As membership organisations take their physical events online in 2020 and beyond, how do you think experientially about your digital event?
With events going digital in 2020, considering how you engage your audience through your content is the biggest challenge, as streaming your planned event may not be as engaging as you think!
Streaming your planned event may not be as engaging as you think!
Understanding what type of content is right for your event is an excellent starting point. Will you live stream without editing or will you capture, edit and share pre-recorded content?
The conference experience for the viewer at home and your organisation will evolve. There will be challenges around presentation delivery, as well as the basics like ensuring your set is on-brand. Maybe you will think about including broadcast packages, motion templates, titles or photos to make your content more engaging. These assets can translate well to your website and membership platform.
You will want to keep viewers interested and engaged by offering real-time conversation, social media shout-outs, real-time competitions and gamification to add to the experience.
Video content is consumed mostly on mobile, so when you are thinking about designing your event, take a mobile-first approach, particularly around graphics and animations for small screens. You will think about inclusive practices like Live Caption or a remote sign language interpreter. As well as more mundane things like establishing participation ground rules, you will want to keep viewers interested and engaged by offering real-time conversation, social media shout-outs, real-time competitions and gamification to add to the experience.
After the event, you may want to post an archive of the on-demand video on your membership platform or website so it can be watched again and shared. Is your website or platform ready or should you use YouTube or Vimeo to host your videos?
There is a good argument for using best-in-breed digital platforms to drive engagement, e.g. using Groups on WhatsApp Business instead of discussion forums like Discord for your community. As a membership organisation, you should be the admin of the Group so you can drive the conversation and invite influencers and participants. It is also a great place to post essential notifications and provide member support for topics, training and events.
With an integrate-with-anything strategy, you can piggyback off platforms already used by your members.
You could create channels in Slack, Discourse or a YouTube channel for live streaming. Thinking about how you connect your channels can help you imagine the future of Membership. With an integrate-with-anything strategy, you can piggyback off platforms already used by your members as well as connect to your CRM to facilitate a membership preference centre enabling your organisation to share the right content, to the right member at the right time.
Which Virtual Event Platforms are available in 2020?
Rapid innovation will drive new event experiences in the next 3-6 months.
The virtual event platform market has just exploded! We can pretty much say that all the cancelled and postponed IRL events are now virtual. The challenge of event platforms providing engaging virtual events for a global audience is a mixed bag, with an expectation that new and rapid innovation will drive new event experiences in the next 3-6 months.
How will you demonstrate to members that they will be able to network, attend sessions and jump between talks in a virtual environment?
Your members will want to know the benefits of attending a virtual event, and they may need handholding to understand better how they will experience the event before committing to attend. How will you demonstrate to members that they will be able to network, attend sessions and jump between talks in a virtual environment?
As an organisation, you will be thinking hard about budgets and profitability. You'll wonder if you can sell virtual event tickets and at what price point? The good news is that there are no travel or hotel costs, which should make the decision to attend an event a little easier. The bad news is that we are all learning how to "virtual conference" and in-person events are impossible to replicate no matter how hard you try.
Why not even think of extending your reach from a local to a global audience?
As revenue from exhibitors and sponsorship changes, you will be looking for your virtual event platform (hopin or Brella could be a good option!) to offer solutions including things like platform visibility, virtual booths, remote workshops and reporting. You will need to ensure that your event has the best speakers to guarantee the right audience and therefore attract exhibitors and sponsorship. Why not even think of extending your reach from a local to a global audience?
At GrowCreate we work with some fantastic clients. We think of our clients as partners where we work hard to develop and continuously improve their solutions. As well as regular monthly contracts and a rock-solid SLA, we work with our clients to build better businesses over the long-term.