Going Virtual: What to Consider When Planning an Online Event

The impact of COVID-19 has sparked a new way of thinking about event planning and event management. For an industry that thrives on bringing people together, the events world has adjusted to creatively continue gatherings by hosting them online.

There are a lot of benefits and challenges that virtual events present. We break it down for you and highlight some of the key things to consider when going virtual.

Benefits of a Virtual Event

You don’t have to cancel       

There is nothing more disappointing than working tirelessly on an event and then it cancels. If you are able to pivot from in-person to online, it allows you the opportunity to still connect with your audience.

Potential for a broader audience

A venue can seat a certain capacity, however with online events you are able to stretch your guest count. You can also reach a wider range of people from different states or counties who might not have been able to travel for an event.

Putting your creative hat on

Hosting virtual events is new for many people so it allows the opportunity to really think creatively. Finding ways to deliver your content to your audience does not have to entirely be limited to the World Wide Web. Mail materials to your audience ahead of the event so they can be more engaged during the program. Do a drive-by to promote your event to the locals in your community.

Challenges of a Virtual Event

Engaging the audience

It is easy to zone out while in a Zoom meeting, so it is important to think about how you can make your audience interact during your virtual event. Introductions beforehand (depending on the size of the audience) along with a fun fact may be a good icebreaker to get people comfortable talking. Point out the raise hand or the Q&A features on Zoom so that the introverted guests have an option of getting their voices heard. Changing up the screen views will also help keep your event from becoming stale.

Standing out in the sea of online invites

First impressions are everything. Put thoughtful time into marketing your event so that it grabs people’s attention and makes them want to carve out a moment of their day to get online with you. Communicate reminders to make sure your guests don’t forget about your event too.

Quick Tips

  • Create a detailed run-of-show and make sure everyone working on the digital event has a copy
  • A private run-through before the event launches is a good way to work out any technical difficulties
  • Ask for feedback after the event to see what could be improved and what was successful

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