More than just an introduction to virtual events, including an overview of objectives, audience, and technology considerations, our blog series on this timely topic has so far covered details on the virtual event location (hint: a website!) and how best to frame your event content. So, what happens next in the process for planning your virtual event? Figuring out how to put the right communication tools to work, to share your content.
You’ll likely have several goals specific to your virtual event. However, there’s one main goal for all virtual events that should be included in your list of objectives: The goal of driving interaction at your virtual event by using the appropriate communication tools.
Take webinars as an example. We’ve all been to numerous webinars by now. But, did you know the webinar tool can be used for something other than an educational-based broadcast?
Webinars: Best-Use Practices
- Long format = Breakout sessions
- Short format = Demonstrations
- The ‘Almighty Registration Page’
A webinar is a tool. As is a drill. With a drill, you can put holes in things. You can also use it to place screws. We’ve seen videos on YouTube where people peel buckets full of potatoes in 30 seconds flat. Or, hey, stick a corn cob on the end, and you can become TikTok famous by eating corn on the cob. (Really, it’s a thing, look it up later.)
The point is, webinars can be used for your standard long-form session, but they can also be used for short, five- to 10-minute mini-meetings. You can schedule a lot of them, and if you have a good sign-in process (one like ours that doesn’t require you to sign in to each one individually), you can start to break up the day, similar to how you do with trade show scheduling apps on your mobile device. In short: Don’t look at any one tool, and think it only has one use.
We’ve talked with clients about building out a whole day event, where there were different, small-group webinar live demonstrations happening every five minutes, and with larger breakout sessions scheduled every 45 minutes. The registration form built out the attendee’s itinerary and allowed for some structure for their event day. And when the person wasn’t in either a breakout session or a live demonstration, they were able to do some self-exploration through the available free flow content (both passive and active).
Rethinking your use of the various communication tools can also help you to repurpose existing content. Especially if you’ve been planning a physical event that was postponed or canceled, you’ve likely already created some content. Thinking about a typical trade show booth, and what’s presented there, often there are wall-mounted TV monitors playing video loops. There’s also pamphlets and flyers and business portfolio handouts. Not to mention, some cool swag that’s been designed, if it’s an industry that allows for that, or a planned activity to engage visitors like jeopardy or a photo booth.
Repurpose Existing Content, like:
- Planned activities
- Content from your ‘archives’
Ask yourself of these pieces of content: Is any of it still usable? And more importantly, looking at how it was used before, is it still useful? Just because it exists doesn’t mean its usability or usefulness in this new event setting hasn’t changed.
Let’s look at a video that was used in a loop as a background video at the show, for example. This video may have been created to bring people in from the aisle, but to actually sit and watch it for a long time may not present the information the best way. And that flyer was information you wanted the attendee to leave with, it wasn’t the main piece of content that you hoped to draw them into the booth to get. So, let’s make sure that your content is repurposed intelligently.
Perhaps that video becomes the background to your website to add layers of visual appeal. Or, it’s turned into a ‘choose your own adventure’ style presentation with pauses for multiple choice questions that the viewer can answer, and which would play a different video for a custom-tailored experience. You could leave the flyer as a downloadable PDF or turn it into a set of infographics to encourage social sharing of the information. And you could still recreate those in-person activities, by developing a web-version of your jeopardy game complete with public facing leaderboard to allow for competition between visitors or adding greenscreen-less camera tech that allows users to pick their custom background and snap a shot to post somewhere in your event site space.
Just because your physical event canceled doesn’t mean you have to throw out the baby with the bath water. Figure out what’s still useful, or if tweaking it would make it useful. Just be sure you’re not pushing content to the forefront if it’s not going to help you achieve your, or your audiences’, goals and objectives.