Creating a virtual event plan isn’t hard as it may seem. Where many people struggle is their focus is too heavily placed on rigidly converting their in-person events online. The formats are too different for this to happen smoothly. In these tips, you can use virtual tools and platforms to your advantage to have an engaged audience impressed by your event.
Who is your audience? Begin with target personas; their pastimes, jobs, age, gender etc.
Next, explore their online behaviours. What’s the best platform to reach your audience? What times are the most likely to be online? What’s the most effective way to get these people signed up for a mailing list? (Often, offering a freebie PDF or a discount is a great incentive to sign people up for your email updates). The more information you have, the more options you’ll have to reach out and connect with your audience.
Here are elements to consider in the planning phase. Getting these ticked off your list will mean your event is well prepared and has people in place to make attendees’ experience positive and entertaining.
- How will people register? (website, event sites such as Eventbrite)
- Who will be speaking? What are the highlights of the event?
- Which streaming platform will you use?
- What equipment do you need?
- Who is looking after sound, lighting and tech issues?
- How long is the event?
- What is the max capacity for the event? (participant level can be dependant on your virtual streaming account)
- Do you need a moderator? (These people can block any aggressive comments)
Virtual events need two things when it comes to pacing: flow and coffee breaks. Send a clear schedule of the event beforehand with timings so that participants know what to expect. It’s a lot easier for attendees to lose concentration or become bored, shortening the talks and ensuring that your audience isn’t waiting around for long periods.
A video conference is a live online event that allows for interaction, networking, speakers and attendee participation.
- Perfect for small events (2-50 attendees)
- Allows for speaker/ attendee interaction
- Screen sharing and recording available
- Chat availability
- Breakout rooms
- The presenter can see attendees (if their camera is turned on)
A webinar is a simple web-based interface that allows attendees to listen to a presenter via webcam and interact by asking questions.
- Medium-sized events (20-100 attendees)
- Perfect for presentation
- Screen sharing
- Less speaker/attendees interaction
- The presenter does not see attendees
More customisable with plenty of audience engagement
- 50-50,000+ attendees
- Suitable for panel discussions
- Breakout rooms
- Networking via chatbox
- Q&A section, polls
Use VR and AR to create an outstanding experience for attendees. This format is suited for small groups and perfect for showcasing detailed information about a product.
- 1:1 or very small groups
- Showcase new products
- Live demonstrations
- Immersive experience
Yes, it’s virtual. However, that doesn’t mean that the backdrop has to be an office. You can rent small venues to create a sense of ceremony around the event. Or perhaps spruce up a portion of your office or home, add plants, wall hangings or an events banner to add a splash of colour.
Virtual events come with the massive bonus that they reach a global audience. In reality, time differences determine the success of a truly global event. Figuring out the optimal time comes back to ‘Step 1: Audience Insights’. Once you have a concrete insight into your target demographics, you can settle on a time and date to suit the maximum number of participants. Perhaps, it’s worth doing a few different dates and times for the event if your audience is spread out over a number of time zones.
Online events usually have nothing to hide behind.
If a conference event has dull keynote speakers but great nibbles and you come home with a few great connections from networking between lectures, and it’s a good day all round.
However, virtual events demand quality as the talks are the real bread and butter of the experience. That means that resources, such as emailed PDF booklets and other supportive material, can help to give people a more immersive experience. Including polls and other interactive pieces keeps your virtual attendees involve. It’s also a good idea to shorten the length of talks and incorporate plenty of tea breaks so that the audience can digest the information.
Spreading the word for an online event relies mainly on marketing. Word of mouth hasn’t been the strongest since Covid unless it’s the virtual kind! A promo trailer, or even a video series, gives your event the best chance of gaining attention and excitement around your next event. ‘How to Create an Epic Promo Video for Your next Virtual Event’ is a guide filled with techniques and inside knowledge of video production to put together an attention-grabbing video for your event.
Email marketing is also a powerful method of securing ticket sales. Why? Because unlike social media – there is no algorithm. If you have 500 people on your mailing list, then as long as the email doesn’t bounce or get marked as spam, it will be delivered to 500 people. With social media, you can’t guarantee the same reach.
The wise words of Bono are apt here. Ask for help. Ask your sponsors and partners, and keynote speakers to spread the word. Send them marketing materials that they can post to their socials. In essence, make it easy for them to help you out. Getting proactive means you’re working smart while amplifying the event’s reach significantly.
Our Production Packages are suited to an event’s unique specifications. At Film Your Event, we are a small team with extensive experience in video production. We ensure that event runs smoothly. We do this by taking charge of the streaming, sound and visual aspect of the event. You will have a Film Your Event Producer to oversee your event, and more. Check out the different production packages here.