If you had fewer in-person events over the last year and a half, you’ve probably been working overtime to maintain prospect and customer relationships. But in-person events are not the only source of communicating anymore. With the world in such an unpredictable place right now, adversity has brought on new opportunities.
Hosting your own virtual event is an exciting new way to directly engage your audience and promote thought leadership within your industry. If you aren’t sure of the benefits of hosting virtual events, check out our recent blog on why you should consider virtual events in 2021.
But if you’re here to learn about creating and hosting a successful virtual event, then let’s jump right in!
What To Think About Before Getting Started
1. Pick a topic
Just like any successful event, your virtual one will need a central topic or theme. Start with choosing what your event will be about. Are you promoting a new product-line, hosting interviews with experts in your field, or just trying to create buzz within the industry? Whichever the case, choosing your topic is the launchpad for creating any virtual event.
2. Assemble your invite list
Next, consider who your target audience will be. Before you begin getting into the nuts and bolts of the creation process, you should be thinking about who your event is for. Understanding your audience will guide the content you present and help tailor it for the benefit of your event attendees. Ask yourself questions like:
- Is this event for prospects, current customers, or both?
- Is this a networking event for a specific audience?
- Is this a signature industry event for as many viewers as possible?
Selecting an overall goal for your virtual event and aligning it with your topic will help to determine who should be attending. Once you understand your audience, then you can better focus your content and promotions.
3. Decide on live or pre-recorded
This decision makes a huge difference logistically when it comes to your technical setup. Producing a live virtual event will require a lot of planning and staging along with precise timing and impeccable communication between your teams. Pre-recording your program and then broadcasting it at a planned time gives you more flexibility, allowing you to film and edit as you please for each section of your event.
4. Decide on production and graphics
The core of virtual events is video broadcasting. Grabbing and holding your audience’s attention is the goal, and the best way to do that is to provide a flawless experience for your attendees. The very nature of virtual events demands that your production engages and excites the viewer, so that means ensuring you deliver on that promise on a technical level. Make sure to research production solutions in order to find the one that best fits your needs and the goal of your event. Finding the right partner is key to your virtual event’s success.
5. Construct event program and agenda
Now that you have a topic, target audience, and video production plan, it’s time to get creative. This is where you start piecing together how the event will look in its entirety. Think about how you want the event to flow, from how many presenters, to which subjects to cover, and how to transition between it all. There can be interviews, keynote speakers, Q&A’s, out-of-the-box segments; whatever you’d like! Just make sure to keep it relevant and interesting.
Tips for Success
Once you walk through these initial steps, here are a few other ideas to enhance the experience for your audience:
- Develop a unique brand identity for your event to create an immersive experience.
- Tailor the entire package to your attendees as much as possible. You can do this by creating a unique hosting page for the video stream, sending them themed emails, or mailing them a postcard or gift box.
- Provide opportunities for sponsorships to gain buy-in across your industry and increase your budget. This helps to produce the best event possible while giving you access to a wider audience through these new connections.
- Invest in the right technical setup and production team. Ensuring your event goes off without a hitch is worth every penny.
- Be sure to promote your event before, during, and after. Marketing for virtual events is key to hitting your target registration numbers. As you’re constructing the event, start planning the communications that go along with pre and post event promotion.
Creating a virtual event doesn’t have to be an intimidating task. If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to creating an immersive and unforgettable virtual event!
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