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Official Recap: EventNEXT 2021, ViewStub’s One-Day Virtual Conference

Official Recap: EventNEXT 2021, ViewStub’s One-Day Virtual Conference

EventNEXT has been nothing more than a dream at the ViewStub headquarters for the past 2 years. The idea was first brought to the table in 2019 by ViewStub CEO Spencer Elliott. For those who don’t know, ViewStub was actually born from our founding teams love for attending events and unique experiences. Our love for events drove us to work towards solving the problems that most event planners struggle with, and ultimately helped us pioneer the hybrid event format in 2018 with the launch of our platform and software. 

Fast-forward to last week, we successfully hosted our inaugural , with over thirty world-class speakers and thousands of event professionals attending from around the globe. Intended as an educational experience for #EventProfs, EventNEXT was a content hub for strategically approaching the new landscape of the events industry, best practices in event tech, and incorporating a hybrid approach to future events. This experience became a logistical masterpiece, combing live studio sessions with pre-recorded panel discussions, presentations, and much more. 

EventNEXT: Behind The Conference 👨‍💻👩‍💻

As soon as we were in a position to host our own major event, we couldn’t help ourselves. EventNEXT quickly became a talking point around the office before it even had an official name. We secured one of the largest conference centers in Orlando. We began creating promotional materials, sourcing speakers and sponsors, and brainstorming logistics. We even chose the official event date – Summer 2020. Then, like a truck full of bricks, COVID-19 hit the United States. The landscape of our industry was changed forever, and we were forced to postpone our conference until 2021. The entire country assumed COVID-19 would be around for a few months and everything would go back to normal. As we know now, this wasn’t the case. To ensure a safe environment for our guests, we eventually made the decision to pivot our conference to a virtual format for 2021. Don’t worry, this just means we will have to go even bigger next year for EventNEXT 2022. 

Once the format was finalized, we hit the ground running sourcing speakers who would truly provide value to our attendee base, not just fill up a time slot. With the help of our event partners at Scaleable and Mercury Events, the ViewStub Team successfully partnered with over thirty speakers who have a great deal of knowledge in the events space. Additionally, our virtual conference had a top-notch production provided by OPAV, a local partner here in the Central Florida area. 

World Class Speakers and Breakout Sessions 🌎

Live Speakers and Presentations  – While most of our speakers recorded their sessions from around the globe, we wanted to make sure this event felt more like a professional production and not just another Monday morning zoom call. We invited some heavy-hitting speakers like Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington, Epic Sports CEO Matt Haines, and Board of Advisors CEO Mike Calhoun.

Make sure you check out the main stage sessions now streaming on ViewStub!

Pre-Recorded Global Sessions – Since we pivoted to a virtual format, we had some amazing speakers present to our audience from around the world. Some of these pre-recorded sessions include event experts such as Endless Event’s Founder Will Curran, Event Industry News Founder Adam Perry, Evensi CEO Paolo Privitera, and many more. 

Until Next Time ✌️

EventNEXT was a huge success, and we are so thankful to everyone who attended, participated, and presented at our first ever #EventProfs conference! Special thanks to all of our sponsors, event partners, ViewStub CXO Dylan Shinholser, and our entire marketing team.

As we continue to push boundaries in the industry, we can guarantee EventNEXT 2022 is going to be one of the biggest conferences of the year. Stay tuned for an official venue, date, and agenda announcement. 

Before I go, I wanted to remind you that all EventNEXT sessions are now streaming on ViewStub! With so much value to gain, make sure to check out our world-class speaker lineup for free by attending our virtual conference.

About ViewStub

ViewStub is a virtual and hybrid event platform that makes it easy for event organizers to sell tickets to live events or sell access to pre-recorded sessions right from their website. ViewStub‘s all-in-one platform offers ticketing, registration, video streaming and new revenue opportunities for creators seeking to monetize their content and grow their community.

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Viewstub Blog

How to Alleviate the Stress of Planning Hybrid Events

How to Alleviate the Stress of Planning Hybrid Events

Event Masters Interview with Will Curran

EventMASTERS is a weekly podcast dedicated to sharing tips for organizing live events. The podcast is hosted by ViewStub Co-Founder, Patrick VanDusen and live events expert Dylan Shinholser.

In Episode 11 of EventMASTERS, we sat down with Will Curran to talk about the future of hybrid events, the progress made in the industry and how he thinks about them differently. Will shares his insights and a few interesting tips, which we’ve recapped here.

We are looking forward to hearing more from Will as a speaker at EventNEXT on June 4th.

How do you relieve clients who are overwhelmed with organizing hybrid events?

WILL: I feel it all the time from our clients – and that’s very much our mission. It’s our mission is to create the equation, the idea of taking all these complicated tasks and simplifying them into something simple that you can have a great solution for.

Will Curran

Will is Chief Event Einstein and the founder of Endless Events, an AV company unlike any other. He has a passion for the industry and for simplifying the event planning process. He is known as one of the most influential people in the meeting and events industry. He also hosts a weekly podcast, Eventicons where he interviews the icons of the event industry.

Will Curran is a speaker at EventNEXT 2021 – a FREE One-Day Virtual Event on June 4th. Get tips for hybrid events from speakers like Will who are experts in a variety of areas.

Register Today to save your seat for this free event, and earn CMP credits!

This idea of like flattening the stress curve is huge. And I hear it all the time, so I agree a hundred percent that it’s complicated.

But I think the best thing you can do to be able to alleviate that stress, is the perception that no longer can a single event planner can put on an event. Right? We all know about the conference planner who is in charge of everything. But what people don’t realize is that never does just one person plan an event. It took a village; it took a team to pull this off.

So, when you say we’re going to do a conference. Well, first I’m going to have somebody who’s in charge of catering. It’s called the catering manager of the venue. I’m going to have someone in charge of AV. I’m going to have somebody be my speaker manager.

