Client: Campaign Magazine / Haymarket
Project Name: Live Blog
A solution is required that can be used by Campaign Magazine journalists to keep readers updated in realtime on industry events. This will benefit both readership and the business through increased traffic and a higher average time spent on the site, along with a large increase in commercial potential.
Once the problem had been established and a general plan set, some research was required in to how other publishers had tackled a similar problem, what readers expected with such a solution and the context of when readers would be following the live content.
There was also a requirement that any solution was cross brand, i.e. could be utilised by other publications with a new ‘skin’ that matched the design of the publication.
Finally, rather than just a general product, any solution created would ideally be event specific with its own unique URL.
The Campaign Magazine journalists spend a lot of time covering industry events, where big announcements usually take place. Unfortunately the nature of publishing means that updating the audience quickly is difficult, as an article takes time to write and edit before being published.
This meant a lot of journalists were using platforms like Twitter to update their audience, depriving Campaign Magazine of valuable traffic.
Additionally, 3rd party platforms had their own limitations for the journalists, and readers of the site were also being deprived of updates.
When there are live events a lot of information, news and insights are delivered in a very short space of time - particularly during a keynote presentation.
For a traditional print publisher, it’s a far departure to consider updating your audience in real time, and slowly this meant that both the audience and the journalists migrated to other third party platforms where they could find out news as and when it happened.
However, from a reader perspective, having to hunt for information on a platform like Twitter can also be tricky, and a single trusted source that can keep the reader up to date didn’t exist.
Journalists One of the main stakeholders were the journalists themselves, and we needed to understand what kind of solution they would be looking for and how they would use it. It was important that they were heavily involved in the project as they would be using it the most.
Competitors Many other publications faced the same kinds of issues and had attempted to address the same problem in their own way. No direct competitors had built anything, but there were plenty of non-direct competitors that had attempted to tackle the problem.
Structuring the competitor analysis lifted out some design ideas, but also content ideas, i.e. how updates should be structured (long and detailed, or short and snappy).
Readers Fortunately, Campaign Magazine had a loyal following of readers that were often keen to engage at any opportunity. This meant that speaking to a number of readers quickly to validate the problem and understand how they would normally consume updates was relatively straight forward. We validated the problem, and also gained insight in to the type of solution that we could design.
Taking in to account the brief and key requirements, the end vision was a responsive product built on Wordpress that could automatically load updates.
This product was able to be re-skinned easily for other publications, as well as allowing for multiple installs with unique URLs for each event.
From a journalist perspective, it was simple to provide quick updates with text, images and videos, and there was the ability to allow access for multiple journalists to update simultaneously.
I found during research that readers would use the site both when sitting at their desk in an office and on their phone whilst at the event - this meant we also implemented a responsive design that could change depending on the viewport of the reader.
Covering a large industry event always brings a number of pressures, particularly when the perfect coverage is so important and there is little opportunity to get it right. So bringing together a number of different stakeholders to make this product work added an extra challenge.
However, by bringing along those stakeholders, they were invested in the product and wanted to make it a success as much as possible. Ultimately it worked exactly as planned and by taking some of the ‘technical’ leg work off the journalists, it relieved the pressure and allowed them to focus on what they are good at.