Production Management 101: Everything You Need for Your Hybrid Virtual Event to Succeed
Thinking of moving your educational conference online? Hoping to still go ahead with your trade show, but digitally? Want to offer virtual panels to enhance the learning experience of your employees?
With the world being uncertain of when we can once again gather in large groups, it is a positive step forward to consider the alternatives available to execute an event on a different platform – online! Virtual events have been proven to be just as effective as in-person and can still help to achieve the business goals you set out to meet with your original event. Westuc.com found that “… those who had previously experienced an online or virtual event were also 29 percent more likely to prefer them over in-person events.” So, if you are looking to take your event online, now is the time! Wondering what you will need to execute a large-scale hybrid virtual event? Here is your production management 101 for virtual event success!
Understand Your Event Goals/Purpose
Are you hosting your event for the education of those in your industry? Is your overarching goal to gain exposure for your business? Or are you hoping that by hosting an event, you can network and build new relationships for potential partnerships? Whatever your motives are for hosting an event, you need to be clear on EXACTLY what you are seeking to accomplish. This is something that needs to be done before any of the scheduling, vendor selection, event marketing, or booking begins. Because without an event goal, you will be blindly creating a gathering of people that serves little to no purpose – and people will notice.
For example, if your goal is to build relationships and allow opportunities for networking, you would NOT want to simply set up Zoom sessions with participant videos off. You may as well just tell everyone to sign in and put the speaker on mute while they go about doing other more important tasks. You need to consider what your goal is and identify HOW you can achieve those goals using a virtual approach, and then use that messaging to attract the right crowd. What is the best platform to inspire conversations? Is there a key speaker who is gifted in facilitating discussions? Would attendees be interested in chat room options? KNOW your event purpose and allow that to be your guide on implementation tools and tactics!
Using an Organized Virtual Event Platform
It is critical that you use a virtual event platform that has the functionality needed for your style of event. Hint: You will need to look for one that takes your event beyond logging into a call and joining/listening to a discussion (although these are great for meetings, hybrid virtual events need to be taken a few steps further!). It would do no good if an attendee ‘walked through the doors’ and was only able to view one conference panel and had no opportunity to discuss with those around them. The same goes for an online virtual event! You need to offer an opportunity for attendees to watch, network, join raffles, have conversations, access content, and enjoy other engagement opportunities.
Not sure how to accomplish all of this? Platforms such as EventMobi are available to take your event beyond simple livestreamed webinars. These online platforms will engage your audiences and, as EventMobi boasts, will help you “plan, promote, monetize and stream an engaging, interactive online experience.” Other virtual event platforms include:
Depending on the platform used, there are various features available such as a virtual event spaces, technical support, virtual exhibitor booths, poll opportunity, chat rooms, and professional production services to ensure that users can actively interact while also accessing the different parts of your event.
Integrating All of the Virtual Elements
When planning an event, there are an abundance of elements you need to consider: your event website, how guests will register, keeping attendees informed via emails and email marketing, creating an event app for users, and much more. With all of these moving parts, you need to guarantee that your attendees aren’t getting lost in the mix of it all. We all know a few technically-challenged individuals who would refuse to attend simply because there were too many online factors to manage. Your event cannot have seven different links that each navigate to seven different sites – users will give up! The event needs to be streamlined and should integrate all of the parts into one easy-moving machine, as if they were at a physical event. Every small tech ‘detail’ connects to a single ‘queen bee’ who runs the hive so that the event experience is easy to use for anyone, of any age, from anywhere, with any device!
Hire a Production Manager
Does the thought of managing various platforms, solving technical problems, and coordinating hundreds of people online make you feel weak in the knees? Then a production manager is the solution you’re looking for. These event industry professionals are here to ensure that all of the details create a seamless experience for your attendees. Our team at Details! has over 30 years of experience in the production management realm, and we know exactly how to ensure that your content is set up to be broadcast to hundreds or thousands of screens, how to ensure that your keynote speaker’s audio and visual are in perfect working order, and how to coordinate all the tech and coordination aspects to make your event flawless!
Hire an Event Technologist
If your management is under control, but your skills at digital problem solving and implementation are sub par, an event technologist is the person you will be looking to add to your team (find out what they do here!). Different than a production manager, an event technologist understands the latest digital event trends and knows how to effortlessly enhance the experience while staying within your budget. If you can find an event technologist as a part of the same company as your production manager, that is ideal! Our event technologist is skilled at capturing all the moving parts and making sense of them as a whole!
Other Questions to Ask to Ensure Success
When planning a hybrid virtual event, there is much that needs to be considered. Sure, you don’t have to worry about the hired vendors, the caterers, and the venue restrictions, but you do need to be thinking about all of the other elements that could make or break your occasion. While you are planning your event, ask yourself:
- When is the best time to host this event for the highest attendance?
- Is my team ready to handle a larger-scale digital event?
- Will my event be available for internal or external audiences?
- How can I digitally market my event to encourage greater attendance?
- What content is of most value to my target attendees?
- Will the content of the event be pre-recorded or livestreamed?
- Am I using the best technology to provide a quality event?
- What is my backup plan if there are connectivity problems?
- Will there be a team available to assist attendees with digital issues?
- Do I have the right people in place to manage the demands of a hybrid event?
- How long will virtual sessions be? What is the attention span of my audience?
- What platforms would my audience be most comfortable using?
- Should my event feature sponsors? Are there advertising opportunities?
Asking yourself these questions will help to determine whether you have addressed all of the features and essential small pieces to make it a digital success!
Ready to get planning an online powerhouse? Now is the perfect opportunity to transform your cancelled event into an online gathering that will inspire, educate, connect, and entertain guests from all over!
Need help with event planning/production or technology management? Send Details! a message and let’s begin creating an event worth remembering!