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In this unprecedented moment we are finding solutions that do more than just work, they shine. Here are some tips and insights to serve as a spring board that can get us planning the perfect virtual event for your organization.
What makes a successful digital event? (Hint: Content & Engagement)
Most buyers have adopted and adapted. Meaning, let’s move beyond discussing the pros and cons of digital events and focus again on programming. The tech options are out there for every event scenario, and quite frankly, even at the highest production value, virtual events are less expensive than a multi-day conference. So the tech is not the problem (and HWA has the resources to help guide here). Let’s return to the questions we asked ourselves before: What themes do I want to champion? What speaker experts will become my solutions-oriented co-champions? How can my audience engage with my brand? In general: keep sessions shorter; provide ways for your audience to engage with the content (polls, surveys, live chats, unmute the audience from time-to-time, VOD following the event); build in breaks between the programming (some organizations have made these “wellness” breaks with a speaker even leading a meditation or short standing exercise); and consider any merchandising, book sales or swag you want to sell virtually. And don’t forget the entertainment.
What kind of production quality and program format can you expect?
There is a wide range of production value options and relative costs. Pre-recorded customized video speeches are very effective and can be edited to synthesize the key concepts into a 20 minute digital attention span. These can be pre-recorded in a production studio with limited content, or even in a speaker’s home or office if the hosting organization can provide the technology. They are often of higher quality and include graphics, slides, and music. Depending on your audience size you may want a platform like Zoom (best for smaller groups) or a company like On24 (best for larger groups, virtually unlimited audience size and more production and supplemental content options). You can still put to good use the same programming formats you used before: live remarks, moderated Q&A, meet & greets, virtual book signings, round table discussions, etc. You can still have CEO engagement, team breakouts and brainstorming, workshops and panels. All of it is possible- and we can help you find the right technical tool.
How do you get started picking the right tool?
The tool you pick to provide your virtual event depends on a few key factors. To make the right choice, you’ll need to answer these questions:
Helpful YouTube video: Best Webinar Software: Massive Roundup Review!
What is production, do you have examples, and how much does it cost?
The production choices are endless – from a Zoom event to something that feels like a live TV show. Everything is a la carte and so prices will vary depending on what you order.
Go for authenticity
Don’t hesitate to host an event on Zoom, without too many bells and whistles. Especially for small groups, these events feel more intimate and authentic and attendees over say they feel more connected to the speaker after the event.
The perks of pre-recorded video
Pre-recorded customized video speeches are very effective and can be edited to synthesize the key concepts into a 20 minute digital attention span. These can be pre-recorded in a production studio with limited content, or even in a speaker’s home or office if the hosting organization can provide the technology. They are often of higher quality and include graphics, slides, and music.
Mix it up and add layers
You may want to employ a variety of production strategies for your event: mix and match pre-recorded video with live Q&A; introduce expert content in a pre-recorded video then facilitate a live group discussion; have a live event and splice in pre-recorded video from your CEO.
Meet the audience where they are
Keep sessions short and don’t forget the wellness breaks between sessions.
Leave your virtual audience with something physically tangible, such as a book, t-shirt or sponsorship swag bag
Incorporate something tangible as a keepsake for your virtual audience. As a way to stay connected to you, your sponsors or your event content, you may consider sending a swag bag to your virtual attendees, or allowing them to purchase directly from your event portal. One highly effective programming idea is follow up a virtual speech with a queued book signing. Invited audience members sign into a digital room and are queued up and advanced just as in a live book signing. During one-on-one time with the speaker, a book or book plate is signed in-the-moment with the personalized inscription, then mailed to each audience member as a keepsake. HWA can help you procure the books and we have experience for how to run the virtual book signing.