There’s much more to just switching on some webcams and computer mics and hoping for the best when you’re transforming a real-world, physical event into a virtual webcast. The best event promoters may no longer be those with the industry connections to host a physical event, but webcast and communications companies with the knowledge, experience, and technology to address both the present and future of online events.
This became abundantly clear to PGi’s SVP Sales North America – Virtual Events / Webcast at PGi, Andrew Denlow, when he saw that PGi’s Globalmeet Webcase software and the company’s overall online event portfolio grew by 350% during the pandemic. Virtual events also saw a 500% boost in attendance last year.
What is the key to converting a large physical or hybrid event into a virtual webcast that will engage audiences?
Create Compelling Content
As with an in-person event, compelling content is at the heart of a successful virtual event. You have the flexibility to record some of the content, provide live segments, and make sure it’s all interactive using audience Q&As and polling.
Pre-recording elements of an event makes it easier to work around speakers’ schedules and ensure the highest quality of content without technical gaffes or bandwidth issues that could plague fully live virtual events.
Remember, content creation doesn’t only center around the programming on the day of your event. A virtual event hub that permits guests to browse previews of the program, access recordings after the event, and even interact with each other before, during, and after the event will help build anticipation and increase engagement.
Make the Event Interactive
As you bring your large-scale, in-person events to the virtual world, interactivity is key. Ensure the platform you choose has multiple means for your audience to communicate not just with presenters, but with each other.
Chat rooms, audience polling, Q&As, and live-streamed content all help engage audience members and bring the event to life. Consider bringing some audience members on-screen with you to keep others alert; audience members will realize they might be called on next to share their insights.
Make Sure You Have the Support You Need
Just as you don’t organize a 50,000-person live event on your own, you shouldn’t expect to run a seamless, large-scale webcast singlehandedly, either. Look for a company with years of experience producing online events and the staff to produce an operator-assisted webcast. This frees your marketing and events team up to focus on the content while your virtual event software provider ensures an event of the highest audio and video quality, with pre-event training and live support throughout the event.
As we look at both the present and future of virtual events, we realize the infrastructure and technology are available today to produce events of 50,000 or more people that are as engaging and effective as any large physical event.
Watch our webcast for more tips on how to engage audience members in a large virtual event.