Virtual event

How to plan a successful virtual event

Event tech expert Jack Geddes shares his top tips for planning a successful virtual event.

Love ’em or hate ’em, virtual events are here to stay. The format has proven surprisingly so popular that it is now considered a credible alternative to a live event.

But being aware of the benefits of virtual events is not enough to plan a virtual event that generates leads. Here are nine tips for making your event go viral.

1) Choose engaging content

Whether you already have a large audience or are building one from scratch, you need to have engaging content to draw them to your virtual event. Creating engaging content is the foundation of a successful virtual event. Your content should be captivating, engaging and have a meaningful impact on your audience.

What are the ingredients for creating engaging content?

Transmit a new idea, a new product, a new lifestyle

Whatever your niche, you need to work on something new, special, and different from your competition’s content. Indeed, focusing on different aspects and giving an unexpected look at the issue is the best way to attract your audience and present a new product, convey a new idea or promote a new way of life.

To answer questions

There are different reasons to attend a virtual event, but potential attendees are all looking for answers to their questions. So, engaging content doesn’t just give an idea or insight into something; it must offer precise, clear and reliable information.

Propose solutions

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

Good quality content must be able to meet the expectations of your audience and provide relevant solutions to their problems.

Quizzes, polls and contests

Engaging content should be tailor-made for your attendees. It must be interactive so that your audience feels involved and wants to actively participate in your virtual event through quizzes, surveys or contests.

Anticipate audience needs and behavior changes

To continually engage their interest, your content must be able to reflect your audience’s needs and anticipate their behavioral changes.

2) Make it smooth and fun

A long passive speech, giving too much information and too many details can be tiring even for an expert audience. Remember that your attendees can disconnect at any time during the show.

You have to be creative and pick the right pace that keeps your audience interested and connected until the end. Feel free to add unexpected jokes (in the right context); it can be used as a short break, as an easier way to explain, to give examples, or as a smooth transition to the next part.

3) Select your audience

Your content can be exclusive, captivating and highly engaging; but to be successful with your virtual event, you need to target the right audience. There are different techniques to select your audience: you can opt for email campaigns, online forms and surveys or sponsorship campaigns on social networks. There is no doubt that audience-centric virtual events are able to achieve the best results.

4) Select your guests

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

Here are some key points to consider when selecting your guests:

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

– They must be experts in their field; have exceptional experience in the field or have an inspiring success story.

– They must be eloquent, excellent speakers and comfortable with the camera and the public.

– They must be in line with the values ​​of your company or your brand.

5) Careful planning

As with everything in life, planning is the key to success. Also for virtual events, the planning must be meticulous and every detail must be taken into consideration.

Planning your virtual event should start with choosing the most convenient time for your event, branding, event positioning, and speakers.

But why is planning so important for your virtual event?

– It helps you think about better ways to achieve your goals.

– It forces you to prioritize.

– Dividing your project into small tasks gives you meaningful insight into the whole process and makes a huge undertaking easier to accomplish.

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

– It gives you the ability to delegate tasks to the right people.

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

– This allows you to better track your progress.

6) Rely on a successful marketing strategy

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

It’s not just about promoting your next virtual event, it’s about building a memorable brand and a unique and lasting image.

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

7) Choose the appropriate platform

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

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

– Your virtual event format: meeting, webinar, live, pre-recorded, conference.

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

– If you need to allow attendees to network.

– The estimated number of participants.

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

If you have more specific needs, you should list them as well. Once you know what to expect from your video conferencing service, you need to choose the platform that meets your needs without generating recurring technical issues that cannot be resolved quickly 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 might have participants.

8) Manage the technical side

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

The best way to achieve this might be to hire a reliable technical support team. Otherwise, you still have some practical advice like:

– Be perfectly aware of the technical limits of your platform.

– Carry out all the necessary tests for all your technical equipment before the event.

– Send some practical technical advice to your participants and advise them to test their devices beforehand.

– Establishment and sharing of some rules to respect during the event.

9) Collect data and feedback

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

As a first step, all the relevant information you will collect from your participants will allow you to evaluate your event in order to improve and develop the next one.

Finally, being interactive and responsive to your audience’s needs and expectations gives you more credibility and trust.