Thinking about hosting a virtual event, but not sure where to start? While your live events have been put on hold for the foreseeable future, you still have lofty goals that your team and company need to hit right now, this quarter.
Taking your events into the digital world seems like a no-brainer, but when it comes to actually making it happen, virtual events can be daunting.
How much will it cost? How will speakers manage from their homes? Will anyone show up, especially with all of the online events that are being offered right now, competing for their time?
You likely already have a webinar strategy, but how do you elevate the digital experience to create something truly engaging:
… where attendees can interact with speakers, sponsors and each other
… where the entire experience feels cohesively branded end-to-end
… where the content really hits the mark, delivering the message you need to share and that your prospects and customers need to hear, right now.
These are the types of topics we will be tackling in a new series on our blog called Mastering Virtual Events to help give you planners the tools you need to pull off virtual events successfully and smash your goals.
For now, here are the 4 steps to hosting a successful virtual event:
Important Note: Make sure to do these steps in order. Many people jump to the first bullet under Step 2, selecting your technology partner. But, before you do that we encourage you to work through Step 1 in full so that you have a clear set of requirements – it will make selecting a technology platform much easier and ensure that you end up with the right fit.
Each step has sub-steps (c’mon, you didn’t think it would be that easy!), but don’t worry, we kept it super simple by asking you a question or two that will help you check each part off the list.
Step 1: Develop your event concept.
- Define your goals and objectives. What action are you hoping attendees will take after attending your virtual event, and how will you measure the event after it wraps?
- Create your project timeline. What needs to get done by when, and who is responsible? Stay tuned as we’ll be releasing a template in the coming weeks to make this even easier for you!
- Give your event it’s own look and feel. How will this event be branded? What creative assets will you need?
- Define your audience and their ideal user experience. Who is attending, what are they hoping to get out of attending, and what is their preferred content format and delivery method? Don’t be afraid to survey them!
- Create a content strategy. What topics is your audience most interested in, and what is the best format to deliver that content? Ex. Does it need to be interactive? Is a panel the best?
- Create an engagement strategy. What tools make sense to keep your audience engaged? Ex. Polling, Q&A, Chat, Resources, Entertainment, Gamification. And don’t forget that offline engagement is possible, too – think swag send or meal vouchers.
- Build a budget and revenue model. What can you spend on event technology, outsourced services, speaker fees, and any extras like swag? And what revenue do you need to bring in from attendees and sponsors, if any?
Step 2: Pre-plan all the details.
- Source and select your technology partner. After researching and attending demos, which platform will be the best fit for your event?
- Open registration, and market your event. What methods will you be using to promote your event?
- Pre-produce all the details. What support will speakers, sponsors, designers, and audio-visual need in order for the event to look great and go off flawlessly? Lots of sub-sub-steps are going to be included here in forthcoming blog posts. 😉
Step 3: Produce the live event.
- And we’re live! Who is going to be responsible for implementing the run of show, supporting speakers, answering attendees’ questions, and troubleshooting technical issues on the day of the event? Where will everyone be, how will they communicate, and what resources will they need?
Step 4: Measure your results.
- Measure your results. How did your event measure against the metrics you set in Step 1? What would you do differently next time?
As I mentioned earlier, this is the first post in a series of posts where we’ll be covering virtual event how-to’s and best practices.
Spoiler alert: we’ll be taking a deeper dive into each sub-step above as its own post in this series.
So stay tuned for the deep-dives, and let us know if there is anything we can help you with in the meantime.