Thanks to the coronavirus causing cancelations of offline conferences and events, companies are trying to establish a new normal while embracing digital experiences and creating virtual events.
Digital Futurist, Keynote Speaker and Virtual Event Producer Brian Fanzo shares his tips for not only creating a successful virtual event but the mindset shift required to build out goals, measure and track success. He also touches on selecting the right platform and using a combination of video collaboration tools and live streaming tools to engage today’s digitally disconnected audience.
The process in a nutshell
Brian has perfected the process needed to create a successful online event after producing over 3,000 live streams, speaking in 76 countries and helping Fortune 100 brands deploy their virtual events. He’s pretty much broken down to this:
1. Define Success and Set Measurable
Success looks different for everyone involved in an offline conference – sponsors are looking for potential clients, the hosts may be looking to increase loyalty and the attendees might be looking for people to add to their network.
An online conference has the same dynamic, but often people don’t take that into consideration when they are planning. So, the first thing needs to be first when planning a virtual event – define what success looks like for everyone involved.
Where most people go wrong is defining success without setting goals. If success looks like creating brand loyalty and an engaged audience, your goals should be return customers, social media mentions and numbers of messages in the live chat. The number of attendees doesn’t matter, nor does the amount of money made.
Just remember, these should all be things that can be tracked and measured.
2. Determine the Content and Experience
Once you have your goals laid out, it’s time to determine what kind of content can get you to your goal and create the experience you want to. In this step, you’ve got to think about what is going to get the point across, live video? Produced video? Ask me anything style?
How are you going to create your experience? Themed chat rooms? A choose your own adventure style event? What about podcasts for those not interested in the live video? There are so many ways we can facilitate a similar experience online to offline, but they require planning (something most forget with online events).
3. Choose Your Platforms and Speakers
Now that you know what kind of content and experience you want to create, you can start to determine the best platforms for hosting and interacting. Here is the thing though, just like everything else, the best results come from collaboration.
There is no such thing as a “do it all” platform.” They all have their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s about finding the platforms that can work together to create the perfect experience.
After you have the who, what, when, where and why of your event set you can focus on hiring the best speakers. You want to make sure that the speakers are ready to make a great virtual event and that they understand that it’s not the same as a 30 – 90 minute keynote. You also want to make sure that they are able to create the type of content you are hoping to have.
4. Create a Digital-First Mindset
Creating the best virtual event experience requires a digital-first mindset. Again, what goes on offline can’t just be replicated online, it’s a much different venue, so you have to retrain everyone on what it means to create an engaging event.
If you’re looking for more resources and insights on virtual events, interactive webinars or moving your offline conference to online visit his new page “Re-inventing Virtual Event Resources.”