We all know how important the web is to business, and chances are most of us have attended a webinar, video conference or online meeting. So clearly, we have an understanding that online experiences can deliver value in a business context.
But virtual events take things to a whole new level. Virtual events are events that take place entirely online – rather than serving as an adjunct or temporary substitute for face-to-face content. And unlike many other online program formats, virtual events are designed to be highly interactive for each participant, rather than the more common scenario of passive online observation.
Can virtual events play a role in your business, association or nonprofit strategy? With the right planning, content and strategy, the answer is most assuredly ‘yes’. But the real question is – how? The key is to understand the what, when and how of virtual events so you can leverage them effectively.
What should you consider when producing a virtual event?
A virtual event is not just another online program like a webinar or online class. In contrast to these, a virtual event is focused extensively on bi-directional one-on-one communication.
This means that every attendee/participant needs to provide specific information when they register, and they need an avatar or online representation so that they can engage directly with other virtual attendees.
In addition, the platform used to host the event will allow for participants to connect with one another and with the presenters or facilitators dynamically, rather than just in fixed formats or moments.
When should you consider producing a virtual event?
Virtual events are an ideal format for situations in which you need to gather a very specific audience, for a period of time, that would be difficult to bring together in person, and where the participants can reasonably participate from their desktops.
For example, many companies use them for product launches or technical events. Others leverage them for recruitment through virtual job fairs and stakeholder events. What all of these examples have in common is a widely dispersed but highly specific target audience – a perfect fit for a virtual event.
How should you produce your virtual event?
Many businesses mistakenly assume that virtual events = little to no cost. The assumption is that removing travel and venue expenses means the event should be quick to setup and cheap to produce.
While virtual events certainly can reduce production costs when compared to in-person ones, the reality is that there is a steep pre-production curve because you need to create an engaging, fully branded and highly interactive environment for the event.
Also, each piece of content is now a ‘make-or-break’ element, critical to your success. At an in-person event, a boring or unprepared breakout session presenter will drive people to leave and go to another breakout session. Online, that same person may drive attendees to simply log off. So the key to success is in careful planning and detailed execution.
Working with a professional production company can be essential to your success with virtual events, as a professional team can integrate graphic design, branding, motion graphics, interactive design, video and audio with well-prepared content to create a powerful, fluid event that is memorable and impactful.
In the end, virtual events can be a very powerful resource for your business, if you give them the same strategic support that is essential to in-person events as well.
Learn more about corporate event production in Washington DC by contacting TalkingTree Creative today. Call us at 202-684-2225 or email Craig Weisbaum, President & CEO at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About TalkingTree Creative
TalkingTree Creative is an event production company that creates memorable experiences and lasting impressions on screen, on stage, and online. Headquartered in Washington D.C., TalkingTree Creative serves clients in the corporate, non-profit, association and government sectors as a leader in the event production field, infusing its work with elements of creativity, entertainment and engagement.
For more information, please visit www.talkingtreecreative.com. Follow TalkingTree Creative on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter, to stay up to date with our latest projects. Get a dose of visual inspiration by checking us out on YouTube and Pinterest as well.