“You cannot expect one person to do it all”

And I think it’s the same way when it comes to hybrid events is that you cannot expect yourself to be able to put on an entire event.

Maybe, you can be the mastermind visionary when it comes into it. But you need someone who’s in charge of the  thinking about the virtual attendee, always thinking of them first. Then someone who’s thinking about the in-person attendees, always thinking about them first. You need somebody who is doing the audio production in person. Then somebody who’s live streaming and handling an audio video production for the virtual element.

You have to build out this vision like a dream team of people to come together. So, it’s not all falling on one single person’s plate. And I know that’s really kind of an easy answer – just build out a team for it.

DYLAN: Well, building a team is hard and a lot of people would say, “I don’t have the team, I don’t have the money. I don’t have the budget.” He just told me I need six new employees or staff on the team. And they’re thinking it’s some convoluted over complicated thing. So, what would you say to that?

 

WILL: I think there’s a couple of different routes that you can kind of go down. Let’s go with the easiest route. You can hire a company that does all this stuff. That’s something that my company does. So that’s my little mini self-plug I’ll put in there, but that’s the easy answer, right? Write a check to one person. They take care of everything.

The next thing is that you can start to bring together, kind of like your dream team of contractors and different companies to be able to do this. The most important thing when it comes to that is you need a way for them to all interface really well together.

For example, when a client says “we have an in-person AV company. They’re just going to take care of everything for our hybrid event.” And I’ll go, well you know, there’s like this whole virtual element that they are going have to worry about too. And all these additional elements, how are they going to work together? And I think a lot of people don’t think about it. That combined effort of contractors and things like that. If they’ve worked together on previous projects, or they referred them to me, it might be a little bit easier.

And then I think like a little bit of the harder route is that, you start to move things in what I call in-house, right. Hiring more employees or hiring a contractor. A technical director who’s going to oversee the live stream and hire maybe another company to do the labor and the equipment and things like that.

So, you have these ways that you can layer in and start to make these investments as they come in. You don’t have to necessarily hire a full-time W2 employee who’s a fixed cost towards your entire event. You can hire individuals who specialize in these different things.

“Start small…
All the best events in the world that are huge – did not start by being huge.”

If you are starting out small, when it comes to your events, let’s say for example, it’s a 100-person event and you have 75 people online, 25 people in person. You’re not talking about running Dreamforce as a conference. We’re not talking about going to that level of having video projection mapping. And, oh, and our event app is going to be the best one out there.

No, start small. Figure out little ways that you can make your way into that and grow. All the best events in the world that are huge – did not start by being huge.

Even if you look at one of my favorite conferences, which is the HubSpot inbound conference. Look at early years of that conference and watch how it evolved into what it is now.

Dreamforce, how did it get to the point where it is today? And Coachella? How did it get to the point where it is today?

You can’t try to go from zero to a hundred, because if you try to do it, you’re going to burn out your budget, burn out your team. And the expectation is going to be really high.

However, if you are one of those people who like got a magic check from an investor who has a ton of money put in, that’s where that first solution is available to you – companies will really help do this for you.

“Start the conversation (with dream vendors), because then you’ll at least know
I can’t afford you,
but now I know where my budget needs to be…”

Or maybe you talk about bringing multiple vendors together, but rely on doing it all on your own. And start just to have conversations with people. Even if you aren’t sure, if you can hire a company that can do all this stuff. At least start the conversation, because then you’ll at least know I can’t afford you, but now I know where my budget needs to be. And I’ll maybe talk to you in three, four years from now, and then boom, you have that vendor in your back pocket.

Or you can just get advice from them to say, what does it take to get to that level? And I think that’s one of my favorite things to do. If I know that I can’t afford a Tesla, it doesn’t mean that I still don’t like to watch YouTube videos about Tesla and things like that.

But I think that what we can’t do is just say, I know, Teslas are too expensive. Maybe I can get one in four years and just ignore it until then.

Instead. I think embrace the vendor that you’re looking at working with, I’m talking about a car, but hopefully it’s a helpful analogy to at least start the conversation.

DYLAN: No, that’s, that’s amazing. I’m with you 100%, a lot of folks maybe don’t have the resources now, but I also tell people start simple for your first event if you don’t have money. Chances are, you’re not throwing a massive event anyway.

You can start at hybrid 1.0 and just live stream it. And we have webcams and cameras and all of this, the technology has risen up to where you could shoot a decent event with like a lavalier mic and an iPad. And it looks good at the end of the day. It’s not obviously TV worthy, but like I always tell people start simple. And I’m with you a hundred percent rely on those sources.

I rely on my vendors. I’m a project manager. I put the right people in the place where they can do what they need to. So, I’m glad you touched on that because a lot of event organizers are going into this thinking, “Oh my God, I have to run two different events at one time.”

And I’m with you. I think someone should be in charge of in-person. Someone should be in charge of virtual. Now, a lot of events, we’re having those two project managers. Two top-down people that are going, I’m going to master your virtual aspect and you do the in person. So, I’m glad you were able to touch on that, because I think a lot of people need to hear that.

Join us for more discussions like this on the next episode of EventMASTERS

EventMASTERS is a live show and podcast dedicated to live events. Hosted by Patrick VanDusen co-founder of ViewStub, and live events expert Dylan Shinholser, the show takes aim at educating and connecting with event professionals on the ideas, tips, tricks and strategies to better plan, market, monetize and host live events. The goal is to take listeners on a journey from being event producers to event MASTERS.

SUBSCRIBE TO THE SHOW:
YOUTUBE | SPOTIFY | PODBEAN

About ViewStub

ViewStub is a virtual and hybrid event platform that makes it easy for event organizers to sell tickets to live events or sell access to pre-recorded sessions right from their website. ViewStub‘s all-in-one platform offers ticketing, registration, video streaming and new revenue opportunities for creators seeking to monetize their content and grow their community.

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Viewstub Blog

Just Announced: The ViewStub Production Studio!

Just Announced: The ViewStub Production Studio!

