. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, you can check out last weeks post here. Using poor Ben as an example, we’ll kick this guide off:
1: Preparation. While we are more than certain Ben went into that conference as prepared as he thought he could be, the whole ‘conference being in German and Ben not actually able to understand German’ thing scuppered him. One tiny overlooked fact sent him spiralling into a pit of panic and confusion. Make sure you know everything you possibly can about the event you will be covering – including the spoken language! Check their website, social media feeds, confirmation guides – anything you can possibly find about the event or event organiser. Also (and from previous experience, we promise this is a big one), make sure you have a basic understanding of what the event is all about.
2. Anticipation. Is there any information about the event that could be anticipated? That piece of paper someone handed you that your drink is currently resting on, what information can be found there? Chances are, you will be given a schedule or sorts with some details on it. Use it! There is nothing worse than the blind panic of trying to keep up with someone talking a thousand words a minute. Scheduling some of this information (if possible) can really help when things start picking up.
3. Format. You know you will be covering an event live, but what format is best for you to do this? Live blog? Micro blogging? This one is really down to you and what you feel most comfortable with. Setting up a live blog on your website would be an obvious choice. You can prepare (point 1) for the event by posting an introductory blog, informing your readers what you will be doing and encourage them to follow as you do. Slightly time consuming if you plan on adding lots of visuals to the postings but not impossible. Or perhaps micro blogging (social media) is the way to go? Are you looking for quicker, snappier updates with lots of images? Check out the event on line and anticipate (point 2) any social media handles or hashtags to include. No hashtags? Make one up! Perhaps you could take someone with you to collaborate? After all, twenty digits are better than ten. Just make sure you have a game plan – no point in repeating the same information.
4. Technology. What equipment will you be using to cover the event? Is it possible to use a laptop to cover the event. Undeniably this would be the easiest option should you choose to live blog. Perhaps using a phone or tablet is the way to go? Will you need a camera or will your mobile cut it? Whatever equipment you decide you need to (a) have a test run first to ensure you actually know how to use it! and (b) don’t forget your chargers. Cliffhangers are good for creating suspense, but they really only work if they’re planned.
5. It’s all about YOU! You’re there to do a job. It’s likely you are there representing your business. Even though you may be squashed up in the back of a room, prepare for a one-to-one interview. Think about what you want out of the event and how best to represent yourself and your company while doing so. There may be a chance for you to ask questions (preparation and anticipation), so jot down a few just incase. Stay focused and make sure you pay attention to everything that is being said so you can convey this to your readers accurately and within the right context. It won’t look good making mistakes when live blogging/tweeting…
Well, there you have it. Congratulations, You are now a wizard at covering events live! Do you have any tips of your own? Perhaps you have some live blogging/tweeting fails you wish to share with the group. We want to hear them! You can chat with us on Facebook or tweet us @ThisIsParachute.
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