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Elections, Euros, Olympics: engaging and converting audiences during big events

Around 49% of the world's population, more than ever in history, will head to the polling station as at least 64 countries (plus the European Union) are holding national elections in 2024. Then add on Europe's summer of sport, with the Euros, tennis, Tour de France and of course the Paris 2024 Olympics, and you have plenty of incredible opportunities to acquire, engage and convert audiences.

Whilst some of these events have been and gone, there will be plenty more in the future. So let's look at how around the world have been maximizing on the potential value of these events to develop their online audiences, from live blogs and countdown clocks to special offers and dedicated newsletters.

Build excitement and interest on the home page

Inform audiences immediately upon arriving on-site that you provide coverage of these events. L'Équipe integrates these into their header for instance, with icons and colors to make them stand out from more generalist topics. Their sticky header also makes the live coverage (“voir les directs”) accessible to readers at any moment.

L'Équipe engages through the olympics and euro 2024

's homepage includes an animated module counting down to the Paris 2024 Olympics and a link to follow the flame live.

Le Figaro Paris Olympic countdown

Banners are another strategy to promote articles or lives during events, ensuring they're updated regularly based on current events and have very specific display conditions based on the page and reader profile. Below, a banner promoting an article covering gender equality in the then upcoming European elections.

European elections banner

Dedicated value propositions

We've all seen pop-ups to encourage app download, but you can take this a step further by adapting messaging to events that might interest your reader.

Below, an example from TF1 Info, the French media, who is using the Euros as a hook to convince a reader that downloading their app will allow them to follow along live.

“Follow the 2024 Euros with the TF1 Info app.

  • Video goals, and live match commentary
  • Notifications to never miss a moment
  • An optimized experience and personalized news feed”
Poool Engage app download

Gain reader support and acquire subscribers

Quality journalism in times of elections and huge sporting moments is more valuable then ever. So make sure readers come to you to not only stay up-to-date but gain a different angle, something unique that others can't provide.

also maximizes on these news moments to ask for reader support.

The Guardian banner for europe's big summer
The Guardian engaging through big events

> From The Audiencers' Festival: How The Guardian has developed its proposition and grown its reader revenue

Le Monde in France took a similar approach for the 2024 elections, focusing on their unique perspective

“In an uncertain world, support journalism you can rely on… Our journalists is committed to providing you with reports, analyses and research to help you make sense of this unprecedented political context.”

Le Monde paywall french elections

And an example from 's subscription offer, before and after the UK general election.

The Independent paywall UK general election

Even if it's something as simple as an image to associate your publication with the event, like The New Statesman.

The New Statesman subscription UK general elections

even offered 3 months free as a general election special. This is a great way to support access to information during this important political moment in the UK.

The Telegraph subscription offer UK general election

The worry, however, is that accessing a subscription product for free for 3 months can decrease perceived value and, whatever the price will be after this trial period, it will seem comparatively expensive.

The solution therefore is to have a solid journey that extends across the 3 months, ensuring these subscribers are engaged and coming back to make use of premium features on a regular basis

Follow along

Live blogging during the event is a widely used strategy to engage readers on-site, keeping them on page.

WELT makes it easy to catch up with the game quickly with a live score and timer above the feed.

WELT Euro live blog

And BBC Sport uses their blog to cross promote other platforms, such as their radio coverage, encouraging audiences to engage in a variety of formats.

BBC Sport live blog

The Independent provides a ‘Key points' summary module pinned to the top of the live blog, allowing us to catch up on the essentials without having to scroll through the whole feed.

The Independent live blog

Community building

Events are an opportunity to bring readers together around a shared interest, creating a sense of belonging that can be linked back to your brand. At The Audiencers' Festival in London this June, Will Whittington shared how they're doing exactly this at The Telegraph.

For instance, via polls following key general election debates or political issues.

The Telegraph polls UK general election

Live Q&As with journalists are also incredibly valuable for connecting readers to editorial teams. At The Telegraph, this involves a journalist (below, David Frost) spending an hour in the comments section, replying to reader questions. This is promoted on-site as well as via socials on The Telegraph's account and that of the journalist.

The Telegraph Community building

> Read on: Community building with The Telegraph and The Times

With live blogging, mentioned earlier in this article, you can also encourage your readers to get involved. BBC Sports has a hashtag for socials and a or number to text, giving readers the chance to be featured.

BBC Sport live blog

And what better way to make you feel part of a that knowing you're part of 8,381 people viewing live (and this was taken hours before the match even started!).

BBC sport live Euro 2024

Interactive personalization

Allow audiences to personalize their experience and find the information that's relevant to them. For example, Le Figaro allowed audiences to “Get the 2024 election results for your area” during the French elections. You simply type in your city and email address and you'll be sent relevant updates.

This then also provides the publisher with key points and an addressable audience for future events and audience development strategies.

Le Figaro French elections