Ten Virtual Event Ideas to Keep You Ahead of the Curve

If you’re like every other event planner in the world right now, you’re scrambling to think of more and better virtual event ideas every day. Online event hosting has become the new normal, whether you were ready for it or not—COVID-19 has turned the events industry (along with pretty much every other industry in the world) on its head. So where have you landed?

Event planning is a competitive business. And every busy event planner knows, you have to stay ahead of the curve to keep landing those contracts. You are expected to knock every event out of the park with innovative new ideas and impressive results. And to do it all with lower and lower budgets.

Online events are no different. With COVID-19, the whole industry was shifted online. Live events will see their day again. But in the meantime, virtual events are on the rise and planners are upping their online game with every one.

Virtual events have less overhead, lower travel costs, and less personnel involved. This leaves a lot of room for over-the-top marketing and investment in stellar speakers and quality content. 

To help you keep ahead of the game, here are some innovative virtual event ideas to keep in your toolbox. You never know when you might need them.

10 virtual event ideas to keep you ahead of the curve

1. Go 3D

Utilize immersive environment technology to create virtual meeting rooms, stages, and other creative locations. It may not be exactly virtual reality, but this alternative presentation will give your attendees a break from the usual format of flat-screen after flat-screen.

2. Get united

Choose a common goal for your event, such as a certain dollar amount raised for a cause. Use this goal in your marketing and keep the message going throughout the event, getting people excited about reaching the goal. Track the progress and shout the results from the mountaintops. This will contribute to a feeling of community and cohesion among your attendants and strengthen the experience of your event, making it more memorable. 

3. Don’t forget to entertain

Live events usually feature entertainment of some sort, such as a musical act, a comedian, or a keynote speaker. So why shouldn’t your virtual event? Schedule live streaming entertainment and promote it as part of your marketing plan.

Speaker: Ten Fresh Virtual Event Ideas to Keep You Ahead of the Curve

4. Use music

Instead of dead air, liven up your waiting rooms with energetic music, and use it during your presentations as well. 

5. Activity breaks

Don’t forget that your participants are spending a large chunk of time in their homes staring at their computer screens so they can attend your event. Break up the event and add some movement by incorporating some health and wellness breaks, such as a scheduled yoga class or guided meditation session. This will keep your attendees from drifting off to get some exercise elsewhere, will lighten the mood and create camaraderie as they share a healthy experience together.

Meditation: Ten Fresh Virtual Event Ideas to Keep You Ahead of the Curve
A guided meditation session could refresh your attendees during a long event.

Click here for some more virtual event ideas.

6. Get competitive

Shake things up and get people interacting by incorporating some friendly competition into your event. Lead a game that goes on throughout the event, or puzzles or trivia questions that your attendees can respond to in order to earn prizes or rewards. 

7. Live illustrations

There have been some really cool things done with live illustrations at events. You can hire a graphic artist to create illustrations in real-time during presentations or webinars so that your attendees can watch as it evolves and highlights different aspects of your content. At the end of your event, these completed sketches can be used as marketing material or as giveaways or prizes.

8. Use unusual backgrounds

By this time, most people are used to watching webinars hosted in conference rooms, offices, or on stages. Do something a little more unusual such as shooting outdoors or another unpredictable space. Do keep in mind that you should be able to control your audio, so do a soundcheck first to ensure there won’t be any surprises (think wind and passersby). 

9. Go glossy instead of live streaming

Livestreaming is the main mode of presentation for virtual events. But why not invest the time to create pre-recorded sessions instead? While livestreaming is more immediate and can be more interactive by nature, they can also risk being boring and flat if it’s just one person speaking for tens of minutes. A pre-recorded video, on the other hand, can benefit from editing, cutting, and styling which can make for much more interesting, engaging content. If you don’t want your whole event to be pre-recorded, think about incorporating a few shorter elements into your schedule, interspersed with livestreaming. 

Prerecording: Ten Fresh Virtual Event Ideas to Keep You Ahead of the Curve

10. Get creative with your speakers

Sometimes the best choice isn’t the most obvious choice, which is why one of our favorite virtual event ideas is to hire surprising speakers. Search eSpeakers’ virtual speakers’ roster to find a talented online event-savvy speaker for your event.

Online events are here to stay. And just like the live event industry before it, the playing field is going to get ever more competitive and innovative. With these and other virtual event ideas, you can work to keep yourself one step ahead of the pack. 

Happy planning!

Are you a speaker wanting to expand your portfolio to include online training? Being certified is a great way to let customers know you’re a great virtual speaker. We offer certification at eSpeakers….check it out here.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

Get certified! Become a Certified Virtual Presenter.
Virtual event planning: 8 tips to move your event online last minute.
Nine tips to promote your online event effectively.

Nine Tips To Promote Your Virtual Event Effectively

Do you know how to promote your virtual event? There are a few things that you have to do to make sure you draw the right audience. Here are nine of them.

