7 Factors to keep in mind when organizing digital events

The last years have seen a rapid change in the global business environment, especially where it comes to travel and events. Many organizations have used innovative ways to bring people together. Instead of physical events, they looked more and more at digital or virtual experiences to connect with people.

What makes physical events so valuable is that they bring people together and offer networking opportunities. The challenge for digital events is to deliver the same, to share information and deliver content in a personal and interactive way. For many organizations it means a shift in skill-set and shifting more time to the preparation and creating engaging content.

The 7 key factors to keep in mind:

  1. Maintain your event differentiators to attract your audience
    What is it that sets your physical event apart? What key elements made your event interesting for your audience to attend?

    Action to take:
    When moving to a digital format, identify and preserve the differentiators as much as possible and build them into your event schedule and communications so that your audience will experience a sense of familiarity.

  2. Keep relevance to your audience in mind
    With digital events, there is more competition to capture the attention of your audience and distractions are just a click away. You don’t have the benefit of a captive audience. The success of your event will depend on
    how interesting and relevant the content is for your audience.

    Action to take:
    Use personas to align your content with the needs and interests of your audience. Be authentic and keep it to the point, just focusing on what your audience needs to hear from you now.

  3. Show me the money
    Are you running paid-for events? For many event organizers, switching to digital initially leads to a perceived reduction in value. While the venue and location can be one factor in the success of the event, in reality most of the value will have come from the speakers, the insights gained and the networking opportunities.

    Action to take:
    To deliver similar value, look at how you can leverage access and formats. Instead of selling access to a 1-day physical event, for a digital event you could provide access to the materials for a month or longer. A workshop could be formatted as an online course.

  4. Keep your audience engaged with interactive content
    You wouldn’t expect your audience to remain engaged a whole day if you keep them in one room and only feed them slide after slide. This is even more so for digital events where distractions and low engagement will lead
    to people surfing away.

    Action to take:
    Vary the presentation formats and incorporate interactive content (such as polls, chat and gamification elements) to keep your audience engaged. Leverage the technology options that virtual event platforms offer such as virtual breakout rooms. As a benefit, it is nowadays much easier to capture the interactions for later analysis.

  5. Give your audience flexible options to join and interact
    When organizing digital events, you’ll notice that attendees will need to deal with multiple distractions and requests for their time during your event. These can be internal meetings, client conference calls, demands
    from current projects or, with many people working from home right now, children in the background needing attention.

    Action to take:
    When creating your digital event, give your attendees flexible options to consuming your content and interacting with you. Instead of focusing on 1 day, you could spread your event out over multiple days or offer
    on-demand videos for people who missed the live event.

  6. Just because you can make it an event, doesn’t mean you have to make it a event
    Not all sessions of your physical event need to be translated into a live digital event. Let’s face it, we have all sat in sessions where we thought that it could have just been an email.

    Action to take:
    Go multi-channel to keep your audience engaged. Keep the live element focused on keeping your audience engaged on your key topics and use other channels such as pre-recorded videos and downloadable content for the rest.

  7. Keep it authentic and practice before going live
    Your audience will value authenticity and you don’t have to produce a super polished event with multiple camera in a studio if that does not fit with your brand. However, you do need to practice as more so than physical events,
    there is less room to ‘wing it’ on the day of the event if you run into trouble.

    Action to take:
    Practice before going live. Make sure your team understands how the technology works and interactions will be managed. Don’t let any of your speakers take to the stage before you are comfortable that they can successfully give
    the live presentation. Put pre-recorded videos in place if you are not comfortable.

Learn and review

Just like with physical events, not every digital event you run will be an instant success. Along the way there will be learning moments. It is important to not let this stop you. Practice, incorporate best practices and move forward. Leverage the data and insights that digital events allow you to capture to keep improving your event and the experience for your attendees.

Next steps

When you are able to deliver your digital event in an authentic and personal way, bring people together online but in a way so that they still feel engaged and you can get your message across, you will be on the right path. If you would like to have help with this, we would be happy to take some time to discuss with you how you can further optimize your move to digital and your go-to-market strategy.

Restless Marketing

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