Going Virtual: How to Plan and Host a Successful Online Event

The events industry has undergone a dramatic shift in recent times, with many in-person events being cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has led to a surge in online events, as event organizers seek to connect with their audiences in new ways. If you're thinking about hosting an online event, it's important to plan carefully and consider a range of factors to ensure a successful event. Holding a virtual event is very different than organizing an IRL event. Here are some tips to get you started:

Define Your Goals

Before you start planning your event, it's important to define your goals. What do you want to achieve with your event? Are you looking to generate leads, educate your audience, or simply raise awareness of your brand? Defining your goals will help you to focus your planning efforts and ensure that your event is aligned with your overall business objectives.

Choose the Right Platform

Choosing the right platform for your online event is critical. There are many different platforms available, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Consider factors such as the number of attendees you expect, the type of content you will be delivering, and your budget. Some popular platforms for online events include Zoom, GoToWebinar, and Google Hangouts.

Invest in Technology

Investing in the right technology is key to hosting a successful online event. This includes hardware such as cameras and microphones, as well as software and platforms. Consider working with an experienced event production company to ensure that you have the right equipment and expertise to deliver a high-quality event.

Create Engaging Content

Creating engaging content is crucial for keeping your audience engaged and interested in your event. Consider using a mix of formats such as videos, slideshows, and interactive polls to keep your audience engaged. Also, be sure to allocate enough time for Q&A sessions and other interactive elements to keep your attendees engaged throughout the event.

Having a strong event schedule with lots of different sessions, breakouts, and talks is important to attracting a lot of people to your event, as they are more likely to find compelling reasons to watch your event's presentations and even be there on live streams.

Market Your Event

Marketing is key to ensuring that your online event is a success. Consider using a mix of channels such as email, social media, and paid advertising to promote your event to your target audience. Also, be sure to create a landing page or registration page for your event that provides clear information on what attendees can expect from your event.

Follow Up with Attendees

Following up with attendees after your event is critical for building relationships and generating leads. Consider sending a survey or feedback form to attendees to gather their feedback and learn more about what they enjoyed and what could be improved for future events.

Going virtual can be a great way to connect with your audience and deliver a high-quality event in a challenging environment. By following these tips and investing in the right technology and expertise, you can plan and host a successful online event that meets your goals and engages your audience.

What are the best platforms to hold a virtual event on?

  • Zoom: One of the most popular video conferencing tools, Zoom offers a range of features for hosting virtual events such as webinars, meetings, and virtual conferences.
  • Twitch: A livestreaming platform originally designed for gamers, but now used for a variety of events and broadcasts. It has features like live chat, emotes, and the ability to create channels for specific events or topics.
  • Skype: A well-known platform for video and audio conferencing, Skype can be used for hosting smaller virtual events such as webinars and meetings.
  • GoToMeeting: GoToMeeting is a web-based platform that offers video conferencing, screen sharing, and recording capabilities. It's a popular choice for hosting virtual meetings and webinars.
  • Microsoft Teams: Designed for business use, Microsoft Teams offers video conferencing, screen sharing, and collaboration tools. It can be used for hosting virtual events such as meetings, webinars, and conferences.
  • Webex: A web-based platform from Cisco, Webex offers video conferencing, screen sharing, and collaboration tools. It's a popular choice for hosting virtual meetings and webinars.