Organizers have learned a lot about creating online event experiences over the last year. Throughout the chaos of postponing events, transitioning to virtual and converting to hybrid events, organizers have discovered new ideas and creative ways to deliver more event value, both in-person and online.

This year, they’re focusing on the long-term plan for events moving forward which includes looking at ways to increase audience engagement and improve the overall attendee experience in digital environments.

Many of our agency clients are highly successful by concentrating on production value. They are creating well branded, cohesive experiences by going the extra mile with on screen graphics and mixing in presenters throughout the event. Granted these agencies are hosting high-end brand awareness and brand activation events for major brands, but this simple attention to detail translates to any type of event.

You don’t have to have a huge multi-million-dollar budget to create a professional quality event experience. ViewStub is proud to announce that we have launched our new Production Studio – a fully customizable native streaming studio that will allow our event partners to easily produce high-quality experiences right from their account hub. This studio incorporates all of the industry-leading features that streaming services like OBS and StreamYard provide, directly integrated into our platform. By removing the need for these third-party streaming services, ViewStub is now a true one-stop shop for event ticketing, streaming, production, and monetization. Event professionals can easily host, promote, and stream their events all from one central platform. 

Here are some tips to help you add production value to your events with the ViewStub Production Studio:

Live Stream Graphics – Full screen backgrounds or backdrops to enhance the studio appearance.

Lower-third Graphics – These are captions or titles that provide context around the speaker, such as the speaker’s name and title. They can also be used to brand the content with the event logo.

Pre-recorded Videos – Build excitement for the upcoming session with a preview into the content or keep attendees engaged with transitions between events. Add some fun with entertaining 60 second spots that play just before the live broadcast. These can also offer a great opportunity for sponsor exposure, which can be used to cover their cost.

Overlays and Banners – These are great for sponsored content, offering value-added exposure for your sponsors.

Roaming Reporter – Between sessions, cut to a remote reporter on the session floor. Have them interview in-person attendees to give the folks at home a feel for the event.

Ready to Take Your Events to the Next Level?

If you’re ready to up your production value on your events, ViewStub has you covered. The launch of our production studio enables organizers to create a broadcast-quality event experience with cohesive branding, helping event professionals deliver engaging online events all from one platform. 

The ViewStub Production Studio will offer many options to add custom branding with backdrops, lower-third graphics, overlays and banners. Produce your event like a pro – mix presenters, media and screen shares all within the studio. Here’s a look into features of the studio:

  • Mix presenters, media, & screen shares on the fly
  • Have up to 10 presenters on-screen at a time and 25 backstage
  • Multi-user/team member collaboration
  • Customizable backgrounds, overlays, lower thirds, and logo placement
  • Virtual presenters are invited with a simple link
  • Organizers, Moderators, and Presenters can share their screen with one click – and share up to TWO screens at a time
  • Upload VOD for non-live content streaming
  • Content queue for production and program agenda and consistency
  • Recording Capabilities

The ViewStub Production Studio has everything you need to produce an outstanding event within an easy-to-use live streaming solution.

Conclusion

Virtual events have proven their effectiveness over the last 12 months, and they will continue to be a valuable channel for reaching a target audience.

ViewStub’s Production Studio makes it easy to custom brand your event right within the platform. Adding a few graphic elements and planning the online experience can go a long way towards elevating the overall production value and ensuring attendee engagement.

About ViewStub

ViewStub is a virtual and hybrid event platform that makes it easy for event organizers to sell tickets to live events or sell access to pre-recorded sessions right from their website. ViewStub‘s all-in-one platform offers ticketing, registration, video streaming and new revenue opportunities for creators seeking to monetize their content and grow their community.

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Viewstub Blog

Planning Success: Discussion with Cullen Stack from Top 1% Mastermind

Planning Success: Discussion with Cullen Stack from Top 1% Mastermind

ViewStub sat down with Cullen Stack from Top 1% who has been working with Steve Patrick, one of the top roofing industry coaches in the United States. Cullen has done several highly successful events with ViewStub since April of 2020 – view the case study. Patrick VanDusen discusses how they were able to not only pivot to virtual for the first time, but also sellout those events using ViewStub as their virtual event provider.

The following is the transcript from that interview.

Top 1% Mastermind Event Stats:

  • 4 Events in a series
  • 309 Attendees
  • $154k Net Revenue

ViewStub: Can you tell us a little about Steve Patrick’s Top 1% and how they got started?

Cullen: My pleasure, Steve Patrick and his business partner Tony Rougas started Top 1% Coaching & Consulting in 2019. Steve was a contractor himself in the insurance restoration and roofing business in Texas. He partnered with Tony Rougas back in 2015, also successful in the appraisal and umpire space. They started an organization called Level the Playingfield (a Facebook group) to help contractors through their knowledge and wisdom from their many years in the industry.

After bringing in over 10,000 business owners to their group on Facebook, they started Top 1% out of demand from small companies asking them to speak at their events to help drive marketing and sales in the insurance restoration and roofing industry. At that point, they realized they were on to something. They created a business model to help everyone from the small business owner, the mom and pops to larger companies doing hundreds of millions a year in sales.

It’s been really cool to help them to build a brand and monetize their knowledge and wisdom. They love helping people, everyone has a talent and a skillset, and everyone has value. They’re passionate about bringing out that value out of other people in the insurance and roofing space.

 

ViewStub: Previous coaching events were in-person, but you’ve pivoted to virtual events once the virus hit. What were the steps you took to bring them online?

Cullen: Sure, they had been doing one-on-one coaching and speaking at tradeshows and conferences for decades. Top 1% was created in 2019 specifically for these events. We started watching it in December last year.

Then when March rolled around, we had events that we had contracted, paid deposits and booked in some of the major markets out on the road. We usually do 100 – 200 people (business owners) in-person events, educational seminars on GCO/MPE and umpire and appraisal. We were splitting them up, so we’d do one day GCO and MPE then we would do specific markets for the umpire and appraisal training.