How to promote your virtual event

If you’re like a lot of us in the event planning industry, you’ve had to do a lot of hustling in the last few months to quickly recalibrate your business model. You’ve had to remake yourself into a virtual event planner fast because if you didn’t you would sink. You’ve been learning new skills on the fly, and if you’ve been successful, you’ve been able to shift an existing event online or even launch some new ones.

An essential skill to master when planning online events is how to effectively market them. 

Seven steps to remember when you promote your virtual event:

1. Make sure your event will be effective online.

Think about your event’s different aspects, and envision to detail how they will play out in an online atmosphere. What platform will work best? Will people be able to engage? Is this a message that will translate onto a screen in a way that is easy to interpret and participate in? For example, a hands-on workshop might not work online.

2. Get a dedicated website up and running.

If you want to get marketing, you need to have a landing pad first. When you begin to promote your virtual event it’s vital that you have an engaging, informative website for people to go to, and don’t forget to make it searchable using SEO tactics. Spend time making this website a quality place to be because you want your potential participants to spend time there exploring your message and what they will gain by taking part. 

Are you a speaker wanting to expand your portfolio to include online training? Being certified is a great way to let customers know you’re a great virtual speaker. We offer certification at eSpeakers….check it out here.

3. Brand your event.

Generate excitement and anticipation by branding your event. This means considering who your target audience is and tailoring the look and feel of your branding to suit their tastes and needs. Do a little bit of market research and comparison, and use colors, messages, themes, and fonts that will appeal to who you are marketing to.

4. Blog about it.

Get writing! An important aspect to remember when you promote your event is blog power. If you have a blog, write a post that reflects your excitement about the event. Then share it on social media and contribute it to other blogs as well. You can also get other bloggers to promote your virtual event by writing a guest post on their blogs or asking them to write one and share it with their followers.

5. Make social media work for you.

Using social media doesn’t stop at sharing on your own accounts. Create dedicated accounts for your event across several platforms and get interactive. Participate in online discussions, share lots of content; basically, make your event a consistent presence online that people will start to notice. 

6. Leverage your speakers.

Use the star power of your host or speakers to get the word out. As part of your branding you will have graphics and logos to share; provide them to your speakers and ask them to share them on their own social media platforms. This will spread your marketing net even wider.

Finding a speaker who’s comfortable online doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Use our handy virtual speakers’ marketplace tool to find the perfect online speaker. Then contact us to get started.

7. Make a snappy video.

People love watching videos. Invest some time and money (if you have it) into creating a fun, engaging video that demonstrates what participants will have in store if they register. Share it all over social media and even send it out in your email invite.

8. Get your attendees to market for you.

When your attendees’ register, provide them lots of links and shareable material that they can use to let their own networks know about the awesome event they just signed up for! Word-of-mouth doesn’t need to be face-to-face—if you can leverage social media sharing, it can be an extremely effective way to get people talking about your event. 

9. Don’t drop the ball. 

The day of your event is an incredibly powerful day to continue marketing and generate interest in your next event. Share lots of snippets and highlights throughout the day. This will give people a taste of what they’re missing and will bring lots of attention to you and your team at the same time.

COVID-19 has likely changed the landscape of the events industry for good. There will be a return to live events again, but online events will be more prevalent than they were before the pandemic. Knowing how to effectively promote your virtual event every time will help position you for more success in the future.

Happy planning!

Did we forget anything? Let us know in the comments.

Enjoyed this article? Here are three more to help you:

Get certified! Become a Certified Virtual Presenter.
Virtual event planning: 8 tips to move your event online last minute.
Ten event planning tips for absolute beginners.

6 Steps For Putting On A Virtual Event That Works

You’ve been thinking about putting on a virtual event for a while now, but haven’t gotten around to it yet. 

Putting on a virtual event can seem really daunting if you’ve never done it before. The technology to learn, the different platforms, how to advertise to an online audience…there are a lot of questions and new things to learn that surround a virtual event. Even if you’re an experienced event planner, putting on a 100 percent virtual event presents a whole new set of issues and problems to troubleshoot and solve.

With current events keeping almost everyone at home to do most of their work and leisure activities online, now is the time to put on your first virtual event.

So, how does one actually put on a virtual event? If you go step by step, it’s not as complicated as you think. 

We’ve broken it down into steps for you, to help you put on your first virtual event without a hitch. 

6 Steps For Putting On A Virtual Event That Works

1. Assess your audience. 

Before you can do anything else you need to know who your audience is. Your audience will decide all the components of your event, from which platform to use, to what topics to focus on, to how to market most effectively. It all comes down to what your audience is so make sure you ask yourself a few questions about who they are, such as what are they interested in? How tech-savvy are they? And how do they interact online? This will help you figure out how to market to them and keep them interested once you have them at your event.

2. Figure out your format.

Just like live events, there are several different configurations to any virtual event so use your now defined audience to decide which one would be best for them. Are they a more passive audience or do they like to interact? Are they skills-based or experience-based? How much time do they have? Based on these and other questions, you can design your event’s format accordingly. Maybe your virtual event will be a single simple seminar with a question-and-answer session at the end. Maybe it will be a complicated multi-event format with plenty of real-time interaction, polling, and audience participation. Use your audience research to decide on what will keep them engaged.

