Written by Ron Shaw, Online Event Strategist
In my decade or so in the virtual event industry, I have seen and worked a wide variety of virtual engagements. When starting work with a new client I always get the question, “What have other clients done in the past to make their event a success?” To that I respond, your content is everything and should be used to guide the rest of the experience for your attendees.
Now, I know it is hard not to want to spend time focusing on the what the platform will look like, but an event can become easier when you have a good understanding of what your content is and how you want it positioned for your attendees. I would never discount the importance of having a good platform for your event, but just where it should be on the priority list when planning for your engagement.
Here is a list of the four areas I always asked my clients to focus on in order of priority when starting a new project:
This is why the attendees are coming to your event; they want information and you are going to be providing it to them. Make sure that you are providing materials that are relevant and add value for people to attend. While you may have a lot of resources from your previous virtual or physical events the bulk of your content for your event should be fresh and offering content that they cannot get anywhere else will increase the value of attendance.
Everything else in your event from messaging, gamification, and design of the event should be focused on getting this content in your attendee’s hands.
Have an effective communication/promotion strategy in place
This is how you are getting the attendees to register for your event, but it should not stop there. There needs to be a continuance of teasers and emails and social media posts right through the end of your event. What is even more important is that you need to continue stressing the value of this event to your registrants. Your messaging needs to be engaging and new each time. Pick a different piece of content, a different speaker or a different opportunity they will have by attending to speak upon each time.
Keeping the registration and login process as simple as possible
Yes, there is information about your registrants/attendees that you may need to collect, but look to collect only what you need during the registration process. Most virtual events will allow you to further question your attendees during the event through surveys or other polling mechanisms. The more barriers to entry you place the less likely you will be at converting a registrant into an attendee. Also remember these pages, aside from the promotional message are your attendee’s first experience with the event. Make it engaging, informative and fun.
Keep the number of clicks down and make sure your design is intuitive for the end user. Don’t try and cram too much into one space, think about how the attendee is looking at this and how they are going to be searching for that valuable content you are providing them. If there are spaces in your event that provide no value remove them. Above all, let your content be your design guide for this experience.
To learn more about the best practices of virtual events and making the most of your content check out our additional virtual event resources here!