Skip links

Live blogging: A great way to monetize your news site

Local media organisations are increasingly turning to live blogging not just as a tool to expand content and boost reader engagement but also as a way to directly monetize their sites. Many newsrooms find themselves cash-strapped in today’s difficult publishing environment and would be wise to experiment with some of the unique revenue channels that can be opened up via blogging.

We’ll discuss some of those strategies and also take a look at what we’ve found to be one of the best blogging software options out there: Sourcefabric’s Live Blog, a next-generation, open-source live blogging platform that’s used by large news agencies and smaller news sites around the world.

Taking advantage of Live Blog’s features

Live Blog is easy-to-implement live blogging software that operates in the cloud, requires no downloading, and can be set up in minutes. Its flexibility, custom design themes, syndication tools, and ability to ingest social media posts and any rich multimedia format make it an ideal blogging platform for any type of publishing operation. Live Blog clients typically use it to quickly generate live coverage on important topics of the day, elections, sporting matches and unexpected events such as severe weather or natural catastrophes. In short, it is an ideal newsroom tool with first-rate storytelling capabilities. And, it’s simple to set up and start generating additional income for any site, right away.

Present ads on your live blog feed

One of the best Live Blog features is that it supports multiple types of advertising, a unique ability that sets it above the competition. Its advertising manager allows users to build their own advertising model instead of relying entirely on third-party ad providers. Native ads can easily be created, archived, and intelligently populated and managed throughout the user’s various blogs. “Remote” ads from third-party providers such as Doubleclick or Google AdSense can also be managed and put into rotation by entering the ad’s code snippet. This ability to take complete control over advertising is a key feature of Live Blog. Publishers can pursue and negotiate the kind of highly targeted ads that bring in premium revenues.

For instance, if one of your blogs covered the automobile industry and you wanted to negotiate an advertising deal with a local car dealership, or even one of the big manufacturers, Live Blog has sophisticated, built-in options for running and managing those ads alongside any third-party ad programs you have implemented.

Use affiliate links and get a commission by driving traffic to your affiliate partners

Another key way to generate revenue from blogging is through affiliate marketing. Nettavisen, a Norwgian online news site with an average daily audience of 700,000, for example, created a live blog dedicated to Black Friday sales. It was set up to appeal to deal-hunters looking for the best holiday prices on items such as electronics and household goods. The site estimated that their Black Friday blog efforts significantly boosted the site’s overall audience, by an amazing 43%, over that shopping weekend. Each item featured in that live blog contained promo codes or affiliate links to track sales, with the site receiving a percentage of each transaction referred by their live blog. is no doubt the largest, but there are many other affiliate programs out there. Affiliate networks such as Webgains and Awin are also great resources, helping sites connect with brands offering affiliate partnerships. Blogs devoted to market niches such as music, books, electronics and fashion are particularly well-suited for these programs. Consumers will always be on the lookout for well-produced blogs that cover the topics they are most passionate about. Blogs that provide a steady stream of the latest news on these products, while including affiliate promo codes or coupons, are proven winners.

Syndicate and sell your live blogs

Another aspect of Live Blog to draw inspiration from is the Live Coverage Ecosystem (LCE), which was built with backing from the Google Digital News Initiative (DNI). It was designed as a marketplace where Live Blog users at publications around the world could notify each other of planned coverage and syndicate and sell the blogs they create. For many publications, the barriers for entry to providing real-time coverage of many events is prohibitively high. The idea behind the LCE was that participants could monetise their blogs by selling them to other LCE participants, who would not be able to adequately cover that event themselves due to budgetary constraints. It’s a win-win solution for journalism: enabling buyers to provide their readers with full-coverage stories at affordable prices and sellers to offset the costs of producing that coverage.

There are various ways to monetise your news site, and live blogging is easy to add to the arsenal and start generating revenue right away. Whether you choose Live Blog, or any other live blogging platform, publishers will find it to be a rich and rewarding storytelling format with great potential for boosting the bottom line.

by Eric Hamilton
source: TECH TIMES