I had the idea when this was going on, as we were making the decision to go virtual, I said why don’t we do a 2-day in-person event and bring massive value for attendees. Right about that time, we decided it’s not safe to travel with all that’s going on. We canceled the in-person event.

About that same time, we had connected with Patrick and Spencer at ViewStub and we put our heads together. In a week’s time we had put in the work to build it (the virtual event).

ViewStub: I liked how you guys jumped on board. The whole team was in it to try something new, and to adapt to the marketplace and still provide value to your audience and customers.

 

ViewStub: What were some of the challenges with setting up the structure of the virtual event and what are some of those things ViewStub help you do as well?

Cullen: Obviously, when you’re doing something new there are different timelines and you guys did a great job at communicating and helping us. We had a lot of concerns and questions – it was brand new territory; you don’t know what to expect. The main thing for us was just understanding how to live stream, what proper equipment is needed. I would recommend you do your homework, compare capabilities and components – not just costs but find out what works best as far as equipment. Then understanding how that fits in your budget.

Then it was having the capability to sell access to (what some would consider) a high-ticket live stream and still have the ability to connect and provide the information to the person who’s paying hard-earned money to attend the educational seminar. So, I would say the equipment is super important, then the communication between the organizer and ViewStub, and expressing our needs to you guys and making sure our demographic can use the technology. I’m big on having a story brand, having a vision and creative strategy in place.

Obviously, if it’s your first time it’s not going to be perfect. But put a little time and effort into creating the flow of the information you want to share. Especially if your event is only online and you’re live streaming (no one is there in person) they’re depending on you to relay the information to the best of your ability. That’s part of what they’re paying for is quality. So, having the format laid out really helped us.

We did it in a matter of weeks. As we were promoting it and generating sales and driving traffic to our landing page to sign up, we were doing equal parts with creating the event structure. We wanted attendees to be able to follow along with visuals to go with it.

 

ViewStub: Your marketing is some of the best we’ve seen for an event. Some people will have questions around this given the relatively high-ticket price for a conference and you were still able to pack the live stream event. What advice can you give for a lower end ticket conference to communicate the value of the event. What are some tips you can provide?

Cullen: Great question. I’ve spent 17 years in direct marketing and over a decade in digital. One thing I’ve learned is we all have customers and CRM (Client Relationship Management) tools to log emails, business cards and customer contacts. You should segment them as family, friends, prospects, hot leads, etc. A lot of people meet people and have money sitting in their cell phone and forget about it. I would say from guerilla marketing tactics to CRM tools, to creating a spread sheet if you don’t have a budget (to pay for a CRM tool) you can build a simple process for lead flow and pipeline.

Then figure out how you are going to follow up with them; putting them into an email drip campaign, nurturing them letting them know who you are, what you do and why you are the best. You don’t even need to be selling them, if you really care about someone, you see the value and you want the opportunity to transact and build a customer and drive revenue, then you’re going to do those steps. You’re going to reach out to them, you’re going to give them value and invest time. The people you want to connect with and are going to bring in are also people that you can learn from – not just them learn from you.

One of the techniques I would recommend is guerilla marketing style, look at your cell phone, look at your business cards, look at any and every pipeline that you have when it comes to organic lead gen, not just paid lead gen. That’s going to help you build out a bigger email drip campaign very inexpensively, then you can segment that based on X number of emails, X amount of people you want to touch.

You can do 100 at a time or 1000 at a time. Bite off what you can chew, process, present, communicate. If you have a team that can get on the phone and be relational, it’s going to drive more business, especially the higher the ticket, because people do want that customer service, they do want someone they can put a face to the name, that they can speak to and ask questions.

If they are spending $200 to $300 bucks on a product or service, usually they will want 5 to 10 minutes of your time. They will have a few questions for peace of mind that they know they are getting what they’re paying for. That’s a big tip is have customer service in line – not just through direct messaging and email.

Be relational, not transactional. If you can have a live customer service representative on the line during your business hours, I would say that definitely helps. So, customer service, email drip campaigns, and again look in your cell phone – there’s business in your phone. There are people in your phone that need your help and you haven’t followed up with them enough if they haven’t said “no thank you” or “let’s do it”.

Consider a CRM. Invest the money, there are great CRMs out there. Store all those leads, then hit ‘em with an email drip campaign.

What has been really successful for us, we go after the markets and demographics targeted for our niche. The more niche you are the more you are going to be able to offer your service and product for a higher price. Target your niche and learn how you can service customers in that niche. Run retargeting campaigns with landing pages and funnels targeted by who they are, what they do, and why they’re the best.

Then run an early bird special to drive urgency but show the full price (value of the event). What you’ll find is you will drive a lot of business at the very last minute. People procrastinate, they go on vacation, they live in their bubble. They will come in last week, in the last couple of days. You’ll get a lot of business in that last week. We all want more business at the beginning, not at the end, but you take it when you can get it.

What we’ve learned is by running more retargeting and saving our ad spend budget for paid ads in that last week and a half is really when you want to push it. Also, going back to the CRM it helps that Steve Patrick and Tony Rougas and Level the Playing Field and Top 1%, their coaching and consulting business, and even ViewStub has thousands of contacts they have put into their CRM, so we’ve utilized those contacts to make sales and drive revenue, to be a big component of that success.

We’ve had over 300 of people (show up between the four events). With that (success) came because we had a foundation, we had leads, we put them in a CRM, we put them in an email drip campaign.

All you need is an email on facebook and Instagram, now you can retarget or remarket just with that email address. Those are some tips to try for smaller budget or larger budget, to run a paid ad, run a drip campaign, building out lead flow and ideal prospects and a pipeline of people to engage with to sign up for their event.

