4 Things to Consider Before Taking Your Event Virtual

Jun 2, 2020

The event industry has undoubtedly been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to feel the impact for some time.

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The event industry has undoubtedly been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to feel the impact for some time.

Many events, festivals, and conferences have been canceled entirely, while some have been postponed with an optimistic new target date.

Event organizers are now taking a different route and reimagining their live event as a virtual event.

Shifting to a virtual event makes sense for a lot of organizations. But it’s by no means a seamless transition. There are still plenty of factors that need to be considered. Just like a live event, plenty of factors need to be considered while constructing a solid game plan to get the most out of your virtual event.

Here are the top 4 things to consider before taking your event virtual.

How much lead time do you have to plan your virtual event?

You’ll want to make sure you have enough lead time to convert your event to a virtual environment. You need adequate time for planning, promotions, and ironing out the technical execution.

First, you’ll want to discuss a virtual scenario with your key speakers and presenters. Presumably, you’ll still want them to participate in your event, so you’ll need to make sure they’re on board. If they’re unable to commit to your new event structure for some reason, then you’ll need time to lock in new presenters or guests.

You’ll want to make sure you have enough time to promote your event. If your event date hasn’t changed – just the structure – you’ll still need to keep your event attendees informed. Start by explaining why you’re going virtual. Then, make sure they know when and where they can participate in your virtual event.

The beauty of virtual events is there are no geographic restrictions. Anyone with an internet connection can watch your program, assuming you’d like them to. Transitioning to a virtual event means you have access to a much larger audience. But you’ll need time to map out a marketing and promotions plan to maximize your viewership.

Finally, you’ll need time to decide on the format for your virtual event.  You’ll need time to map out the technical requirements, hosts/speakers, audience engagement, and define your success metrics.

What goals and objectives are the most important?

It’s important to prioritize your goals and objectives before taking your event virtual. A digital event may not be for you, depending on what you’re looking to accomplish.

If you’re planning a product launch event in which your top objective is to get your product in the hands of potential consumers, a virtual workflow may not be sufficient. But showcasing something like software or a mobile app is still possible. Even a fashion show can be taken online.

Before making the transition, you must weigh your overall goals and objectives, and make sure they can be accomplished through a virtual event.

What platform will reach your intended audience?

If you’re making the jump to digital, it’s essential to consider your distribution platform.

How will your target audience view and consume your content? The content itself will mainly drive this. Do you plan to open it to the public? Or is it for a specific audience?

If you need specific security measures, like unique logins for each viewer or maybe geo-restrictions, then you’ll need to find a distribution platform that can support those functions.

If your event is free and open to the public, hosting via YouTube, Facebook, or Zoom may suffice.

When choosing a distribution platform, it helps to pay attention to the user experience. Are there any tools that you’d like your audience to have access to (like a chat function)? Do you want users to be able to contribute to the event in some manner?

Finding a distribution platform that will reach your intended audience is key to your virtual event’s success.

Do you have a communication plan for your virtual event?

Communication is crucial when taking your event digital.

It’s important to build a smart communication strategy. You’ll need time to explain to your audience why you’re choosing to go virtual and explain to them what they can expect from your digital event.

If your previously scheduled live event was paid, then you’ll need to come up with a plan and pricing model for your new virtual experience.

Once you’ve mapped out your communication plan, you’ll want to start promoting your event. Your target audience needs to know when it is and how they can watch and participate. Be clear and send several reminders as the event day draws near.

If you’re looking to take your event digital, our event management team is here to help. Contact us at any time to discuss.

No Comments
  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2018-03-07 21:55:41

    We're glad you found this to be useful, Margaux. Let us know if there's anything we can help with.

  • Margaux Ford Reply
    2018-03-07 05:57:06

    I appreciate the tips on hiring a production staffing company to have more time to focus on the creative aspects of the project. Hiring a production crew is a tedious task, and can take up much of your time. We're currently working on a huge production, and I'll share this article with my boss so he'll consider on delegating the recruitment to a staffing company. I like that you mentioned that staffing company can ensure to have the right team onboard for the project. Thanks!

  • Robert McWilliams Reply
    2017-10-31 19:05:18

    Todd:I have an ad agency in addition to our production company. We put one of our clients on OTT two months ago up in Nevada. Seems to be working!Thanks again for the work earlier this month.Rob

  • Nicole Rohde Reply
    2017-05-27 22:28:45

    Hey Andrew, Any word as to whether or not the Jokers will be back for Comic Con this year? Please let me know. Thanks!!!

  • Aaron Estabrook Reply
    2017-02-23 16:26:57

    I'll be tuning in for sure!

  • David Patton Reply
    2015-01-16 13:16:02

    Interesting blog post Andrew. For those who are nearly ready to cut the cord, but still want access to key channels such as ESPN, I'd recommend checking out Dish Network's new service, Sling TV. It provides access to a handful of channels for $20/month.https://gigaom.com/2015/01/15/sling-tv-details-price-devices-networks-resolution-bandwidth/

  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2015-01-13 14:44:19

    Go for it! I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive about pulling the plug at first, but honestly, the transition away from DirecTV has been seamless. The only missing link is live sports, but there are a few work arounds depending on what sports you watch. Good luck!

  • Gregory Hart Reply
    2015-01-13 06:35:00

    While I am part of the 55 year old demographic that still has TV boxes and does TV viewing, I do my viewing using DVRs and networked PCs playing video files from an in-home server. I too have noticed that I view a handful of shows on a regular basis and have found various other sources for these shows. And now it has gotten to the point to where I am seriously considering ending my very long relationship with DirecTV and going streaming. Working in the TV industry also helped to open eyes to this as well. This transition from "old" TV is coming and the networks (Les Moonves, I am looking at you!) had better plan for it.

  • Gary Reply
    2013-08-08 09:44:39

    You've left out a HUGE part of this story by not mentioning Howard Stern's effect on the Sharknado buzz! #siris-ly

  • Marybeth Harrison Reply
    2013-08-07 14:46:29

    I can almost hear the theme song from Jaws as I read your post!