This blog is in partnership with our friends at Rhyme and Reason Design. Planning a fraternal convention? Check out their marketing expertise here.
The world has shifted from live to virtual events due to social distancing and quarantining. In the midst of reimagining what your virtual event could look like, you may feel stuck and question how to make your event feel like an impactful experience. Don’t feel overwhelmed! We are here to help you break down your goal into three feasible steps. Instead of getting caught in the big picture, you can achieve your ultimate online experience with these three steps:
Draw it up
The first step in creating anything successful is preparation and planning. This is the phase of your event planning where you sort through logistics and technology. Before any other planning begins, think through what your experience is focused on with these four questions:
- What do you want your audience to think about?
- How do you want your audience to feel?
- What do you want your audience to talk about?
- What do you want your audience to remember?
After you have narrowed down the focus of your event, begin your planning. Pick the date and time of your event and choose a platform that you will be streaming from. Create your registration page and start marketing your virtual event! You do not have to have everything figured out before you begin marketing. Get the word out! This way, your experience has time to gather an audience.
Once you have your date, time, and registration link created, start creating the agenda and content. It is crucial to have a minute by minute run of show planned out to feel confident in the experience you will create. Your content should be in line with the four questions you answered above that sparked the focus of your event.
A couple of days before your event is set to take place, test the actuals. Have your team log into the platform that you are using for your online experience as viewers. This way, you will be able to see what the audience sees. Give yourself time to walk through each aspect of the experience so that when it comes time for your real online event to start, you will feel comfortable and confident that you checked all the boxes to ensure your audience feels cared for.
Draw them in
The biggest difference between an event and an experience is that an experience is something you undergo, while an event is something you attend. In order for your online experience to be successful, you want it to be memorable. So… what can set your event apart from other online events? It’s all about participation and interaction.
Just because your event is not in person doesn’t mean your audience should be denied social interaction. Beginning an online experience with polls, Q&A, and the chat function allows you to foster an environment where your audience is truly engaged in your event. It is important to break the fourth wall.
The fourth wall is that imaginary wall that separates the audience from the presenter or actor. Think about it… successful communicators break down the imaginary fourth wall. By engaging with your viewers, you will make them feel like they are a part of the experience even from behind their computer screen. Some platforms even allow you to bring audience members onto the screen with you. Just because you can’t be in-person doesn’t mean you cannot be personal.
I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Draw it out
Take a moment to think back to the focus of your virtual event. What do you want your viewers to start doing, stop doing, and continue doing? In order to create the opportunity for your virtual event to go far beyond when they click off-screen, you need to have a call to action. Invite your audience to a group chat or informational page. You may even take this opportunity to introduce them to purchase a resource that could be beneficial for them.
It is important to follow up with your audience after the conclusion of your online experience. Before you host the virtual event, have a plan for how you will connect with your viewers afterward. Requesting feedback is a great action to take in a post-event survey in order to gauge your audience’s satisfaction.
To go above and beyond, think about connecting with your virtual event attendees over a zoom call or phone call. Emails are a great place to start. But again, how can you make your experience as personal as possible? That is how you leave your mark.
We can help.
Need some additional expertise on how you can leave that lasting mark? We are here for you. Our team has experience in creating a variety of online events. What hurdle are you trying to jump over? We can offer a fresh perspective. Set up a free phone call with our Leadership Team! We would love to hear how we can serve you and help you reach your virtual event goals.