Cullen Stack: Tips on Marketing Online Events

  • Consider investing in a CRM to help manage and nurture your leads.
  • Run retargeting campaigns with landing pages based on your sales funnels.
  • Drive urgency with an early bird special – show the full price (value of the event).
  • Focus on your retargeting campaigns early on. Save your ad spend budget for that last push 10 days before the event.

ViewStub: You guys knocked it out with your virtual events over the last few months, but are looking to move back to hybrid (in-person and virtual). What are your thoughts around that and how you will market and sell tickets for them?

Cullen: We’re ready as soon as people become comfortable for in-person events. If they told me 2 weeks from now, that I had 200 people that wanted to meet me to do an in-person event, I’d be there.

We’re ready, we’re excited. Steve and Tony’s core values at Top 1% is to help others. They love to get on stage, have a microphone in hand and have that elbow-to-elbow opportunity to answer questions. On the marketing side, we’re going to go after it aggressively.

There are other things we can put into play when we’re in person (at events). We can’t predict the future, but we’re hoping before the year is over, we’ll be able to get back to our live speaking events and giving people the option to do either (in-person or virtual) events. We’re excited, and we’ll be doing one or two (events) a month if we have it our way.

ViewStub: We’re excited to support you guys along the way. We love working with you guys. We appreciate you sharing some tips for our readers.

Connect with Cullen at Stack Sales @stack.sales on Instagram.

About ViewStub

ViewStub is a virtual and hybrid event platform that makes it easy for event organizers to sell tickets to live events or sell access to pre-recorded sessions right from their website. ViewStub‘s all-in-one platform offers ticketing, registration, video streaming and new revenue opportunities for creators seeking to monetize their content and grow their community.

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Viewstub Blog

Deliver More Event Value by Increasing Attendee Interaction

Deliver More Event Value by Increasing Attendee Interaction

There’s no doubt virtual events present more opportunities for distractions than in-person events. It’s too easy to ‘zone out’, check emails, shop amazon, or just plain log off. Think about it, no one has the guts to get up and walk out at an in-person event just because they’re bored. In-person events are literally a captive audience! Let’s face it, online events have a huge disadvantage but you can overcome it with the right tools and a few tips.

One of the most common mistakes for many first-time organizers is not planning the attendee experience. Attendee interaction has been recognized as an essential element to virtual events – even more now with the many competing online events. Yet, there are different types of interaction to consider; attendee-to-attendee and attendee-to-presenter.

Attendee-to-attendee interaction can be done through a number of ways; 1:1 networking rooms, round table discussions, or a cocktail hour. Any activity that gives your attendees the ability to connect and interact with the other like-minded humans at the event is vital.

Attendee-to-presenter interaction is the holy grail of virtual engagement. Imagine having the ability to ask a question to the presenter in real time, during the live event. Or say you’re hosting a virtual concert and you reach out to your remote fans for a request during the live broadcast.

You can see how important this is, especially while we’re all virtual right now and many of us are starved for interaction. Events that can leverage activities that promote attendee engagement will prevail.

If you’re looking for streaming technology that can improve attendee interaction for online events or virtual conferences, ViewStub has you covered. We recently leveled up our attendee engagement features to give organizers tools to expand audience interaction beyond the physical venue, to create engaging virtual events.

The ViewStub Engagement Panel provides a channel for organizers and attendees to interact all from one central place. Here’s a look at these new features and enhancements:

Toggle between the icons in the engagement panel to use the various features, including making donations during events.
  • Event Media Playlist: The event playlist sits at the top of our Engagement Panel, making it easy for attendees to navigate between event sessions. 
  • Interactive Chat: Interact with attendees during the live performance by asking questions, encouraging discussion, and sharing important links related to your experience. Organizers can take it a step further and personalize direct messages to attendees.
  • 1:1 Networking: Our networking feature allows attendees to connect one-on-one in live video sessions to discuss, collaborate, or network. They can connect with other attendees as if they were actually at the venue. 
  • Live Q & A Sessions: Host valuable “Question & Answer” sessions during your live event, keeping attendees engaged and informed. Ask intriguing questions and make your attendees feel like they are a part of the experience.
  • Live Polls: Poll your live audience and gain valuable feedback about the event experience. Attendees will feel like they are contributing to the success of your event, and will be more likely to attend in the future! 
  • Donations: Attendees can make a contribution to your cause, or donation to your charity directly through the platform. Additionally, the organizer or presenter can thank them for the donation in real-time during the event.
  • Sponsors, Speakers, & Documents: Highlight your sponsors and speakers directly in our engagement panel in front of thousands of virtual attendees. Deliver more value for your partners than ever before. Additionally, attendees will easily have access to downloadable content from the event at the click of a button. 

Recommended Read: What is White Label Video Streaming? Learn how easy it is to customize and brand your live streaming or on-demand video content.

The future for events is hybrid (and virtual). The sooner we address attendee interaction at virtual events, the more effective they will be. It’s challenging, but it’s really just a new way of thinking about and planning events. Get in your attendees’ heads and consider different ways to interact with them to bring more value to the experience. And we’re here to help. Let us know how we can assist you in planning your next online event.

About ViewStub

ViewStub is a virtual and hybrid event platform that makes it easy for event organizers to sell tickets to live events or sell access to pre-recorded sessions right from their website. ViewStub‘s all-in-one platform offers ticketing, registration, video streaming and new revenue opportunities for creators seeking to monetize their content and grow their community.

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The Future of Hybrid Events in 2021

The Future of Hybrid Events in 2021

The world came to a screeching, near-stop in 2020. For safety’s sake, we all had to adapt to a new normal where live events were no longer a possibility.

It’s no surprise that technology has helped event organizers continue to host engaging events for their audiences.

Before the pandemic hit, virtual events were few and far between. Now they’ve become standard even for sports, entertainment, and professional events.

Translating events into digital environments can be tricky, but ViewStub makes virtual events easy for hosts and attendees. We know what it takes to host a professional virtual experience and have the features organizers need to monetize, promote and create branded experiences hosted on their own website.


Read on for our five predictions for hybrid and virtual events in 2021 and beyond.

