How to plan a successful virtual event

How to plan a successful virtual event

Love them or hate them, virtual events are here to stay. The format has surprisingly proved to be so popular that it is now seen as a credible alternative to a real-life event.

But being aware of the advantages of virtual events is not enough to plan a virtual event that generates leads. Here's nine top tips to make your event go viral.

Whether you already have a wide audience or are building one from scratch, you should have engaging content to attract them to your virtual event. Creating engaging content is the basis of a successful virtual event. Your content should be captivating, appealing and have a significant impact on your audience.

What are the ingredients to create engaging content?

Whatever your niche is, you should work on something new, special and different compared to your competitors' content. In fact, focusing on different aspects and giving an unexpected perspective of the issue is the best way to attract your audience and introduce a new product, convey a new idea or promote a new lifestyle.

There are different reasons to attend a virtual event, but potential attendees are all definitely looking for answers to questions. So, engaging content not only gives an idea or an overview about something; it should offer specific, clear and reliable information.

We face a wide range of challenges daily. Most of the time, we don’t have time to get help or support to face or solve these issues. Virtual events are the modern, simple and accessible way to get in touch with people from around the world, get them connected with experts and give them the opportunity to deal with their difficulties and problems.

Good quality content should be able to meet the expectations of your audience and deliver pertinent solutions to their problems.

Engaging content should feel tailor-made for your attendees. It should be interactive to make your audience feel involved and want to actively participate in your virtual event through quizzes, surveys or contests.

Anticipate your audience needs and behavior changes

To continually raise their interest, your content should be able to reflect your audience's needs and anticipate their behavior changes.

A long passive speech, giving too much information and too many details can be tiring even for an expert audience. Just remember that your attendees are able to log out at any time during the show.

You should be creative and choose the right rhythm that keeps your audience interested and connected till the end. Do not hesitate to add unexpected jokes (in the correct context); it could be used as a short break, as a simpler way to explain, give examples or as a smooth transition to the subsequent part. 

Your content could be exclusive, captivating and highly engaging; but to make your virtual event successful you should target the right audience. There are different techniques to select your audience – you can opt for mail campaigns, online forms and surveys or social media sponsoring campaigns. There is no doubt that audience- centered virtual events are able to achieve the best outcome.

One of the most valuable ingredients that could take your virtual event to higher levels is to add some interesting guests. You just need to make sure that their contributions would be relevant and appreciated by your audience.

Here are a few key points you should consider while you are selecting your guests:

- They preferably should already have an impact on your audience.

- They should be experts in their field; either hold outstanding experience in the field or have an inspiring success story. 

- They should be eloquent, excellent speakers and comfortable with the camera and the audience. 

- They should comply with your company or brand values. 

As with everything in life, planning is the key to success. For virtual events as well, planning should be meticulous and every detail taken into consideration.  

Your virtual event planning should start by choosing the most convenient time for your event, the brand, the positioning of the event and the speakers.

But why is planning so important for your virtual event?

- It helps you think through better ways to achieve your goals. 

- It forces you to prioritise. 

- Dividing your project into small tasks gives you a significant overview of the whole process and makes a huge undertaking seem simpler to achieve.

- It makes you opt for more productive and efficient processes. 

- It gives you the opportunity to delegate tasks to the right persons.

- It gives you more possibilities and alternatives to better manage unexpected incidents or last-minute changes. 

- It makes you able to better track your progress. 

Obviously, while the points above should be part of your marketing strategy, to better achieve your goals and reach your targeted audience, you should rely on a powerful long-term marketing strategy.

It is not only about promoting your upcoming virtual event, it is about building a memorable brand and a unique and enduring image.

For all these reasons and more you should rely on a strong marketing team, including a strategic marketer, a community manager, a graphic designer, a copywriter and a producer/video editor. 

After the pandemic, we are able to build a constructive opinion about the most well-known online platforms.

To select the most appropriate platform for your upcoming virtual events, you should first review and evaluate your needs such as:

- If you need to restrict or allow live chat and speakers.

- If you need to allow attendee networking.

- If you have a time limit or any other technical constraint.

If you have more specific needs you should also list them. Once you know what to expect from your video conferencing service, you should choose the platform that supports your needs without generating recurrent technical problems that can’t be resolved rapidly during the event.

You should also check if the platform is free, if the platform is compatible with most of your audience’s devices and if the platform is available in all the countries where you could have participants.

You can perfectly plan your virtual event but you can never avoid technical hiccups. Nonetheless, you can always try to minimise technical inconveniences if you have a thorough plan to better manage unexpected issues.

The best way to do this could be to hire a reliable technical support team. Otherwise, you still have a few practical tips such as:

- Being completely aware of the technical limits of your platform. 

- Carrying out all the necessary tests for all your technical equipment before the event.

- Sending a few practical technical tips to your participants and advising them to test their devices in advance.

- Setting up and sharing a few rules to respect during the event. 

Virtual events are the best opportunity to collect feedback and valuable data from your audience.

Firstly, all the pertinent information you collect from your participants will help you evaluate your event so that you can improve and develop your next one.

Finally, being interactive and listening to the needs and expectations of your audience gives you more credibility and trust.

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