How to Plan, Execute, and Promote a Successful Virtual Event

By Signe Steiner | February 2021

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I’d like to start our conversation with a quote by Heraclitus, “There is nothing permanent except change.” 

These words feel even more relevant in the time we are living in. We have all become quite familiar with change. 

From the perspective of an events professional, this has meant shifting everything to the virtual world. Nonprofit organizations are experiencing a shift in how they engage with donors. Business as usual in terms of fundraising efforts is a thing of the past. We have all had to think outside the box! 

They say that with many things in life getting started is the most difficult thing to do. That is why we are here! Over the last year, we have mastered the art of planning, strategizing, producing, and promoting compelling virtual events. The virtual space is cost-effective and expands your reach! Let’s talk logistics… 

When planning your virtual event there are a few things you should consider: 

  • Platform 
  • Audience 
  • Promotion 
  • Post event action items
  • Roles
  • Event outline
  • Execution 

Choose Your Platform

When choosing your platform, consider your bandwidth. Do you have the team to execute a live-streamed event via Zoom or Skype? Or does your team have more experience with Google Hangouts? There are so many options now that most organizations are going virtual, you just have to determine the one that best suits your event needs. Our recommendations, consider accessibility, cost, and features. 

Audience 

During all phases of the virtual event process, it is important to consider your ideal audience. We are all experiencing change so it is wise to consider what the audience is going through when making the shift to the virtual space. We recommend the following actions when considering your audience during the planning of your virtual event: 

  • Make actions easy
  • Keep audience engaged 
  • Ensure technical support for those that may need it
  • Be patient 
  • Be cognizant of time 

Promotion 

Promoting your virtual event is equally as important to creating a compelling experience for your audience on the day of the event. To ensure that the word is out there, you have to promote! Utilizing social media platforms, email marketing, engaging with your audience through your newsletter and direct mail are all great ways to promote. We highly recommend coming up with a clear strategy that ensures you are engaging your audience where they are spending the most time. 

Post Event Actions 

A huge advantage of hosting a virtual event is the ability to re-use the content! This way folx that were unable to attend the day of are still able to engage with your content after the event. The On-Demand version allows you to send out the virtual event in follow-up emails and can live on your website. Also, do not forget to send out a thank you email after the event! Showing your audience gratitude is highly encouraged. 

Roles 

On the day of the event, you want roles to be established so that things run smoothly. Plan for support and hire experts in areas that you may not be able to dedicate time or energy to.

Event Outline 

Having an event outline or a “Run of Show” is very important for a successful event. All team members, support experts, speakers, and hosts need clear direction on the day of the event so things run as seamlessly as possible. We highly recommend doing a dry run to test the script and technology before the event to avoid any last-minute changes. The “Run of Show” accounts for every moment. It will be plotted out who will be on the screen at what time and what they are meant to say. 

Execution 

Finally, it is time to execute all of your planning! We recommend that you follow the actions below: 

  • Follow the “Run of Show” 
  • Allow a mix of pre-recorded and live content 
  • Consider time for breaks 
  • Keep the audience engaged--keep the program to 60-75 minutes 
  • Have a backup plan 

Conclusion 

A virtual event can be just as engaging as an in-person event, you just have to have the right strategy and tools in place! We believe that our world is not going to “go back to normal’, but instead we will take elements of what we learned in 2020 and apply them to how we do things in the future. 

Check out our On-Demand Webinar on Virtual Events on our website and hear from our virtual events experts! You’ll walk away with a solid understanding of how virtual events can impact your organization, advice from our experts, and a proven framework for getting started.

In conclusion, change can be a beautiful thing. As long as you have the inspiration, strategy, and tools to keep you moving forward! Need some help getting started? Please contact us. We are here to help! 

 

“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward” -Martin Luther King Jr.

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