Opinion

Top tips for virtual event planning

It is no secret that in the current lockdown environment, event planners and marketers need to be creative when it comes to achieving their marketing and event objectives. For many, this means taking their events online. But how do you keep an online audience engaged, and how do you adapt the planning process to create a virtual event?

Our team of event professionals, creatives and digital experts have been creating engaging event content for many years, so we asked them to share their top tips around some of the key considerations when planning a virtual event…

1. Consider your audience. Just as you would when planning any event, it is crucial that the audience remain at the heart of everything you do. Gather data and insights on your audience demographics and find out how they like to digest content. This will be critical when it comes to planning the next steps…

2. Content is king. By understanding how your audience likes to consume content, you can then start to plan how the content you wish to deliver at the event can be delivered in a way that is fresh and engaging to them. An event agency will be able to elevate this content and make it stand out and resonate with the audience.

Virtual events will be taking place in the home, and this brings with it a host of distractions, from children through to social media. Be aware of mental fatigue. For a virtual event, delivering 8 hours of live streaming is potentially not going to be a great user experience. Consider the different messages you want to get across, and how these can be delivered in a way that is digestible and appealing to the audience.

3. Group interaction. For the majority of events, providing delegates and guests the opportunity to network and interact with others is crucial. Virtual events should be no different, and there are so many ways that this can be achieved, from gamification through to live Q&A sessions. Before assessing your options, consider what needs to be live and what can be pre-recorded and accessed on-demand.

4. Plan your event programme around the delegate. When it comes to planning the event programme consider your delegates and their journey pre, during and post event. Have a clear understanding of what the delegate wants to get from the content and ensure that it is included. Be careful not to deliver a programme that is too full and keep sessions to no longer than 2 hours at a time to avoid mental fatigue. Again, consider what content can be recorded and accessed on-demand, versus what needs to be live.

5. Consider your platform. There is a huge amount of choice when it comes to choosing a platform on which to host your virtual event. With so many suppliers out there competing for a share of the market, we highly recommend that you talk to your events agency to help you find an option which will be most suitable for you and your event format, minus the sales pitch . They will be able to impartially tell you the pros and cons of each platform, thus helping you to identify which one will be best for your event. Don’t forget to allow plenty of time to test your platform and consider hosting a dummy event with colleagues beforehand to identify and address any potential issues that could arise.

6. It’s not so different. In many ways, the way you approach a virtual event should not differ too much to how you approach any other event. Yes, there are some key differences to consider as listed above, but the key principles still remain in that you should still look to your strategic goals and objectives and consider how to best connect with your target audience, creating those ‘magic moments’ that they won’t forget in a hurry.

If you would like to find out more about how to best approach virtual events, speak to our team who will be happy to help with a no obligation chat.