Having instant access to entertainment and information in this day in age is more of an expectation than a want. When it comes to online video, it’s easy to get bored. Virtual events are no exception. What now seems like “back in the day,” (around 2010!) the concept of virtual events was new and disruptive. But now, ten years and one pandemic later, we have been thrust into a world of change we may not have been prepared for. With an increase in internet accessibility and advancements in technology, hosting engaging online virtual events is not far-fetched at all, it is a part of a new normal.
As a result, so many are welcomed to the virtual event predicament – if you decide to host a virtual event, how do you make it fun and engaging? Hosts and organizers have to put in the extra effort to garner attention towards their virtual events. It’s not just a matter of good content, but execution as well. Pre-event, post-event, and during event activities are required to engage the attendees, keep them entertained, and spawn an unforgettable, yet positive experience.
As you begin to muster a headache from worry, anticipation, and hopeful creativity, try not to fret but read on to find out how you can make your next virtual event a success!
- Send a memorable gift reminder
We can all agree, virtual events are the types of events that are easy to attend. Most of the time all you need is a device with a decent internet connection. On the flip side though, considering the ease at which one can attend, there is still most definitely a lack of energy when an attendee is anticipating spending time with a virtual event. You have to take time out of your day to once again, often after work, and sit in front of a computer to hopefully be entertained, right? So, as a result, there are higher chances of people not showing up. You have to think outside of the box when it comes to invites and event reminders. Be different. Stand out. Consider sending out a physical goodie bag to help prospective attendees prepare for and get excited about your upcoming event. This will not only make you stand out, but it will also serve as a reminder, and give you some legitimacy. Friends, we all need that!
2. Collaborate with the best
There is a reason why expensive events with well-known guests sell out in minutes. Collaborating with industry experts can bring immediate interest. Do your due diligence. Search for experts who match your message and have a solid following. Let’s be real, if you can get someone with a few thousand followers or more, you are starting off with a pre-populated guest list that will give your event the clout it needs from the start. Fingers crossed!
3. Choose the right platform
Selecting an ideal platform can be a project in itself. With so many options out there, it is imperative that you make it as easy as possible, while also saving on your bottom line. No need to spend top dollar for a platform that has a number of features no one is going to use. Find a platform that is appropriate for your message, simple for your audience, and does the trick.
4. Invest time, energy, and sometimes money for high production value
Investing in quality features like a fast internet connection, backups, and impressive video content might be what you need to produce a high-value virtual event. Your video content will play an integral role in capturing the attention of your audience, not to mention utilizing the features of your chosen platform. Get to chatting, use breakout rooms or simply spotlight appropriate parties at the right time. Just know, when events are crisp and lack any difficulties, technical or otherwise, it keeps the flow of your virtual event program going.
5. Practice makes perfect
This is a tireless and redundant tip that somehow nobody implements. Do it! Get your tech team together, with your speakers and anyone else involved for more than just one run-through so everyone is able to feel comfortable and most importantly, confident on event day.
6. Proper distribution of work and play
Work hard, play hard. We all know this saying by now. Ensure this is a part of your virtual event theme. Engaging activities like Q/A rounds, break-out rooms, or mini-sessions for networking are always a good idea to get the participants to, well…. participate! But, things can quickly go awry if that is all you make your participants do. Proper distribution of content sharing and engaging activities can make all the difference. Striking a balance between not overwhelming the participant with too much content or overwhelming them with too many activities is important. Use engaging activities to help the participants relax and observe the content being introduced.
7. Don’t be too rigid
People want to have a good time. Remember there are far too many other streaming services and real-life activities individuals could be doing during their downtime. It is your job to make sure attendees remain interested in what you are offering. Circling back on the previous tip about finding a balance, it’s vital to remember not to be too strict with the flow and timelines during a virtual event. For participants to engage they need to feel free in some capacity. Make sure to send over the program to attendees prior to the event so they know what to expect and can pace themselves.
8. Give attendees a break!
It is incredibly obvious nowadays that staring at a screen during an online event can be strenuous and exhausting. Don’t be that virtual event organizer – please! Keep session intervals short and sweet, allowing people to stay focused and recharged. Why not offer an intermission as if you were at a live theater event!
9. Bring the energy
Choosing the right host and speaker can quickly elevate a virtual event. The speaker needs to hold the attention of the attendees for an extended period and this means bringing in the energy, variation, and good content to keep people engaged. No need to have someone too scripted. Scripts are extremely helpful when following a schedule, but no one wants to hear a robot-like speaker during an entire event. Ponder that!
10. Keep the people guessing
Short segments with music, visual aids, and breakout activities can help in complementing your hosts’ presentation skills and amp up the audience. This is what you want! The key is to think about what interests you, and keeps you engaged. While planning, think of this and don’t be too repetitive. Keep the audience surprised so they too can get excited and be encouraged to share their experience post-event!
11. Always follow-up!
There is always room for improvement. Sending a follow-up email to thank participants and attendees, while also asking them for feedback will help to better your future virtual event experience. It also shows that you actually care about what you organized, created, and presented. This step is all about relationship building and is exceptionally powerful for future collaboration and promotions. Time to organize!
We do it all – motion design, remote video capture, editing, voice-over recording, and more! To learn more about Bottle Rocket Media and what we can do for your virtual event video production, connect with us so we can create something impactful together.