Prior to our current global situation, digital events were usually created from scratch for specific purposes, such as budget, geographic location, etc. Now, many companies and associations are finding themselves having to transition what was once an event in real-life to the virtual world.
One of the first things to do once the decision has been made to go virtual is to get the message out. This will greatly help in reducing your potential audiences’ uncertainty. Explain why the decision was made; clarify that the event is not cancelled – just transformed; and stress the value of the virtual event. This information can be disseminated through a press release, a mass email campaign, posts on social channels, and on your website.
Contact your guest speakers to inform them of the transition and start arranging a schedule of webinars. Webinars can be presented in a number of ways:
- live – using a web conferencing tool with time allotted for a Q&A session afterwards;
- semi-live – with a pre-recorded video of the talk followed by a live Q&A session; or
- on-demand – with a pre-recorded video of their talk with no Q&A session.
Real-life events featuring booths/stalls for exhibitors and sponsors will need to create “virtual booths” on the virtual event platform. These platforms usually include a back-end system so they can select a booth design, upload artwork, documents, videos and presentations, and manage their users. Be sure your presenters have the contact information of any staff who will be able to assist them in the process.
Be sure all attendees are aware of – and comfortable with – any virtual networking opportunities available. These may include group chats, one on one text/audio/video chat, private rooms, and contact information collection.