Like many of our colleagues in the events industry, our team has been attending a lot of webinars. We want to learn as much as we can about virtual events, so that the services CustomNEWS offers will complement and add value, not just generate revenue.
When live events return, it’s expected that most conferences will need to take a hybrid approaching. There will need to be a virtual component that will deliver your content to those unable to attend. It’s expected that conference attendance could be impacted by many factors, including personal concerns, company budgets or scheduling conflicts.
It’s important to recognize that when an attendee joins your event as a remote attendee, they are committing their time to your organization. You need to do more than just turn on the camera and broadcast a session into their home-office. Make them feel special, and remind them that they are part of your community, even if they aren’t sitting in the general session ballroom.
- Customize content: Post exclusive speaker interviews to your virtual platform. Better yet, ask your virtual audience to submit questions, and then have them answered during this segment.
- Make it fun: Are you serving tacos to attendees today? Suggest that virtual attendees also enjoy tacos, and post photos that you can share via social media, housekeeping slides, etc.
- Exhibit Hall tours: Create a video series that looks at what’s new in the exhibit hall, featuring information on new products, new exhibitors, showcase demos, etc. It’s not as much to show them what they are missing, but more to make them feel included.
- Exclusive publication: Yes, your conference may have a print or digital show daily. But consider publishing a daily publication for your virtual audience. Content might include the daily schedule for the virtual component, session recaps, association news they may be missing out on, and more.
- Offer cost-effective advertising placements in this publication and corresponding email newsletter to your exhibitors – they will not want to miss out on reaching this key audience.
- Attendee contributions: Invite your virtual audience to share their feelings on their experiences through a daily question of the day feature. You may find some candidates for future attendee profiles, or even potential new membership bases.
Don’t just turn on the camera and hit record. We hope you will look for ways to increase the ROI of your virtual conference, and help your virtual audience feel included.