1. Virtual Events Are Here to Stay

Even as more folks get vaccinated and case numbers go down, the pandemic isn’t over, and live events as they were pre-pandemic won’t be seen for a long time to come.

Event organizers have quickly evolved to hosting virtual events. They have overcome the learning curve and are realizing the previously overlooked benefits to live streaming video hosted events.

Over the last nine months, we’ve seen major progress with virtual events. They are more engaging, gaining higher attendance, and technology has evolved with them.

Virtual events open up new markets of attendees. People who live across the country and the world can enjoy your event without having to worry about traveling. Organizers can now market their events to a global audience for a minimal cost. They are no longer limited to their physical locations and venue capacities. With hybrid events, the reach is now infinite.

2. In-Person Events Will Make a Comeback

Nothing can replace the in-person interaction; but, until the pandemic is under control, organizers will need to have options for attendees with different preferences.

Hybrid ticketing will be key to offering flexibility for both virtual and in-person attendance. Organizers will seek virtual technology that can integrate with registration platforms to consolidate attendee data.

As venues open up again, live streamed event hosting will continue to provide a front and center experience for digital attendees. Complete customization of the video player through white label solutions will be an expectation providing a well branded experience for online events.

3. Hybrid Events Will Offer More Attendee Interaction

Gone are the days of live streaming an event from the back of a conference room. The key to success for virtual events is attendee interaction. Above all other factors, networking and engagement were one of the biggest challenges for organizers in 2020.

Despite this, more and more events are exploring new ways of interacting with remote attendees. There are now options to bring them “on stage” during the event for Q&A sessions and other easily-integrated activities.

Virtual attendees are able to interact one-on-one with the speaker, host or performer and include an option to make a donation within their virtual platform.

Another way to create engaging virtual events is to encourage attendees to connect in chat rooms. Chat rooms allow interaction with other attendees and with hosts, providing a space for conversation and appreciation.

Attendees will also be pleased with video-on-demand options that allow them to playback an event they might have missed.

4. Hybrid Event Platforms Will Continue to Evolve to Meet the Demands of Organizers

We all experienced a saturation of virtual events in 2020. Some were better than others. Organizers scrambled to convert their conferences and professional events, even sports and entertainment-focused events stepped up to the challenge.

But just hosting an event online isn’t enough. Today’s planners are looking to improve the virtual experience for attendees. They are planning the virtual and in-person experience in parallel. They are shifting away from the typical Zoom call type of event towards one that immerses all attendees in the experience.

Platforms that focus on the attendee experience, provide effective sponsorship opportunities, and allow full customization will prevail.

Many other specific features have surfaced, such as flexible ticketing. Organizers have pushed technology platforms to offer subscriptions, donation-based tickets, and even season pass tickets for their attendees. We expect to see many more robust features generated out of necessity.

Organizations will use virtual content to drive website traffic. Private label video players that allow seamless branding and customization will be a new channel for marketing professionals.

5. Event Budgets Will Increase to Accommodate Virtual Events

Nobody could have predicted the need for virtual events in 2020 budgets. Many professionals have seen the huge potential for bringing events into the digital sphere, and revised their strategy to invest in content creation and virtual events.

Now that organizers are allocating more of their marketing dollars to their virtual event experiences, they now have a chance to increase profitability. Hybrid event options will offer the potential to once again make the same margin of profits from in-person ticket prices.

In 2021, the Events Industry Will Be Redefined

We believe that in-person events will come back strong, but virtual attendance will continue to remain mainstream.

With hybrid event planning, both in-person and virtual attendees can be engaged in meaningful ways. Planners just need the right mindset and tools.

The transition from in-person to hybrid and virtual events has been jarring, but ViewStub is here to make hosting easier! Check out our solutions for ticketing, marketing, and streaming for virtual and hybrid events today.

About ViewStub

ViewStub is a virtual and hybrid event platform that makes it easy for event organizers to sell tickets to live events or sell access to pre-recorded sessions right from their website. ViewStub‘s all-in-one platform offers ticketing, registration, video streaming and new revenue opportunities for creators seeking to monetize their content and grow their community.

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What is White Label Video Streaming?

What is White Label Video Streaming?

White labeling has become popular in software over the last decade. Often, it’s the quickest way to get a product to market with a minimal investment.

As it relates to virtual events, white label video streaming enables organizations to broadcast their live or on-demand video (VOD) content without distraction from logos or advertiser links in the video player. A white labeled virtual event delivers a professional quality and a consistently branded experience that can integrate into your own website.

What is a white label?

White label refers to products that are made by one company then repackaged and sold by another company under a different brand name. In most cases, the second company will customize with their own branding, colors and messaging – resulting in a product that appears to be produced by the brand under which it is sold. In simple terms, “white label” refers to something without branding.

White labeling has been around for years. Some say the term originated from the music business. You see, back in the day before a record was released to the public, promotional copies were made and distributed in a white sleeve. These white labeled records were then sent to radio station DJs and nightclubs to gauge interest prior to creating the final album artwork and packaging. This allowed record companies to better estimate the demand and produce in appropriate quantities.

White labeling exists in many other areas and may also be called a private label. If you have ever shopped at Walmart, you may have noticed a brand called “Great Value”. These products are created by various manufacturers then repackaged and sold under the Great Value brand. These private label brands are presented on store shelves side-by-side with similar name brand products. However, this lesser-known brand is typically priced cheaper than the nationally known brand, mainly because they don’t spend any money on advertising or promotion.

White labeled solutions for virtual events on the other hand, are purpose-built to make it easy to customize the video player with your own branding for a cohesive experience you can host on your own website.

Here’s how a white label works for virtual event platforms:

  1. Company A, develops a virtual event software product, then sells the use of that product to Company B.
  2. Company B integrates the white label video player on their own website, then customizes the look and feel to match the event or organization’s branding.
    Company B could also be an agency that resells white label video streaming to their customers.

