Your organization understands physical events, but what about a virtual event? If you’re asked to plan a virtual event, do you know what your needs are and how to accomplish the task? Never fear, virtual event staffing is similar to physical event staffing, only conducted online. In this posting, I outline how you can build an internal team to produce repeatable virtual (or hybrid) events throughout the year.
Here is what you need to get started:
- Develop your internal strategy – what are the objectives?
- Recruit and build your team – who can work on this event and provide the most value?
- Gain executive-level support – are the executives excited about the virtual event? This can have an impact on what resources are available. Having executive-level support will increase the chances of success.
7 Habits of Highly Effective Virtual Event Planners
Don’t think that because it’s online, it’s easy. Virtual events can often be stressful and technologically overwhelming, but with the right level of internal support, the process can be a fun and exciting organizational adventure.
The most asked question about virtual staffing is, “how do we know if we have the right people for the job?” My answer to this question is, “How do you know you have the right person for any job? You don’t know until you know.”
Because virtual events are relatively new to the event market, formal education is limited, but available at some media schools. Finding the right people for the job can be easy if you know what to look for. Here are a few essential skills for virtual staff members:
- High attention to detail
- Technology savvy is a plus, but not required
- Familiar with physical event development
- People friendly
Key Roles Needed for Every Virtual Event
Now that the generic skills are out of the way, let’s talk about staffing. Before you can begin adding staff members to the project, the project must be outlined. In the virtual world, there are several types of virtual events.
Events may be a briefing center, conference, learning center, trade event, product launch, or virtual booth. However, these options are just the tip of the iceberg. We cannot forget about hybrid events where virtual is injected as an option to continue to conversation or allow people that could not make the physical event the opportunity to attend.
There is not a single answer for whom and how many to staff because each virtual event requires different levels of involvement. Regardless of the event type, here are the key roles needed for every virtual event:
- Virtual Event Director, VP, or Manager – responsible for high-level overview of projects, organizational needs, and a go-to person for all issues related to virtual events. Virtual event managers have responsibilities from budgeting to technology, but mostly focus on managing the event team. They also bring in enthusiasm, people skills, and accuracy.
- Virtual Event Producer – virtual event producers focus on logistics and technology development, but may be required to complete additional tasks depending on the scale of the project. Producers interface with the presenters and content teams.
- Virtual Event Associate Producer – virtual event associate producers are responsible for tasks such as registration, technical help issues, etc. They take direction from the Virtual Event Producers.
- Virtual Marketing Manager – virtual marketing managers build buzz and increase attendee exposure through the use of marketing campaigns, social media campaigns, or traditional advertising methods.
- Virtual Event Creative Designer – virtual creative designers are responsible for logos, graphics, color schemes, and other creative elements, such as audio or video. These individuals have an eye for creativity and most are often trained with a degree in graphic design.
- Virtual Space Staffers – virtual space staffers are individuals that are available during the virtual event for live chats and help, and to provide a presence within the event to start conversations. The number of staffers needed depends on the size of the event (i.e. number of attendees)
Every virtual event is different, so when designing your next virtual event, keep in mind staff and resource availability, project scale, how many presentations there are, what content is being delivered, and the technology behind the magic.
The team structure I’ve laid out provides a framework from which you can build out your team. Expanding will be easy and painless as long as the team works together to follow the designed virtual event strategy.
Need help building your team?
If you’d like tips or insights on building your virtual event team, let’s set up a time to chat. Drop me a line and I’ll take it from there!
Post contributed by Matt Goodwin