As the 2024 European Union Parliament elections approach, the anticipation continues to grow. This isn’t just another election; it marks the 10th iteration and the first since Brexit. Because of this, the 2024 European Union Parliament elections carry an even greater sense of gravity.
Because this event carries such importance, many people are wondering about the best way to keep readers up-to-date throughout the event.
Our gaze is turned toward the news organisations that will find themselves in the midst of strategic planning for their coverage, marrying traditional journalistic rigor with the innovative powers of modern technology.
The catalyst of change
The digital revolution has been a catalyst across several industries, and news publishers are compelled to join the movement. The rapidly advancing digital era challenges us to dive deep into the whirlpool of news, data, and events.
Elections — with their unique blend of rules, predictability, and inevitable surprises — present an ideal backdrop for combining in-depth reporting with interactive and rich content. They enable news outlets to deliver a fuller, more immersive story that drives traffic and creates a deeper level of engagement with audiences.
Creative examples from past successes
Let’s take a look at prior cases of success to get a better understanding how some news publishers have been innovative with their election coverage.
Breaking language barriers
The 2019 European Union Parliament elections exemplified the power of live blogging, with The Campaigns Directorate of the European Parliament choosing a live blog strategy to cover the event. During the elections, the platform enabled more than 30 editors to set up more than 24 distinct live blogs, each catering to a specific language. This multi-lingual approach was instrumental in achieving international reach and ensuring accessibility for all citizens.
Painting a picture with live blogging
Live blogs present a vibrant palette that blends together several mediums. Text, visuals, automated content, hashtags, curated content, and more can be combined to provide commentary, results, predictions, and updates. The ability to facilitate immediate comments, reactions, and discussions enhances user engagement, bolsters readership, and fosters a sense of community.
For instance, during the 2019 election, Archant Media employed this multi-media approach to present a vivid visualisation of the election outcome.
“Our live coverage of the 2019 general election was miles ahead of any other regional publisher (and even some national titles),” said Peter Raven, invention and data manager at Archant. “We had 20 live blogs running throughout the night, which pulled in 168% more pageviews than the 2017 general election coverage with EDP, Ham & High-Finchley (… their fifth most-read article of 2019), and The Comet (12,000) making up the top three. On top of that, we had both national graphics updating live in the small hours, and 22 local graphics embedded across all blogs.”
In-depth and qualitative journalism rewards investigative journalism
In combination with interactive and rich content for a holistic story and immersive coverage, in-depth and qualitative actions reward investigative journalism. Elections make for the perfect opportunity to drive traffic and create deeper engagement. Their mix of rules and chaos, predictability and surprise, provides publishers with a great opportunity to deliver more and better coverage to their audience.
In 2017, The Daily Telegraph reported it had doubled its number of daily subscribers to premium content and attributed this increase to the coverage of the general election in the United Kingdom at the time. On average, conversions from an online live event were 12.6% or higher, while conversion rates from average Web sites is only about 2% to 5%.
Consider Dagens Næringsliv (DN) as another example. It established two live election blogs, each with distinct focus areas and post frequencies. The primary blog tracked significant election updates, used by various journalists simultaneously, with more than 90 real-time posts throughout the evening. The secondary blog offered more personalised posts, providing a diverse range of live news feeds. Both blogs had unique designs and layouts, integrating seamlessly with DN’s main Web site but retaining their individual characteristics.
Essentially, DN developed a custom extension for its live blog to increase reader engagement. This visual tool, which went from conception to completion in less than an hour, allowed for real-time updates of vote counts, enhancing the visual appeal of the blog.
The road ahead
There are several possibilities within the live coverage sphere, all of which combine interactive and rich content in an effort to create an immersive experience that drives traffic, engagement, and conversions.
Due to the dynamic and unpredictable nature of elections, covering the story through a live blog is optimal as journalists can dive head first into the chaotic environment of political campaigns, provide the latest information, break news, and share behind-the-scenes insights as they unfold. And don’t forget that timely and frequent publication also contributes to bolstering trust among audiences, establishing authority, driving traffic, and increasing subscriptions.
Now is the time to plan for live coverage strategies and test and implement new tools. Are you ready for the upcoming 2024 European Union Parliament elections?