In many ways, the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how fortunate we are to be living in an era of high-speed internet and programming-centric minds, because now when you are wanting to host an event, there is a stream of options. Converting your in-person event into a virtual event may seem like an overwhelming undertaking but it doesn’t have to be.
Let’s take a look at 5 tips to convert your in-person event to a virtual one.
1. Think About Converting In-Person Elements To Virtual
Start by evaluating your in-person event program and consider how each element might be converted to video. Some things will be automatic and easy, like a video you were planning on showing during your in-person event. Cancel the projector and the speakers, because this element is ready to go as is.
If you planned on having particular speakers during your event, these speakers can still be a part of the virtual event. Whether they attend live or you want to pre-record this content, don’t overthink this transition. It will work. After all, their role hasn’t changed… Now all you have to do is work through the many details of how to present them – cameras, microphones, lighting – it all factors into the final product. Finally, it should be quite obvious by now that if you had a plated dinner planned for your in-person event, well…. This will not be included.
That said, you could consider having a virtual toast during your virtual event though. And you might consider having a swag bag sent to participants ahead of time. And truth be told, we have heard of very successful virtual events that were catered but the challenge is real, with a national or international audience it is event planning that is not for the faint of heart.
For those program ideas that may not be a great fit for your virtual event, the following will assist you as you attempt to find replacement content.
2. Understand What Your Audience Wants
Your virtual event content should be determined by what your audience wants to see, enjoy, and be a part of. There are several ways to understand what your audience is interested in. This is the moment to review your data!
- Survey prospective attendees, or past in-person event attendees to learn what they may have enjoyed during your previous event, and what they may want to see in your virtual event.
- What are frequently asked questions in your industry? Have some conversations with your team. Do some research. And get to answering those FAQs during your virtual event.
- Determine the most viewed pages on your website and consider adding similar forms of content to your virtual event program.
- Take a look at your social media insights and engagement. What type of content garners the most likes, comments, or follows? It could be videos, infographics, or even personalities that get your audience more involved in your brand.
49% of marketers say that audience engagement is the biggest contributing factor to having a successful event. – Markletic
Duh to the above stat, right? It’s true, engagement is the main priority of a virtual event. When you think of engaging distractions of having tangible food, drinks, humans, live music, lighting, and ambiance during an in-person event, it’s like, how do you replicate that – online? Where there is a will, there is a way!
When you can make concrete decisions for your virtual event based on credible data, you are likely to create a virtual environment where your attendees find the content shared to be both entertaining and valuable.
3. Plan Your Virtual Event Logistics With Your Team
A virtual event is no different than an in-person event in the sense that you will still need, all hands on deck! It is highly recommended you set up at least an hour to check in weekly to coordinate all event logistics as you prepare for your scheduled virtual event. To begin your planning process, bring the following questions to the table to hash out with your team.
- What is your anticipated attendee count?
- Will attendees need to register for the event?
- How will you communicate event details to your attendees?
- What is the number of people you will need to effectively run your virtual event? Who will be a part of the tech team? The supervisory team on the night of? Who will manage the chat questions?
- What virtual event platform will you be using to host your event?
- Will you have a host(s), speakers, or panelists?
- What type of engagement would you like during your virtual event?
- Will your selected event platform allow your desired engagement and support the number of attendees you are expecting?
These are just some of the questions to get you started on your planning journey, but every in-person event transition to virtual will require a unique set of questions based on your preferences.
4. Connect and Communicate With Your Attendees/Sponsors About Your Event Changes
You may be feeling some apprehension as you are converting your in-person event to virtual. You may even be concerned that attendees might not be interested in attending a virtual event. We get it. This is a big change, but you will be surprised to learn that as long as you communicate changes effectively with your prospective and registered attendees, people are open to making the change with you!
- Smart transparency is key. Send an email with an explanation of your event changes and the reasons why. Include the planned event agenda too to gain some momentum and excitement. Maybe include an incentive of sorts for those that share the event!
- Have an event landing page? Add a pop-up to the page so you can ensure users visiting the landing page are made aware of you converting your in-person event to virtual. Don’t forget to update the actual landing page event details too.
- Remove, and/or update any promotional items that have been shared on social media, via email, and with any partners, you may have shared your event with.
5. Get Feedback
Virtual events may become a regular occurrence for you! In order to continue to improve, you need insights from your attendees. Survey your attendees during the event via chat. Inquire on their favorite segments thus far. Engage with your audience and get real-time feedback.
Post-event, send out a simple 5-10 question survey so you can get quality feedback about the agenda, program, speakers, timing of the event, event video content, and the overall experience of your event.
Take that information back to your team. Discuss it. Determine ways to continue to do what people loved and get to making adjustments to the segments not so enjoyable for your audience. Either way, you did it – congrats! Just know, we do it all. From motion design to 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 production, connect with us so we can create something impactful together.