What is a Virtual Event?
Virtual Events are operated and produced completely remotely, allowing all participants to contribute from their own location.
Who is your audience?
One of the first things you need to consider when planning a Virtual Event is ‘who is your audience’. This will influence most decisions you make leading up to, and after, your Virtual Event. Think about who normally attends your events, or who you currently sell your products or services to. You want your audience to be specific and targeted for all involved to be engaged.
What is the purpose of the event?
There is an infinite number of reasons why you would host an event, and this is similarly the case for Virtual Events. Clearly defining your events purpose will allow you to form aims and objectives that you can later measure. The purpose of all events is ultimately to make money in the short or long term, but other factors such as awareness or facilitating knowledge transfer can also be important.
What format will your event take?
When you are hosting a Live Event, there is always a variety of presentations, panel discussions, activities, and networking opportunities throughout the day. A Virtual Event is much the same, but as an organiser you need to choose the right format for your audience to see and experience as much as possible. Some Virtual Events feature a single stream throughout the day, whereas others have multiple sessions that coincide with one another to give options to choose from. If you have too much content to cram into a single day, spreading the event over 2 or 3 shorter days may help to keep engagement.
Will you deliver the event in-house or choose a production company?
If you already have a production team in-house that can provide a robust live streaming solution, then great. The chances are that most companies need support from a production company to deliver live streaming content straight to the platform as well as all the pre- and post-production involved. Virtual Events can be a great way to produce content for your website and social media.
When will your event be?
Picking the right date and time can seriously affect attendance at a Virtual Event. Too long and attendees will inevitably drop off throughout the day, too short and you run the risk of missing out on valuable networking opportunities and attendee interaction. With most people back working a normal week (albeit from home) keeping your Virtual Event within the parameters of regular working hours is best. It is important to note that some Virtual Event platforms allow for on-demand content that can be available for those in different time zones as well.
How will people find out about your event?
Marketing your Virtual Event can be tricky, but Virtual Events offer the potential to reach a far greater audience. With Virtual Events, attendees are not restricted to travelling to a venue, they can access the content anywhere and from any device. This means attendees no longer need expensive travel costs and hotels, which attracts a further afield audience. Remember to invite everyone who attended the previous year, but also think about reaching out to those you may have previously not considered.
How will you ensure the events runs smoothly?
Planning is the key to success with Virtual Events. All the value comes from a comprehensive pre-production solution. Just like any Live Event, Virtual Events take time to plan and execute with the lowest degree of risk involved. Apart from planning, having a clear agenda for your Virtual Event can help undoubtedly. If attendees know when to expect every element of the event, how to access the content, how to log in, and how to network, this will all add to the general satisfaction of the attendees.
How will you follow up with your audience after?
Keeping your audience engaged after the event is an important practice to ensure they remain advocates of your event, but to also improve the event experience next time round. One way this can be done is sending out a document summarising the event with key information, such as how many visitors attended and from how many different companies. Making sure your content is available afterwards in either bite size chunks or as a complete clip can generate more interest to future events and allows those unable to attend certain talks to experience the complete event.
How will you measure success?
Every event is run with the intention of being successful. How you measure that success is up to you. Normally there is some form of monetary incentive, such as sign up costs or the selling of a product. For brand awareness you may look at how many attendees you managed to secure to your event, or even look at how many viewers you had per session.
Get ready for the next one…
After you have successfully completed your first Virtual Event, it is time to start planning and getting ready for the next one. Make sure you spend time figuring out what worked well and what was not a hit with your audience.
If you require a production company for your event or would like any information regarding virtual events and the options available to you, contact Giggabox today.