As a professional in the event planning industry, you’re in the perfect position to help your colleagues find the right speakers to make their meetings great! Connect with our SpeakerShare program to learn how you can make a commission from referring speakers!

3. Pick a platform.

Based on your format, now is the time to research your platform options and decide on the one that will best optimize your virtual event, for yourself, your presenter(s) and your audience. Make a list of what you need to make your event a success, find the ones that meet those criteria, and utilize their free trial packages (most online platforms will offer this) to test them out and find which one fits best for you. Don’t forget to keep your audience in mind—will they adapt easily to a new platform, or would a familiar streaming service such as Facebook or Youtube be best for them?

4. Pick your presenters.

As in a live event, having a host and speakers who are engaging, knowledgeable, and quick-on-their-feet is essential. In the case of virtual events, it is also important that your speaker can adapt to an online audience and is tech-savvy enough to troubleshoot tech issues on the spot and engage seamlessly with a virtual audience. 

Are you a speaker? Read this post to learn how to let the world know you can present virtually.

5. Choose your “when and where”.

Just because your event won’t be with a live audience, doesn’t mean you don’t have to commit to a time and place—don’t think that these particulars don’t matter. You can have the most interesting virtual event in the world but it won’t do much good if half of your audience is asleep because you’ve scheduled it in the wrong time zone. So pay attention to your audience and what their needs are, time-wise. You can even poll them to figure out what their optimal time is to commit to an online event. And venue matters, as well. You might be tempted to host in your living room, but keep in mind that your background can make your event look cheaper than it is. Consider renting an office space or boardroom for a more professional presentation.

6. Let the world know!

Okay! You’ve finally got the basics of your virtual event figured out. Time to let the world know! Maximize social media and your mailing list to get the word out in as many ways as possible. Promote as many aspects of your event as you can, including your presenters, your venue and your themes/topics. Don’t forget to use hashtags to maximum effect, and if you’re using a social media platform to stream your event, use that platform for leverage as well.

Good luck with your virtual event! And happy planning.

Looking for the perfect speakers for your virtual event? Search our speaker marketplace here—we’ve even added a new “Virtual Presentation” filter to our search criteria.

Did you find this article helpful? Here are three more you might enjoy:

Corporate event planning: ten tips to make it unforgettable!
Why are these people (still) happy during a pandemic?
Developing the breakthrough mindset and succeeding.

Let The World Know You Can Present Virtually

All of us here at eSpeakers want to send our best wishes to all of you in the speaking industry during this challenging time. These are these unprecedented times in this industry, but there’s something you can do right now

When we see a challenge, we also see opportunity. Many companies are instituting work-from-home policies and social distancing. This new work environment is challenging for many employees, creating a more fragmented workforce and straining company morale.

We believe that you can help ease concerns and boost morale through virtual presentations. We see virtual events becoming extremely popular in the upcoming months.

How is eSpeakers Helping?

We have added “Virtual Presentation” to our search filter on eSpeakers Marketplace and other directories we power. This allows event organizers to find those experts who are able to present virtually using a tool like Zoom. 

We are currently promoting virtual presentations to event organizers around the world as an alternative to live events, and to help build company morale. This is live as you read this, and we are already seeing increased profile views for speakers doing virtual presentations.

How Can You Help?

If you are equipped and capable of presenting remotely using a tool like Zoom, you need to identify that capability in your eSpeakers profile. We’ll take care of the rest.

MARK YOUR PROFILE AS VIRTUAL READY

To be found in the “Virtual Presentation” search filter above, tag your presentation(s) with the “Webinar / Virtual Presentation” presentation type.

You can do this in two ways.

  • Login to eSpeakers and go to MY PROFILE. Then select PROGRAMS and then click edit next to the programs you can present virtually. Once you are in edit mode on your program, click the program type drop-down menu and select WEBINAR / LIVE PRESENTATION. Save your change and now that program will be found when an event organizer searches with the “Virtual Presentation” search filter. The only draw-back to this option is that when all the restrictions are lifted and you go back to your regular business, you may want that program listed under a different presentation type.
  • The other option (preferred) is to add a new program just for virtual presentations. You would add Virtual presentation as the program title, and you would write something like this in the program description. “I can present any of my programs virtually. My office setting is professional and I have high-quality equipment to broadcast my virtual presentation.” You wouldn’t have to make any changes to your existing programs with this option.

If you are ready now to present remotely, take 2 minutes to identify yourself that way on your eSpeakers profile so that you’ll come up when event organizers filter for that.

We have one additional suggestion we have for you: incorporate “epidemics and pandemics” into your Force Majeure terms in cases where a client is hesitant to sign off.  

We’ve faced hard times like this in the past as an industry, and we’ve battled through them together. Here’s to brighter weeks and months ahead. 

Sincerely,

Joseph Heaps & Dave Reed

eSpeakers