Host an Online Event: Best Practices and the Ultimate Checklist
27-Mar-2020 01:10 PM
Nobody can predict the weather, a venue cancellation, or an artist cancellation while planning an event. Especially as we are currently dealing with a global pandemic, Covid-19, offline events are out of the question now.
Unexpected mishaps can derail events at any time, which you can overcome by a contingency plan. However, what will you do if you don't have a contingency plan?
The answer is, online events!
Adaptability is the most important skill you need to have as an event planner. Even expertise and experience come after that. And, with the availability of several digital options, you can meet any challenge as seamlessly as possible.
You may call it a webinar, a live stream, an online event, or a virtual summit. But, the only thing that matters is to exceed the expectation of your attendees.
Wait, what is an online event?
You may have attended a webinar (a seminar conducted online), an online workout class, or a meeting online using a video conferencing tool. These all are examples of online events. Everything happens online rather than gathering in-person during an online event. That means individuals experience the event as well as the content online here.
Online events require the same care and attention as an offline event. You need to promote the event effectively, engage attendees and create memorable moments for them, and make the event a successful one. If you look at online events as value-added and engagement-driven experiences, you can create impactful events that exceed your attendees' expectations.
Here are some types of virtual events:
- Video conferences
- Virtual conferences
- Internal and external hybrid events
- Video phone calls
- Live internet radio
- Web collaborations
Benefits of online events
Since we have learned what are online events and what type of online events are there, let us explore their benefits. (Believe me, there are many of them!)
You can salvage your event in the face of changing circumstances.
- Lower expenses:
You can save on various costs like travel, vendors, and venues.
- Engaged audiences:
While audiences can instantly log in, you can leverage social tools and keep them engaged.
You can host more people for a fraction of the cost than an offline event.
- Global access:
You have the internet, and the world is now your marketplace.
- Environmentally friendly:
Online events will reduce the negative impact on the environment.
- Ultimate convenience:
You can take your message to anyone, anywhere, at any time.
- Variety of choices:
You have plenty of choices from which you can select the appropriate one for you.
The factors that could get an event canceled are not even a consideration here.
- Measurable results:
You can know many things about the event, which are not easily attainable at live events.
How to host an online event: The ultimate checklist
In a world where technology grows at an impressive speed, by revolutionizing everything around us, you can set up an online event almost seamlessly. So why don't you take the first step into more flexible, reliable, engaging, and sustainable events that can connect a large number of people from all around the world at lower costs?
If you decide to host a virtual event, you must plan how to do this. Even if you are an experienced online event planner or an extremely new one, we are offering you an extra helping hand. Here is the ultimate online event planning checklist that will help you plan an amazing online event. Happy planning!
1. Determine your objective
This is where you start. Why are you conducting an online event? To educate people on something important? To simply generate awareness about your brand? To build personal relationships or to generate leads? The question you should ask yourself is, "What am I hoping to achieve from this online event?" And once you are clear with your objective, you can set the tone for your event.
2. Identify your target audience
Once you determine your objective, you can identify your target audience effortlessly. You must think of one thing in particular during this process. Who will benefit from your objective? That means, which section of the audience must be focused upon in order to achieve your targeted objective?
3. Decide on the type of event
Now, the type of event. Based on the objective and the target audience, decide which type of event you want to host. What type of event will be appropriate? Do you need a large multi-session virtual event or will a single session webinar or webcast do?
4. Choose a platform
It will be easy for you to choose the most appropriate platform to run the event once you choose the type of event. All online event platforms are created differently and each of them has different abilities when it comes to hosting. You should be well aware of the functionality and support your platform provider offers while choosing since some of the platforms will not have the ability to host the type of event you want to run.
5. Select a topic
Choose a clear, well-defined topic on which you can base your event. Now develop the content around it making sure your focus remains sharp and doesn't deviate from the central issue. Make sure not to deviate from your set direction as it will defeat the purpose of the whole event.
6. Choose your speaker(s)
Selecting speakers for online events is as important as selecting speakers for physical events. Based on the type of event and the topic, you can choose the format: single presenter, dual presenter, host and presenter, or a panel. The speaker must be confident and have a good grip on the topic.
7. Decide the date and time
Set a date and time for the event while keeping in mind factors such as speaker availability, audience availability, and different time zones (if you are going global).
8. Create engaging content
You must deliver a well-structured, well-thought-out session that will generate value for the audience. DON'T be spontaneous.
Your content must be built around the topic you have chosen. Make sure to add visually attractive slideshows, images, or videos in order to add more character to your content. Let there be variety in your content, which will keep your audience engaged and interested throughout the session.
9. Create a promotional plan
If you want your event to make an impact, people should be aware of that. You need to have a multi-channel promotional plan to make your event a successful one. Decide on a promotional plan that includes social media, email marketing, landing pages, paid advertisements, and website banners.
10. Plan registration
Think about how you want people to register for your event. The option to register will give you an idea of how many people are interested and plan to attend your event. If the registration process is quick and easy, more people will register.
11. Rehearse, practice, repeat
It is highly crucial that you (or your speaker) know your content well. Rehearsing will only help you master it before you start the real game. And when you practice, be sure to do it in front of a webcam so that you can see your appearance. You can make necessary changes based on that, which will help you deliver an awesome performance.
There may be times when things go unplanned where the only options left with you are either cancel the event or take it online. As it turns out, if you have the right infrastructure, creating an online event is not as hard as it seems. Shifting the content from in-person to virtual is not as challenging as sorting out travel, lodging, and other pieces. Follow the checklist, be well prepared with a flawless plan, host a perfect event, and boost your business. Good luck!