Either way, the white label provides a seamless experience for viewers, customers or attendees.

Why consider a white label virtual event?

When shopping for a virtual event platform, many consider a white label solution strictly for the branding customization. This is important for hosting conferences branded with the company logo or even streaming sporting events with the team’s logo and color scheme. But white labeling also provides many additional benefits beyond maintaining brand consistency and eliminating confusion with third-party logos. Here are a few more reasons to consider white label streaming.

Saves Time

A white label video streaming solution saves organizers time and money by using a product that already exists. And, a plug and play white label solution typically doesn’t require a technical background to get up and running. In most cases, installing a white label video player is as easy as dropping a few lines of code onto your website.

Control

White labeling a virtual event delivers more control over the narrative of the event. Organizers own the event production, not the third-party company. Many solutions also integrate a payment gateway to provide a safe and secure method to sell tickets and control who has access to the event. Unique codes provide exclusive access to paid ticket holders or registered attendees.

Monetization

Newer platforms offer an integrated paywall to enable organizers to handle payments within the white label player. Viewers can easily pay for video content before they access it or even make a donation. This pay-per-view access works for both live streaming content or video on-demand (VOD) playback as a way to monetize virtual events. Integrating payments gives organizers control over pricing, and also enables them to leverage promo codes and affiliate marketing to help promote attendance to the event.

See how Operation Smile raised over $250k during their Smiles Across the Miles virtual fundraiser.

Website Traffic

Driving website traffic is a fundamental goal for most marketers. And, white label video hosting on your own website allows organizations to drive more traffic to their site and keep visitors on their site vs. sending them to a third-party platform. Take the credit you deserve for your awesome content with a spike in qualified website traffic that you can retarget later.

Conclusion

Events are extensions of your brand, and customization is vital to their success. White label video streaming is the best way to broadcast, control and monetize video content. It delivers a professional quality streaming experience, without having to build a solution from scratch. Organizations can customize the video player with their branding and color scheme then host it on their own website. And the final product appears to be their own.

 

About ViewStub

ViewStub is a virtual and hybrid event platform that makes it easy for event organizers to sell tickets to live events or sell access to pre-recorded sessions right from their website. ViewStub‘s all-in-one platform offers ticketing, registration, video streaming and new revenue opportunities for creators seeking to monetize their content and grow their community.

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Top 10 Essentials to a Successful Virtual or Hybrid Event

Top 10 Essentials to a Successful Virtual or Hybrid Event

Since the spring of 2020, virtual event platforms have emerged as the hero for keeping organizations and businesses connected to their communities. Events large and small have quickly moved to virtual environments. And organizers are reaping the many of the benefits like connecting with a wider audience and saving attendees time and money by eliminating travel to and from the event.

As in-person events slowly begin to come back at reduced capacity, the virtual component will continue to bolster them for many reasons. First, we’ve proven we can do it. The world today has quickly become conditioned to digital alternatives. Business travel will be slow to rebound with liability concerns and reduced travel budgets. Therefore, organizers are adapting to the hybrid model for their events.

Some of the biggest challenges event organizers still face with hybrid and virtual events is making them profitable, creating value for attendees and just plain translating their events into the digital environment. So, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 essentials for planning a virtual or hybrid event.

1. Plan the Virtual Attendee Experience

Even though in-person and remote attendees are taking in the same content from the event, the experience will be different for both. Think about how fans watch a sporting event. The live audience experiences the game surrounded by cheering fans and vendors selling food and beverages – I can smell the popcorn now! They are watching a live event, so if they look away for a few seconds they might miss a crucial play. On the other hand, the fans at home are greeted by the commentators at the beginning of the broadcast. There may be a reporter on the sideline to update fans on an injured player or interview a coach on their strategy. And they won’t miss a crucial play because they will get a replay after nearly every play. You see, there are two different experiences, even for professional events.

Customize the experience for the folks at home. For example, have a moderator in a studio recapping the sessions and revealing what’s coming up next. Plan for content between breaks – broadcast short video vignettes with industry experts during breaks. As another approach, have a roaming reporter interviewing in-person attendees between sessions.

2. Sell Attendance to Online Viewers

There are numerous reasons you should charge a fee to attend your event virtually. For one thing, it ensures access to only your registered attendees. But more importantly, no one values anything that is free. If they didn’t pay for it, there is no perceived value. People who pay for a ticket are more likely to attend your event because they are vested. And they are more likely to participate and engage in your event. If you are charging your in-person attendees, you should also be charging admission to virtual attendees. So, put an amount to the cost for virtual entry. Additionally, you are saving them time and money they would have spent on traveling to the event location to receive this content.

Think it can’t be done? See how Steve Patrick’s Top 1% Mastermind brought in over $154k through a series of 4 online events.

Make it clear that you are offering virtual attendance, what’s included, how they can view it; on-demand or live streaming access. Create multi-tiered or VIP tickets that provide access to upsell sessions. If you are broadcasting a series of events such as weekly sporting events, consider offering a season pass to capture more sales. Highlight all the benefits to attending virtually to paint the picture of your online experience in your pre-event promotion.

3. Establish the Vibe of the Live Event for Remote Attendees

Close the gap between in-person and virtual attendees. If you’re hosting a multi-day conference, capture footage of the live experience; the arrival, registration, networking, breaks between sessions, walking into the general session, etc. Use this footage to create daily video spots to broadcast online between sessions to give online viewers a taste of the onsite ambiance. Besides, you should be capturing footage to use to promote next year’s event.

Create a pre-event video showing landmarks in and around your event’s destination to use as the establishing shot for your introduction to your remote attendees. Your convention and visitor’s bureau should provide stock footage that you can use.

4. Create a Remote Charity Event

Everyone feels good about supporting a cause, and most people won’t hesitate to donate to a justifiable effort. Adding a charity component to your event raises awareness for the cause, plus contributes money to support the effort. It shows you took the time to lead the efforts to assist those in need, which can also help you earn brand loyalty.

