While live video has been around for decades whether on television or video conferencing tools, it was the introduction of tools like Periscope, Facebook Live, etc, that marked the beginning of virtual events.
Why? Because until then, video content went only in one direction, creator to consumer, but with the application of social media, there was now the possibility for 2 way conversation in real-time.
Live Video is an extremely powerful tool, perfect for building trust, connecting, and engaging. By default, it’s unscripted nature, combined with the scarcity of now, gives virtual events the power to stand on their own.
As virtual event platforms take the world by storm, there are a couple of things to consider when organising a virtual event.
Challenges of the Virtual Space
The fact that people can consume quality content online and participate as well as connect without travelling and showing up physically is phenomenal. It gives the event industry fascinating freedom.
But the free virtual space requires a whole different approach as well as a methodology and experience of hosting and producing virtual events that can be truly challenging.
A very representative and common challenge is the transitioning of live events into virtual ones. It doesn’t work because we can’t expect to consume virtual event content in the same way as we do with in-person events.
Accordingly, at first, we need to understand the context of events happening in the virtual space. Virtual experience needs its context, channel and dedicated content. Because participating at a football game from a stadium is different from watching it with friends at a pub or enjoying it from home in front of your TV.
Virtual events aren’t just events that get pushed online. You have to adapt it to the virtual format and audience.
The Journey of Virtual Participants
The role of the virtual audience is crucial. The focus must be on people in the online world as well and the virtual audience has to discover the virtual experience as their own dedicated experience.
For that, participants have to be taken on a journey online. There are a couple of things that influence that.
Content has key importance because that’s the source where participants can draw meaningful experience from sith there is no laser show and catering to stimulate the human senses…
Content has key importance because that’s the source where participants can draw meaningful experience from the stage if there’s no laser show and catering to stimulate the human senses…
That’s why it is so crucial to have sleek communication between the moderators or speakers and the participants to provide attendees with instructions on their journey.
The orators have to deliver the content so that they can tap into the obstacles virtual participants have and help them to come to certain realizations. That allows them to move forward.
And that’s exactly what virtual participants are looking for because they come to your online event with their internal questions, struggles, problems regarding your content… Virtual attendees are happy if they leave your event platform with an aha-effect at the end of the journey.
Content is the Core of the Virtual Event
What does that mean?
Avoid watering down the content of your event program to attract more people.
Diluting your event’s content may help you to reach participants in a wider range when organizing a physical event. On the contrary, virtual events need content that is narrowed down. Limit the event content for your target group.
Additionally, virtual speakers should have the ability and experience in front of the camera to add something to this content that leads participants through. Because they all support the main content that should be put together for the participant transformation.
The Virtual Event Agenda
When hosting a hybrid or virtual event: How to create the online agenda so that you captivate your entire audience and give them that kind of transformation?
Your agenda needs to be promising and engaging. This engagement should start before the day of the event. Start creating social media groups and network with people. By the day the event starts, people will be able to relate to you and feel more comfortable and welcome to attend.
Participants stay in general 2.5 hours at an online event at maximum. When you provide relevant content to them, they will stick to it and stay until the end. For that, you need to provide continuity and inform your registrants about your program in advance.
So, tease them about the talks, presentations and content in those groups. They want to be acknowledged and engaged.
A hybrid and virtual event needs its own moderators. You can also set up a small behind-the-scenes studio where you can delegate moderation and interviews. People love behind-the-scenes sessions. And this is exactly the most challenging part when planning and building the agenda because you always have to think of the possible technical hick-ups and lags between the studio and virtual space when going live.
However, small hacks that can be helpful when communicating and interacting with your audience. Like in the case of implementing a cloud questioning tool for the QA-session of your agenda, choose a platform that allows you to bring your virtual and your physical audiences to the same platform at the same time to avoid delays.
The Proper Event Platform
Regarding the event platform for hosting your event in general, there are dozens of great platforms for this purpose. At best, you keep one criterion in your mind when choosing an event hosting platform. That’s reliability.
Anything else depends on your needs, expectations and budget.
Are you a beginner? Then you can’t fail with ZOOM.
Do you prefer flexibility and low budget solutions? Then go to Hopin.
Are you looking for an easy-to-learn platform for free? Try YouTube Live.
In case you have some experience already and would like to try the newest trend of event platforms, register on Swapcard, an end-to-end event platform that allows you some post-event engagement.
Another trending option is the web-based studio format or tools for online events just like Streamyard, which could be interesting for you.
All these platforms are easy-to-handle and provided with straightforward functions so that for your very first event, you can make it easy for you and do the event yourself.
If it is already beyond your first time hosting a virtual event, you could look around and hire a professional event production partner.
If you still need experience on that for your event, look for professional support.
Guest Post by Juan Guerra