You might be about to host your first Virtual Event or maybe you’re just considering including Virtual Experiences, Events and Hybrid Events into your overall communications and event strategy?
Either way, before you get started, it’s important to plan ahead and consider the key elements that will help you make your Virtual Experience a success. As an event organiser there’s a LOT to consider, but Virtual Experiences offer some phenomenal opportunities too. Here’s the Procreation HQ list of top tips to think about when planning your next (or first) Virtual Experience…
What are your overall objectives?
It might sound obvious, but make sure your objectives for the overall event are defined, written down, and have SMART goals attached to them. This means that you can tailor the whole event approach, end to end experience, audience and content to achieve just that. No event is hosted ‘just because’ – there will be a key reason why this is important, and what you’re hoping to achieve, so write it down (then you’re more likely to stick to it.)
Who is your audience?
With a Virtual Experience or Virtual Event the world really is your oyster! Virtual Events know no boundaries, so think about the target audience as a type of person and don’t worry too much about being restricted by geography. The great thing about Virtual Events is that attendees can attend no matter where they are. It’s who they are that is more important. Our tip? Put a strategy in place to attract your desired audience using excellent, valuable content and a clear event value proposition.
What does your content look like?
There are SO many options to create and showcase exciting, engaging content with Virtual Experiences. From peer to peer networking, gamification, live streams, polling, presentations, interactive Q&A, simultaneous translation and much more – the list really does go on. Think about your branding, presentation style, personalisation and registration process too; this all contributes to an excellent memorable, experience for your attendees.
Will you offer networking opportunities, and if so how?
Networking at Virtual and Hybrid Events is excellent. It’s as simple as that. Virtual Networking often encourages the most introverted of attendees to ‘put themselves out there’ in a way that they perhaps wouldn’t be so comfortable doing in person. From scavenger hunts, to personalised challenges that promote learning and fitness, networking options are plentiful. Maybe networking isn’t something you’ve been able or confident enough to do at a Live Event in the past. Well, now’s your opportunity.
What about sponsorship?
Sponsorship is a great way to include additional (and highly valuable) content. Having a Virtual Event sponsored (either the whole event overall or an element) can add a new layer of value for attendees as well as hosts and organisers alike. Virtual Event Sponsors can provide personalised content, opportunities for valuable interaction and provide excellent learning opportunities. Sponsors can also bring a larger, or more targeted audience. If approached cleverly and strategically sponsorship can increase registration numbers, revenue and event value.
What analytics will be available and how will you use them?
It will come as no surprise that Virtual and Online events provide a level of analytics that is unrivalled Face to Face. These analytics can not only be a useful sales tool (in the right context), but can encourage real behaviour analysis and drive innovation. Using this information is crucial to understanding delegate engagement and identifying areas for improvement, in turn creating better virtual events and experiences, and more importantly overall business growth. Read more about metrics here.
But what about the attendee perspective? Running an event is important, but a lot of us attend these types of events too. How can attendees get the most of these amazing experiences? Here’s our list for that part!
Procreation’s top tips for attendees to get the most out of Virtual Events, Hybrid Events and Virtual Experiences…
1. Give yourself a dedicated space.
We’ve all worked from home (the juggle is real), but aim to be able to concentrate, when you need to. Set up a workspace, with some daylight and fresh air (where possible) that helps you feel awake and focussed (we love a good window view…). The key components? A good chair, good lighting, good internet connection – see some more here.
2. Let others know you are not available.
In the same fashion as if you were attending an event or training in the flesh, let others know you are occupied. Put your out of office on, delegate important tasks, arrange cover. This way, you can focus on the content 100% and get the most out of it without interruptions (oh, and put that phone on airplane mode). Some great tips on why Out of Office is SO important from Forbes.
3. Set boundaries and allow break times.
While it’s very well to say it’s good to shut yourself away, the blur of lines between home and workplace have a huge impact on fatigue. Give yourself dedicated times to get up, walk around, get outside, drink plenty of water, and give your eyes (and brain) a break. Set boundaries with those you share a home office/home/office with, so that during your focussed time, that it is just that.
4. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
We can’t stress the importance of that! So important to do and so easy to forget. We love a simple water bottle with times on to make sure you to drink enough throughout the day, but there’s some great tech here if you’re the type of person who needs a bit more of a nudge.
5. Split screens.
Someone once said “Once you’ve used a split screen, you won’t go back” and this couldn’t be more true. It’s hugely helpful if you’re trying to type and watch at the same time. While this is NOT a necessity and some people like a good old fashioned pen and pad, some thrive with a split screen set up during a Virtual Event.