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How to Run a Successful Virtual Event in the Covid Age

Friday 12 February 2021

13 minute read

By Sarah Burns

If, like me, you’re looking for the pluses to have stemmed from our ‘new normal’, one would have to be the change in work routines, and also meetings and events.

The virtual world is here to stay, thanks to Covid we have become so accustomed to working from home and meeting everyone from our teammates, to clients, to new customers, to suppliers, to our colleague’s cat via Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Although, undoubtedly, this has some negatives, particularly for those in the commercial property sector, and events sector, we’re looking at the positives, and for businesses who want to run low-budget events, virtual meetings are a dream.

In a recent Condé Nast survey 90% of respondents said that even once live events are back, they would still be interested in the virtual offerings.

Source: Condé Nast via Digiday

Thrive’s top tips for virtual event planning

1. Event goal: As you always would have, you must decide early on what the objective of your event is, and that in itself contains a number of questions: 

  • Is it a one-time event, or a series?
  • How long will it/they last?
  • Will it be free entry or chargeable?
  • Will you have sponsors?
  • Will attendees get an online presence, i.e. profiles and chat functionality?
  • Will there be additional pop-up events, or networking opportunities?
  • What content will you share, and how many speakers do you need? Are your speakers internal, external or mixed?
  • What other features might you want? polls, interactivity, promo materials, audience participation etc.

2. Software and equipment: Once you’ve decided on your event, its running format and who will be involved, you will obviously need to decide how is best to run your event, which will include thinking about what you will need to use for the actual event organisation, and any promotion and audience involvement:

  • Virtual lobbies
  • Public/private chat features
  • User polls and engagement
  • Sponsor ads and areas
  • User engagement metric reporting

3. Event marketing and sponsorship: Crucially you will need a robust digital promotional and sponsorship campaign to fulfill expectations from your sponsors, and to successfully target your goal number of event attendees:

  • Create a memorable event brand identity
  • Strategise a full marketing plan including website, social, email, partnerships, paid media, etc.)
  • Build landing pages, websites, or sign up functionality - depending on your budget
  • Create and launch marketing activities, i.e. social media plans, email marketing
  • Announce event programming, source and promote event ambassadors and leverage the audiences of your speakers, particularly if these are from external sources
  • Keep pushing for wide-reach promotion!

There are lots of ways to organise and run virtual events, much the same as in-person events, but it can make them much more accessible and an easier buy-in for attendees as they don’t have to consider travel expenses and time commitments from physically attending the event.

Make the most of the virtual world by allowing yourself to get creative with event planning - it no longer needs to be a day-long commitment for you, or attendees, create bite size chunks with optional attendance for sign-ups, to increase availability and flexibility -they key advantages of our ‘new normal’.

Are you reviewing your marketing and PR strategy for 2021? Speak to our in-house specialists for support via 01325 778 786 or hello@thriveability.co.uk

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