If 2020 made virtual events a fact of life for business, then 2021 is definitely looking like the year of the hybrid event. If you’re going the hybrid route, here’s a go-to guide for building engagement strategies into your programming and interacting in new and exciting ways.
Event managers are well versed in wet weather contingencies. Taking that one step further, the COVID crisis has shown us that including a virtual element in your events and conferences is an insurance policy that guarantees your event can move forward, rain hail or shine.
A magical mix of both physical and virtual components, hybrid events bring greater flexibility, scalability and the opportunity to adopt an always-on approach to sharing content with guests. Virtual events give your guests more ways to catch up on content and attend multiple, overlapping sessions. (Compare that to physical events where traditionally you have to choose between competing sessions.) All of this adds up to greater consumption of your content and longer view times.
Interactivity is everything
In this brand new world of event management, you don’t want your participants to hit the snooze (read pause) button before they’ve even made it to morning tea time. So you must create entertaining opportunities to interact. There is a multitude of cost-effective software options on the market now that make interaction between your presenters, moderators and guests possible by scanning a QR code that loads up the interface.
Consider incorporating small group breakout rooms where guests can brainstorm with trainers, or polls throughout where guests can vote on topics, or a feedback option at the end of a session. Think of your conference like your favourite radio show, and run hourly quizzes or simple competitions with participants.
Creating an awards show? Don’t forget the red carpet; maybe even incentivise your guests to log online in their best outfit. How about virtual dance-floor breaks throughout the event? Now you’re talking.
It all starts before it begins
Viewer interaction isn’t just something you power up on event day. Invest some hours in developing a solid communications plan that details when and how you will interact with your guests. Some items on your plan may be functional, such as a “How to get here/How to log on” emails; others could give your audience the opportunity to vote on topics they most want to hear about which in turn enables your presenters to craft their content accordingly. You could give your attendees the opportunity to ask a question ahead of time, ensuring you have a bank of content on hand in case your audience is a little shy on the day.
Give ‘em the old razzle dazzle
Imagine watching your favourite movie without the soundtrack, snappy editing and special effects? It just wouldn’t have the same appeal would it. Great virtual events need a little drama to hold the attention of your audience, so finding the right video creation platform is essential.
When creating live broadcasts for events, 3rdspace uses colourful, streamlined graphic layers, applying fully branded graphics over speakers and segments and incorporating sponsor entitlements as required. Using a sophisticated streaming platform we can play out multiple video pieces within the stream as well as static billboards – whatever we need to up the ante for our clients. With events managed by a dedicated live broadcast producer, our platform gives you the confidence to hold a hybrid event even if tech is not your forte.
Don’t forget your mod squad
Great moderators are worth their wait in gold. Not only can they ensure the discussion stays on track, they can also add serious personality to your chat room as they welcome your guests and interact with your them, putting them at ease and encouraging even the shyest participants to collaborate. Choose your mods wisely.
A virtual element is no longer a “nice-to-have” but an essential for your next event. If you plan and build simple, fun ways to interact, your virtual portion can help grow stronger, more loyal audiences who walk away with their professional love tanks full.
3rdspace is a content marketing company whose purpose is to help purpose driven brands connect with the values of purpose driven consumers. If you’d like to chat about how your content marketing can better connect with your consumers by finding the place of shared purpose our team of marketing & content strategist, behavioural psychologists and creatives are here to help. Contact Kathrine Holland email@example.com or 0402 209 683
Rob Logan – Founder & CEO
Madeleine Lourey - Client Services Manager
Jae Tame – Producer