Virtual events have quickly become the standard, therefore planning them has become a major component of any event planner’s job. Virtual events may be quite successful for a variety of reasons: not only can you host them from anywhere on Earth, but they may also save money, increase interaction with your audience and potential customers, produce leads, grow your brand, and help you establish yourself or your clients as industry leaders.
This article will go over the fundamentals of virtual events, their advantages versus in-person events, how to plan a virtual event, and how to host a successful virtual event.
Follow these hosting event suggestions and techniques to help you stage an incredible virtual gathering from strategy, planning, and marketing to hosting and presenting.
What is a virtual event?
A virtual event is an event that takes place over the internet. Webinars, demonstrations, masterclasses, Q&As, panels, and interviews with industry leaders are all examples of virtual events. On a larger scale, virtual trade shows, conferences, and company-wide meetings may be included.
Online events frequently provide the audience direct access to the speakers. This increases attendee confidence and enhances your reputation as a thought leader in your industry. Because participants aren’t required to be in the same physical location, virtual events can also help you expand your presence. As a result, putting up a virtual event is an excellent chance to show your brand to a worldwide audience.
Virtual Event Planning
When organizing an online gathering, there are a few new factors to think about. Choose the proper internet platform for hosting your event and make sure you have all of the necessary technology. An online event, like any other type of gathering, entails certain aspects that must be considered. Many of the same ideas discussed when planning an in-person event apply to online events as well. We’ve compiled a list of best practices for virtual events, from planning through promotion and hosting through delivery.
Understanding the audience
When deciding on a topic, keep in mind that content is king. Your attendees are there to learn something, so make sure you focus on what you think they’ll find most appealing. Avoid going broad or vague; instead, focus on one particular subject area.
Finding a speaker
If you’re organizing a virtual event with speakers, make sure they have the necessary expertise to discuss the issue you’ve chosen. On the subject, your speakers should have a great deal of authority and trustworthiness.
Do your homework on potential speakers to see how they perform in a public speaking scenario. As a result, you may guarantee their skills as a presenter. Not all public speakers have prior virtual event experience or are effective, so request videos of the speaker at a past virtual gathering. Take note of how at ease and well-equipped the possible speaker appears during pre-event virtual meetings, and if they appear to be a good fit for your event.
Collaboration with a team of event planners
Working as part of a group may make virtual event preparation go much more smoothly. As a virtual event planner, there are so many moving components and methods to consider that it’s worth devoting time to study and asking your colleagues what has and hasn’t worked for them. Make an opportunity to join virtual activities and take relevant notes that you may refer to later when it’s your turn. Make a note of these tips in your event preparation checklist.
Find out who on your team is the most tech-savvy and ask for their help. They can assist you in selecting a platform that has the appropriate settings and functionality for your needs. This individual can also oversee participant interactions the day of the event and resolve any technical issues. If you do not have any access to a team, choosing the right platform is crucial to avoiding problems on the big day. If giving presentations isn’t your strong suit, have a moderator attend at the online event to keep things on track.
Decide on a format
Once you’ve decided on a topic, you’ll need to decide on a virtual format. Try out the choices you’re interested in — or a combination of them — till you discover what works best for your audience and is the simplest to implement.
Here are a few examples of popular formats:
One presenter: A single presenter gives their knowledge or advice.
Dual presenters: From two separate views, two presenters can assist explain and stimulate discussion.
- Panel: Organize a discussion with a group of specialists on a given issue.
Q&A: For optimal engagement, have an expert — or a panel of experts — respond to your audience’s queries via social media or chat.
Ask Me Anything session: to allow your audience to learn more about you and your brand.
Interview: Invite a well-known influencer to talk as a special guest to boost attendance and authority.
Product demonstration: Use a product demonstration or instructional to promote a product and show off what you’re selling.
Selecting the appropriate platform.
Examine the benefits and drawbacks of each platform when deciding which to utilize for your event. Take into account your budget, the platform’s features (such as recording and surveying capabilities), and the maximum number of attendees. Zoom, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, Google Hangouts, ON24, Webex, and Test Your Tech are some of the platforms available. Eventbrite’s event management software is simple to integrate with a variety of popular streaming or video platforms, and it may help you keep organized throughout the event preparation process. Set up a test once you’ve decided on a platform. During your event, try out every element you intend to employ and make a recording. Get a second opinion on your sound system, video quality, backdrop, or anything else that will help your event run smoothly.
Choosing a time and date
Consider the common day-to-day activities of your target audience while selecting a time and date. A hectic Monday morning is probably not an option if you’re aiming to appeal to the 9-to-5 crowd. But when employees are looking for a mental vacation from their responsibilities later in the week? Much better.
Keep in mind the different time zones as well. Because one of the biggest benefits of online events is their global reach, you’ll want to include it into your start time if your event has interstate or international appeal.
Think about how you can make money from your online event.
Even if in-person events are no longer an option, online events are still valuable. See where you can generate money, choose contribution tickets, or charge a little fee for a better experience if it fits your online approach. Determine how much value you’re delivering to your audiences and how much they’d be ready to pay when pricing online events.
If you decide to do so, you’ll need to find a ticket company or payment processor to keep track of who has paid so you can properly gate your event. Even if it’s free, you might want to consider accepting donations or requiring guests to register so you can connect with them and keep track of registrations.
Make your event known
You might want to consider establishing a landing page depending on the type of event you’re planning and who you’re marketing to. Make sure to add juicy details on what they’ll learn on your landing page to get your audience enthusiastic about your event. You could use this to encourage your participants to register and to deliver the who, what, where, and when of your event in an easy-to-share digital format.
Prepare a blog post in advance to promote your event. Introduce your event’s inspiration, why it’s timely and important to your audience, and what they’ll learn. Then, to generate interest and drive visitors to your registration page, publish your blog post on social media. Ensure to use hashtags, or create your own branded hashtag, so that attendees may ask questions or share their own content online throughout your event. This boosts audience engagement and broadens the reach of your brand.
To market your event to your subscribers, use an email list. Send guests who have already registered an email reminder, or send them a message of thanks and then a reminder one or two days before the event, as well as an hour before it begins. After your event, send an email to your attendees asking for comments so you may enhance your future online event.
Make a script and effective presentations.
A strong script may make or break your event. Treat your script like a guide that will keep you on track. You don’t need to memorize every word you’ll say, but at the very least have a set of bullet points to refer to. Make an effort to sound natural while speaking it aloud.
It’s tempting to stuff as much information as possible into each slide when creating a presentation. Don’t make this mistake. To keep your audience interested, use as few words as possible on each slide, even in bullet format. This will help you avoid the urge to simply read the text on each slide while presenting it. Instead of reading through the entire document at once, including a summary email in your outreach strategy.
Perform a practice run
Prepare a dry run before the big day to make sure everything is in place. Ensure that all of your equipment is in working order, that the slides are organized, and that the speakers are prepared so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises on the big day. This is also an excellent moment to look for background noise when planning your event. Check out your location to see if there are any potential distractions. Turn off notifications for applications running on your computer and ensure that kids and animals can’t get in while you’re hosting.
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