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In-Person Events Are Back: How Publishers Can Leverage Events to Boost Audience Engagement

By OpenWeb

In 2021, the point of a live event isn’t to watch it—it’s to talk about it online. Inevitably, publishers looking to join in (or lead) the discourse will do so on social media, where a well-timed tweet can usher in a raft of new followers. This is important work, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your own domain’s content. On social media, publishers are jostling for attention alongside comedians, internet celebrities, and one another. By guiding people to your own domain—and continually updating it with relevant content—publishers can deepen engagement and cultivate readers who’ll stick around long after the red carpet is rolled up.

The Role of Live Events for Editorial Content

Live events generate curiosity on an industrial scale: Addison Rae strolls onto the Met Gala carpet in a red dress, and suddenly ten million people are thinking: doesn’t Kim Kardashian own one just like that? And wait: weren’t the two of them friends? Did they have a falling out, or what? For publishers who’ve been covering this stuff for months or years, this is a prime opportunity: link back to relevant coverage and watch the page views roll in.

Besides engaging your loyal readers, and drawing in new ones, the right coverage of these events can go a long way towards re-engaging casual visitors to your site: the people who drop in now and again but don’t make a daily habit of it. With OpenWeb’s Topic Tracker and Universal Notification Center, these readers can be pinged when articles aligned with their interests are published—potentially drawing them from Twitter or Instagram to your domain during major events. And with the right content, you can keep them there.

Use Live Event Coverage To Build A Lasting, Owned Community

Twitter’s great for quick-hit jokes, but your website can offer something deeper: sustained, meaningful engagement with a voice (or voices) that your audience trusts. If social media is a crowded city street, your website, at its best, can be a cozy cafe, a refuge from the noise. And with OpenWeb’s LiveBlog feature (link needed), your readers don’t need to feel like they’re missing something by sheltering at your site—reporters or editors can update articles in real-time with the latest developments, without having to start from scratch. They can also engage with their audience using OpenWeb’s AMA feature, which lets them field questions from readers in real-time.

And don’t neglect the pre-show prep work: by synching in advance on what drives engagement, journalists and audience engagement teams can pre-curate content and (when the time comes) entice even more people to engage with their content.

As live events slowly return to pre-pandemic normal, they will once again take pride of place on publishers’ content calendars. Social media will always be an essential part of coverage, but if you can direct readers to your site, you can build a relationship away from the non-stop distractions of the social sphere. If you’re looking to level up how your editorial team covers live events, have a conversation with OpenWeb to see how our features can help.

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