What is Virtual Event Planning?
Virtual events are anything from an Instagram Live or Reddit AMA to webinars, online workshops, and entire conferences hosted online. No matter the size of your virtual event, planning ahead is needed to get the word out and prep for the event. Virtual event planning should include:
- Marketing, such as social media posts, emails, and paid ads for platforms like Google and social media sites
- Developing the event content
- Creating event assets ahead of time, including slide decks, graphics, or any pre-recorded video or audio
Why You Need Virtual Event Planning
Virtual event planning helps give an event shape. While virtual events don’t always need to be as structured and formal as an in-person event, a plan helps get the word out and structure the event so there’s a defined topic and purpose. Event planning also gives you and your team time to test the platform you’ll be using and work out the bugs so you’re not met with basic technical difficulties that can make an event appear disorganized or unprofessional.
How to Get Started with Virtual Event Planning
- Pick your topic: What is your event going to be about, and who in your target audience is interested in that topic?
- Pick a platform and format: Where will you be hosting your event? Will it be on social media or through a video conferencing platform? Consider the topic when choosing your platform. How much time will you need to cover the topic, and how much do you want your audience involved? If you want a lot of options for audience participation, a social media live stream might be a good option, but if you want a moderated Q&A, video conference platforms, like Zoom, are a better option.
- Outline your event: What will the flow of the event look like? Will you have a presentation and then breakout into smaller groups for discussion? What are the finer points about your topic that you plan to cover? While you may not need a script that dictates every word, develop a detailed outline of the points you intend to cover and put them in logical order.
- Tell people about your event: Spread the word about your virtual event on your website, on social media, through email marketing and paid digital advertising. You can also post in forums and other online groups for your industry to get the word out. Having your internal team share posts with their networks can help drive signups, too.
- Get your event materials ready: Build out your slide deck, prepare seed questions for a Q&A, and test your platform, if possible. Ensure your equipment, like cameras, microphones, and computers, are functioning and will work for the platform you’re using. Rehearsing a few times can help, too, and run through any presentations with someone else on your team to get a little feedback ahead of time.
- Don’t forget about follow-up: You’ve likely collected some contact information from your event. Make sure you follow up with your attendees! If you hosted a webinar, send them a recording of the event with thanks for attending. You may develop a post-event nurture workflow that gives your attendees more information about the topic, like blogs, ebooks, or other content you’ve developed. You may send attendees information about connecting with your sales team if your event was focused on leads closer to making a purchase.