Whether you’re planning for a party of 5 or 50,000, BlueJeans Events makes it possible to host virtual events of nearly any size. Knowing how to host a virtual event can ensure you and your team deliver a meaningful and rewarding experience for everyone.
However, there’s a lot more to hosting a virtual event than just moving things online. In this article, you'll find everything you need to know to deliver a successful, engaging, and highly impactful virtual event that’s flawless.
In this article, we’ll explore:
What is a virtual event?
A virtual event is an event where people meet and exchange content online rather than in a physical location. Virtual events may feature webinars or webcasts, live streaming, and multiple other sessions within the overall event.
Types of virtual events
Growing in popularity due to their cost-effect nature and global reach, virtual events are here to stay. Depending on the circumstances, they can range from intimate Q & A sessions to huge virtual trade shows with thousands of attendees. Whatever your goal is – whether a remote workshop, virtual job fair, corporate holiday party, or other large event – there's a virtual event to help you achieve it. Here are the most popular types:
- Virtual Conferences. Including keynotes, breakout sessions, community engagement tools and more, virtual conferences allow attendees to access relevant, on-demand content, while interacting with other attendees.
- Internal Hybrid Events. This type of event is ideal for companies with multiple offices, whether they are located across the country or around the globe. By allowing communication on a large scale, internal hybrid events are perfect for town halls, sales kick-offs, company wide training, department meetings, and more. In this case, "hybrid" includes a combination of on-site presence and an online video presentation.
- External Hybrid Events. These virtual events are most often customer or industry specific conferences that encourage participation and education to those outside of an organization. Since the goal is providing virtual attendees with an experience that closely resembles an in-person event, higher levels of video production are required. Like the previous example, "hybrid" means a combination of on-site and online.
- Webinars. Covering a wide range of subject matter and content while reaching millions online instantly, webinars are perfect for positioning hosts as industry experts, raising brand awareness, and lead generation.
- Capture the audience
Virtual events are easy to join and even easier to leave, so you need to grab your audience’s attention quickly, and keep it throughout the event. Apply the same principles of good storytelling to your event, such as:
- Employ the element of surprise. To keep your audience in suspense, never share too much of your content before the event.
- Make it visually appealing. Integrating design, beautiful photography, and graphics will ensure people keep watching and listening. Additionally, well-conceived visual elements will enhance your message and enrich your presentation.
- Involve your audience. Use interactions such as Q & A, live polling, breakout sessions, and spaces for discussion through live chat and virtual lounges to turn people from passive watchers to active participants.
- Leave them wanting more. A thoughtfully developed 30- to 60-minute presentation will allow you to get everything across without losing people. Follow up afterwards with additional content to keep them engaged.
- Differentiate your virtual event
Right now, companies everywhere are promoting their products and services through virtual events. Here are some tips to help you stand out from the crowd:
- Find a niche. Choose one main problem you'd like to solve. Make sure it addresses contemporary concerns while anticipating future issues.
- Know your audience. Research your audience beforehand, paying close attention to the devices they are most likely to use, the social media platforms they're on, and what times they are most likely to engage.
- Be a hostess with the mostest. The lack of travel these days means virtual events are much less of a time commitment than before. Since you might be able to get speakers who previously wouldn't have been available, think big.
- End with a cliff-hanger. Keep individual sessions concise and end with a hook. This will encourage people to come for the next one.
- Everyone loves free stuff. Be sure to offer digital tools and resources (like workbooks and templates) that add even more value for your attendees.
- Choose engaging speaker(s)
Finding an engaging speaker doesn't have to be a daunting experience. In fact, it can be the best part. By keeping these questions and pointers in mind, you're sure to find the perfect host for your perfect event.
- Are you experienced? An experienced keynote speaker can facilitate transitions between program elements and fill in any content gaps. Additionally, if asked, they can bring thought-leadership and inspiration to your event, while providing a fresh perspective on the challenges facing your organization or industry.
- How much is that speaker in the window? Although there are no hard and fast pricing rules for virtual events, most reputable agencies will have a good understanding of what speakers, musicians, comedians, and emcees might expect to be paid.
- Go to the pros. A speakers' bureau or talent agency can advise you on which speakers specifically are good at creating content for virtual events. They will also help your speaker perfect content and delivery, as well as advise on which technology platforms might best suit your needs.
- It’s good to have support. Anticipate the needs of those less than tech-savvy team members by providing easy-to-follow instructions, FAQs, and/or other resources on how to find help if necessary.
- Don’t overshare with screen sharing. Put your computer on ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode and place non-presenters on default mute to avoid any interruptions during the event.
- Testing, testing, 1,2,3. Test your internet connection and have your speakers do the same, have backups of visual and pre-recorded video, and always be clear on roles and responsibilities throughout the event.
- Start by debriefing with speakers to go over what went well and where there’s room for improvement. Use your platform’s post-event reports and analytics, Q&A and chat transcripts, and command center to gain crucial insights and key learnings.
- Reach out to participants through email and/or newsletters. Include shareable content, such as links to the event video.
- Review attendee comments, and follow up to let everyone know you appreciate their time.