Organising a virtual event requires the same care and attention to detail as an in-person event.
As with any live event, having a good grasp on how to plan your virtual event will be crucial to its success.
See our virtual event planning tips below to put you on the path to success.
Top tips for planning and hosting a virtual event
1. Establish your goals and objectives
Research is an obvious key first step to any event planning activity and virtual events are no different.
Carry out market research to gauge the events landscape and spot emerging themes and topics of interest.
Conducting competitor research also helps with achieving this goal. What events have your competitors organised in the last 12 months? What type of events were they and how were they run? Could you provide something different and unique in terms of the format, topics and/or speakers?
Setting SMART goals for your event is a must to help ensure you maximise the potential opportunities that it can bring. Think of the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ - e.g. why are you putting on this event and what do you ultimately want to achieve from it? Make sure these goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
You should also ensure these goals match up with your wider business and marketing objectives so the event can bring the maximum benefit to your organisation.
Finally, when planning to host your virtual event, set KPIs for the event. For example: How many people do you want to attend? How many opt-ins do you need for your marketing database? How much revenue do you want to make in attendance fees? What’s the brand uplift you want to see from hosting and marketing your virtual event?
2. Plan your schedule and content
The complexity of your event needn’t be compromised by going virtual. In fact, virtual events are made of many of the same elements and considerations as any other kind of event!
Once you’ve established your goals and aims, you then need to build your content. In turn, this will inform the event schedule and scripting.
A solid schedule, which dictates what everyone is doing and when is key to successful planning and management.
Set up a system that enables you to send virtual invites and/or registration information and remain in regular correspondence with your attendees, sending reminders, updates and any necessary pre-event information, such as login details or amenity boxes.
Though this can be a little time consuming, it’s important to remind your guests that there are real people behind the computer screen. A personalised and hospitable approach will drive attendance and guest engagement in the long run.
For a truly professional event with the highest quality content, seek out a means of providing speaker coaching to help guide and instil confidence in your speakers.
Carrying out pre-live rehearsals, pre-records and content management are also indispensable ways of helping to ensure your event runs as seamlessly as possible.
When planning your virtual event, it is also important to remember that creating a run of the show and utilising on the day show call will also allow your speakers to focus only on their content delivery and captivating your remote audience.
3. Know the format and platform options
It’s important to select a virtual events platform that is suited to your audience, levels of interactivity and event aims.
For example, Bespoke can facilitate events across a range of tried and tested platforms, from Zoom through to custom-built, secure micro-sites.
You will also need to consider which format you want the event to take.
Do you want to organise a simple meeting that can be hosted on Zoom? A more polished webinar with multiple speakers on a secure micro-site? A studio-based broadcast alongside a curated suite of bite-sized clips for social media? Or a host multi-stage, jam-packed conference with audience engagement and networking?
Guests will need an agenda and content will need to be graphic, dynamic and immersive.
In essence, once your schedule has been established, presentations or graphics will be curated and the content will be recorded locally, or in a broadcast studio such as Bespoke Digital’s own professional studio facility.
The content is then edited (if pre-recorded), mixed and live-streamed onto your platform of choice for your guests to view or to participate in.
4. Select the right event broadcast solution
The quality of your video production will be key, as will a dedicated internet connection.
Your broadcast options will depend on your event type, scale and budget. When hosting virtual events, the choice is usually between a home studio solution or using a professional broadcast studio.
The DIY approach
Whilst far from ideal for providing a slick and professional event broadcast, there are several things you can do to improve the potential of your DIY home broadcast:
Make sure your background isn’t cluttered, in view of a doorway or in front of a window.
Ensure you are well lit, with no strong sources of light behind you, in order to prevent appearing in silhouette.
Position your laptop or camera at eye level – so the audience can’t see up your nose.
Try to mitigate background noise by turning your phone to silent and closing any tabs on your computer.
If your space needs a branding boost, use a backdrop and/or wall vinyl behind you. Bespoke can deliver these to your doorstep, or offer styling services via webcam consultation, as part of our full virtual event management service.
Using home webcast kits
Portable webcast kits enable a much more professional home broadcast quality.
Bespoke can deliver such kits to your home – our streaming team will take control of remote cameras and sound levels in order to deliver a professionally mixed show.
Hiring a professional broadcast studio.
A professional studio is the best option for holding virtual events that have the highest production values and stand out as the most professional in their niche.
Our fully-equipped broadcast studio includes broadcast-quality cameras, studio lighting, professional audio and covid-secure live streaming capabilities.
Such facilities are perfect for conferences, product demos, award ceremonies and a plethora of other virtual possibilities and provide the optimal solution for you to interact with your guests before, during and after the event.
Finding unique and interesting ways to interact with and engage with your audience before, during and after your event is key to maximising success.
5. Make your audience feel special
Sending amenity boxes to your attendees adds another dimension to virtual events by offering a level of direct-to-consumer interaction, as well as an opportunity to further amplify your brand message.
An online cocktail masterclass can be an excellent way of offering some post-conference, virtual networking or a personalized pub snack kit for a virtual quiz!
Bespoke Digital offers all of the above services as part of our comprehensive virtual event planning and management service. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you craft the perfect online event for your business.