Part 2: Rethinking Live Events - To Virtual or Not To Virtual
Making the shift to virtual, or hybrid, events can be a complicated process, but every event company and planner must be prepared to do so as we move into the future. So, how do we turn an in-person, three-day symposium into an engaging, relevant, online experience?
It’s unrealistic to plan a virtual conference where attendees are expected to sit in front of a laptop for 10 hours. Planners and clients alike understand this. Earning the attention of a virtual audience. Will your content win against the many distractions in their office or home? By creating value for your audience your event will be their primary focus and there are several ways to accomplish that.
This is perhaps the most obvious value people get out of events. It makes an event more memorable. There are so many ways to make people feel good. Every positive moment helps to reinforce the value of the event.
If you know your attendees are hungry for knowledge, make sure the structure of the event is conducive to learning. Are people wanting to deep-dive on certain topics or get an introductory education on a wide variety of subjects? Consider the Netflix series “Tiger King” as an example of educational value.
Wait! What? Stay with us. “Tiger King” is a true-crime documentary. While we were engrossed in the chaos of the show, Netflix did a brilliant job of exposing the big-cat industry and educating the world. Some 3.4 million viewers are now mortified on so many levels.
Attendees rarely seek to receive direct financial value from an event. However, sponsorship is the primary motivator. Be sure to identify what the attendees need to take away from the event-- new contacts, best practices, updated industry news. Once you identify the key takeaway, make it as portable as possible. If you can send your attendees home with a theoretical pot of gold, everyone wins.
Tug at those heartstrings. This is so important when developing a fundraising event. A speaker or video montage that connects with the audience on an emotional level is one of the best ways to remind everyone why they are there to support the cause. No one leaves an event more motivated than someone who has an emotional or spiritual experience.
Adding a camera and an internet connection does not pivot our events to the virtual realm. Our traditional event format just does not translate well to the online world. Numerous differences come with a change in medium.
We are all guilty of binge-watching something we love, right? If it is possible for someone to watch the entire “Mandalorian” series in a weekend, how do we create more intentional content, so attendees are engaged in our virtual events? These questions are important to ask to reframe how we define an event and design with intent. The fact is people will choose the value proposition that is better for their time.
Now more than ever, we are ready to bring a new focus to value. It is not enough to simply want the event to be successful… we need to help each client define their purpose, make deliberate, intentional choices in constructing content around that purpose, and add value every step of the way.
We want our events to be bingeworthy.