Attending virtual events has become a major part of Covid working, but how do you organise one yourself?
As we bunker down for six more months of Covid restrictions, including more homeworking, many of us will be spending a lot more time in virtual events. The technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated with participants being able, on some sites, to network with others and attend talks and stands almost as if they were physically there.
But what if you have to organise your own virtual event as part of your work or business? Where do you begin? Nicole Garrison has some advice.
People attend virtual events to achieve certain goals. For example, an attendee may register for a virtual job fair to learn about new job positions or an attendee might register for a virtual trade show to obtain information about a new product launch.
The goals of your event need to be correlated to the goals of your event attendees. Therefore, you want to be very specific about what you want your virtual event to achieve.
Ask yourself the following questions:
The answers to these questions are your event goals. These goals should help you stay on track throughout the event planning process and they’ll prevent you from wasting resources. In addition, you can share these goals with internal and external event stakeholders so everyone understands the purpose of your event and aligns their priorities accordingly.
It will be easier to explain to your event partners and virtual environment provider how you imagine your virtual experience if you have it written down. Use this document to get potential partners on board and to motivate event speakers to take part in your event. Suffering from writer’s block? You can team up with writing services to ensure your ideas are well-written and properly interpreted.
The success of your virtual event largely depends on the technology provider. Ideally, the technology provider isn’t just a platform where your event will take place, but your partner.
Going for the first provider that pops into your search results isn’t the best decision. Do thorough research until you find the perfect match. Start by looking for a credible company that has experience with the type of event you are hosting. Then take a look at the reviews. You want a technology provider that has a proven track record of satisfied event hosts.
If you are a rookie in the virtual events world, it’s time to gather some experience. Before you go head-on into hosting your event, you should do some research. Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, can be a good place to start.
Marie Fincher, a virtual event planner, shared what helped her organise her first virtual event. She says: “Social media platforms are perfect for connecting to like-minded people. Before I hosted my first virtual event, I joined Facebook and LinkedIn groups where I gathered tips and advice from other event hosts.”
Another thing you can do to gain experience is to take part in virtual events. You’ll be able to understand your audience’s needs better if you have been in the audience at least once.
Don’t underestimate the power of marketing. Promoting your event is almost as relevant as the event itself. Why? Because you won’t be able to have a successful virtual event if your target audience doesn’t know about it.
How you’ll market your event should be based on your target audience. If you are targeting people within your organisation or company, focus on internal means of communication, such as email or closed groups on social media.
Aiming for a wider audience means you’ll need to put more work into marketing. For example:
Remember: don’t leave promotions for the last minute. Inform your target audience in advance and send them occasional reminders.
It’s easier to retain the audience’s attention at face-to-face events. For the most part, the audience has nowhere else to turn their attention but to the speaker.
With virtual events, audience engagement will need to be a top priority because audience retention is more challenging. Nothing can stop them from walking away from their laptop at any time.
Some recommendations for increased engagement are:
And don’t underestimate the importance of break time. If you think you can keep your audience’s focus for hours, think again. Break sessions, give attendees time to re-energise and come back with renewed enthusiasm.
The more time and effort you invest in preparing for your virtual event, the less pressure you will feel when the day comes.
*Nicole D.Garrison is a content strategist, writer and contributor at Subjecto and a number of platforms for marketing specialists. She is a dedicated and experienced author who pays particular attention to quality research. At her free time, Nicole is a passionate runner and a curious beekeeper. Moreover, she runs her own blog LiveInspiredMagazine.