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Lessons from a Live Blogger: SES San Francisco Recap

August 23, 2010

Search Engine Strategies (SES) San Francisco once again delivered a fantastic three days of everything search marketing and more. Along the way I heard some great sessions, met some very smart people, and learned some valuable live blogging lessons.

This was my first time as a live blogger at an event, so I wanted to share some of the key lessons I learned along the way, and (in case you missed them) links to the live blog posts I wrote for Search Engine Watch. 

Lesson 1: Do your Homework

Be prepared: It definitely helps to know which sessions you are going to attend up front, and who all the players are (names and companies). My beginner’s tip is to write a session introduction summarizing information about the moderator and speakers ahead of time. This way you can focus on the session content as it happens, rather than trying to figure out who is who, and what they are about. Also make sure everything (laptop/iPad/smartphone) is charged up and ready to go, and that you are able to connect to the wi-fi beforehand.

Lesson 2: Arrive Early

When you know which sessions you are going to attend, make sure you know which room you need to be at and when. It helps to arrive early so you can get a decent seat up front where the press tables and power outlets are. This will also give you time to get logged into your blogging platform, and get settled ahead of time. If you have time between sessions, go talk to the panelists afterwards. You can often get additional information to add to your post, that wasn’t covered in the session.

Lesson 3: Get your Timing Right

Due to the nature of live blogging, timing is really important: the quicker, the better. Unlike “standard” blogging you don’t have the luxury of writing a post, taking a break, and coming back later to make several rounds of edits and improvements. Although timing is key, don’t let silly mistakes slip through the net. Read your post at least twice before you send it live in order to:

  • Catch any spelling and grammatical errors
  • Check for readability
  • Fix formatting

Lesson 4: Spread the Word

Once your post is out there make sure you let people know about it. For example, share it on Facebook, Digg and Twitter, using the conference (and session) hashtags so that attendees, or those just following along, can check it out.

Lesson 5: It Ain’t Easy

This was the most important lesson I learned on my first outing. I never thought that live blogging would be a walk in the park, but at the same time I never appreciated how much hard work it actually was until I was doing it. It takes buckets of concentration on an empty stomach, a strong bladder, and a good supply of caffeine. So total respect goes out to all the pro-live bloggers out there. Even more respect to those superheroes who are able to live blog and tweet simultaneously.

My Live Blog Post Summary:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

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