Have you ever thought about what it takes to plan a big event? Maybe you have walked a mile in those shoes and planned an event in the past.
It is no secret that the pandemic has changed the way we have gone about our lives. A lot of businesses and organizations have had to get creative about how to function and how to bring people together without being in a large room at times.
When we stayed home, virtual communication rose. Sometimes, that led to planned and organized events. You might have asked how to plan a virtual event during this past year.
Starting the process of planning an event can feel like a daunting task. But, it is not as hard as you might think. You just need to be organized and follow the right advice.
Here are 10 tips for planning a successful virtual event.
- Choose a Good Date and Time
One of the first steps for planning a virtual event is to decide on the date and time you are going to have an event.
Try not to overthink this one, but at the same time, do not underestimate this decision either. You should not be spending an overwhelming amount of time on picking this, but be mindful and do your best to determine what the right date and time would be for your audience.
If you are holding an event with an international audience, pick a time that is the best balance for every region. If your audience works a 9-5, pick an evening time to host the event.
Knowing when your audience would be more likely to attend an event will increase the chances of participation and success.
- Choose the Right Location
Like live events, choosing the right location is important for the atmosphere you create for your audience. For some events, it could just be choosing the right room in your house or apartment to set up your camera.
Look for a venue or room that has good lighting, is kept clean, is visually pleasing for an audience, and is in a quieter environment.
The audience does not want to see your dirty laundry on the floor, dirty dishes in the kitchen, or hear the neighbor’s dark barking from a nearby window. They also want to be able to see you and what you are presenting.
Check your options for location and pick what place fits the above checklist the best.
- Plan an Itinerary
You will want to be organized with your virtual event management. It will be a lot easier to get through an entire event broadcast if you have a good plan for what you are going to talk about when and knowing when you want to wrap things up.
The other option is playing it by ear and flying by the seed of your pants, which is not recommended. That can lead to too short or too long of a broadcast for the event.
Most of all, you will decrease the odds of dreaded dead air time. This is primarily a radio term, but it very much applies in all forms of broadcast.
Dead air is when you do not have any conversation going on during a broadcast for several seconds. There are tips to make sure that does not happen, but the main one being that you need to plan an event itinerary ahead of time.
- Pick a Platform
The next thing that you will need to do is pick what platform your event will be hosted on. This can range from famous ones like Zoom, Twitch, YouTube, even Instagram.
You may have one of your own that you want to use for your event. Whichever route you go, make sure it is one that fits your audience and a platform that will make it easy for the audience to connect and engage.
If you mainly post pictures and short videos, Instagram may be your best bet. A gamer will probably want to use Twitch. A travel vlogger may want to set something up on YouTube for their audience.
The possibilities are endless but you need to make sure that the platform you choose can provide everything you need for your virtual event to go smoothly.
- Promote Your Event
You will not have an audience if nobody knows your event is happening. Spread the word, and spread it far that your event is taking place.
Have your marketing campaign be consistent and aggressive to make it impossible for your audience to forget when and where the virtual event is happening.
The Vendry’s event planning guides are a source that can dive deeper into marketing tips for your virtual event.
Announce your event with enough notice to prepare a marketing campaign, but not so far in advance that hype can die down. Then, figure out which ways your audience will respond best to promotional material for your event whether that is video, social media, pictures, or email marketing.
- Engage With Your Audience
Whether speakers are live in person, or in a virtual setting, their job is to give the audience a reason to keep listening and to connect with them.
Engaging with your audience can dramatically increase the chances of an event going smoothly. In an online setting, it also increases the chances of your audience paying attention to the computer screen and not logging out.
Virtual events come with the challenge of being more difficult to keep someone’s attention on what you want it on. So, you need to keep your audience involved.
One good way of doing this is having a Q+A with your audience. It will allow you to answer questions that your audience is asking, let them find out more information about you or your company, and have a more personalized conversation.
- Check Your Internet Connection
For virtual event planning, you are relying on more technology to connect to a potentially global audience. The worst thing that can happen during an event is having your connection crash in the middle of your broadcast.
Make sure wherever you are hosting this event has a strong internet connection that will not get disrupted. Websites like this can run a speed test for your internet connection and give you exact upload and download speeds.
If it is too low of a speed or if your internet is constantly disconnecting, perhaps look for another place to host.
- Double Check Everything
Falling in line with the internet connection, test and check everything that you need for your virtual event before you broadcast it.
Are your cameras ok? Is the internet connection consistent? Are microphones working? Do we have the right angle shots? Does our content plan work?
These are things that you need to be double and even triple-checking in advance in order to put out the best and most professional show possible for your audience.
- Review Your Content
This tip can be used both before and after your event. If you have done virtual events before, you can watch a video of an old one to see what you liked and did not like about your last presentation.
You may even start getting new ideas to put into your current virtual event by noticing small details from past content on a re-watch.
After your event, do not be afraid to watch the video and go over all of the small details corresponding to it. Observing and taking notes will help you produce higher-quality events in the future.
- Ask For Feedback
Once your event is completely in the books, ask the people you were trying to impress how they think you did. Pay attention to how your audience responds.
Audiences can let you know if the visuals were good, the sound audio, who was hosting, the content being discussed, and much more.
You can ask audiences for feedback by sending them mobile surveys, an email, asking them to comment in the comments section, or via social media. Regardless of the way, this feedback will help you figure out what you did well and what you can improve on.
Know How to Plan a Virtual Event
Now that you read these tips, you can go out there and really learn how to plan a virtual event for yourself!
If you are still not sure, you can always seek out marketing professionals that will guide you. Read more about Marketing in the Business section and about cameras and other equipment in the Tech section.