Create an online experience that will resonate with your audience such as exclusive access to a Q&A session with an industry expert, or sell raffle tickets for a meet & greet with a celebrity speaker. Set a goal for contributions and communicate the status of reaching that goal during the event. Generate excitement upon reaching that goal and make it happen.

5. Sell Replay Access to Key Sessions on your Website

Create a digital library of your event content to nurture website visitors to attending the full event next time. Replays are great for educational events, giving attendees the opportunity to watch at their convenience. They’re also an excellent way to grow a fan base for entertainment events. Wait, why would you do that? Won’t that jeopardize attendance for next year’s event? Nope. First of all, I said “key sessions”. You’re giving your website visitors an appetite for your event content. And you’re selling on-demand access to this content – demonstrating perceived value.

6. Collect Data on Virtual Engagement

One huge benefit to online events is that you can easily capture all kinds of data. Organizers jump through hoops to gather data from in-person events, which is even more of a struggle when it’s collected from different sources and platforms. Virtual attendee data on the contrary, is already digitized.

Use this data to learn more about your audience, how you can improve on your events, where and how you should be promoting your events. Data is valuable to sponsors as well – number of impressions, clicks and firmographic segmentation are all important to them. Create value for your sponsorship packages through your valuable attendee data.

7. Leverage Advocates, Partners and Speakers to Promote the Event

Expand your reach into your community. Create affiliate links for industry advocates and partners to promote the event. Track the success of their efforts and offer a referral incentive on those tickets sold. Encourage your speakers to promote their sessions to their social media audiences and marketing channels to maximize attendance.

8. Event Branding (and white label)

Leverage your online event to promote brand awareness. This is super important for the digital version of your event. Consistent event branding reinforces your message and helps grow brand advocacy.

When selecting a virtual platform, explore customization features like changing the user interface to your brand colors. Consider a platform that allows you to white label your video stream and embed your virtual event on your own website. Create an immersive experience that enables attendees to live and breathe your brand.

9. Amp Up the Virtual Interaction

One main reason people attend events is to interact with others in their industry. Supplement virtual attendee interaction by adding various opportunities to provide feedback throughout the viewing experience. Consider how social media apps make it easy to provide feedback within their platforms; “like” buttons, the “thumbs up” emoji, fields that allow brief comments, etc.

Here are a few additional ways to create simple interaction:

  • Ask trivia questions throughout the event
  • Test knowledge after each session with a pop quiz
  • Poll attendees between sessions

The key is to make it easy to interact, then post the results in real time.

 

10. Live Stream a Kickoff of the Virtual Event

Host a live kickoff the day before the event. This is a great way to get everyone excited and in the mindset for the event. Have an industry expert or celebrity speaker make an appearance or have a Q&A session. Send out a pre-event survey and reveal the results at the kickoff. Offer sponsorship for the kickoff and include a game or group activity for unique sponsor exposure. It’s also one more opportunity to upsell your VIP passes before the event. The kickoff event should be fun and memorable.

Many of these tips will work with just about every event type. Consider adding a few of these ideas to improve the experience of your next event.

Final Thoughts

As the world continues to lean on technology to push businesses forward and keep us all connected, virtual and hybrid events will continue to play a key role. Planning the virtual experience for your hybrid event just takes a little time and creativity. Get out there and make your event your own. Speak to one of our event specialists to see how ViewStub can help you reach your event goals.

About ViewStub

ViewStub is a virtual and hybrid event platform that makes it easy for event organizers to sell tickets to live events or sell access to pre-recorded sessions right from their website. ViewStub‘s all-in-one platform offers ticketing, registration, video streaming and new revenue opportunities for creators seeking to monetize their content and grow their community. 

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How Live Streaming Supports Hybrid Events

How Live Streaming Supports Hybrid Events

Live streaming events have grown in popularity in 2020, mainly because of their ability to connect with an audience from any physical location on top of their potential to reach wider audiences. Since the pandemic, live stream events have grown exponentially and they’re not slowing down any time soon.

What is live streaming?

Live streaming the practice of broadcasting event video live, as it is taking place providing virtual attendees access to the experience in real-time. Live streaming event formats typically offer exclusive access to content as it is released to the general public. Streaming is great for building excitement for well anticipated events like a live concert, product launch reveals or sporting events. And, live streaming is ideal for audiences who don’t have the option to travel to the location or when the venue capacity is full.

As cities and countries around the world are easing up on gathering restrictions, event organizers are beginning to offer in-person events with limited attendance alongside the option to attend them in virtual environments. For many of these events, live streaming has become the preferred alternative to in-person and has actually helped to improve hybrid events in many ways.

In this article, we will discuss the top 6 ways live streaming supports hybrid events.

1. Interact with your virtual audience

People attend events to interact with others in their industry or areas of expertise. This is why by supplementing virtual attendee interaction with various opportunities to provide feedback throughout the viewing experience enhances the experience and creates demand for future events. Unify the virtual audience into the in-person experience through structured interactions.

Here are a few additional ways to create simple interactions for the folks at home:

  • Ask trivia questions throughout the event
  • Test knowledge after each session with a pop quiz
  • Poll attendees between sessions

2. Create FOMO (fear of missing out)

Anticipation builds leading up to any live event. Live streaming an event is great for the surprise factor. So, if you are launching a product or revealing new technology streaming is a great way to make an announcement to everyone all at once. Attendees no longer need to be there in-person to experience every moment. With live streaming, virtual attendees are there, front and center.

While the live event may have unique experiences such as a confetti drop, pyrotechnics or surprise celebrity guest. You can create an excitement formula for the live-streaming attendees by interacting with them live as if they were in-person participants.

Tips to engage remote attendees in a live-streaming event:

  • Select a handful of virtual attendees to join live on screen
  • Allow attendees to communicate through a live chat to share their ideas and enthusiasm for the event
  • Create a countdown to the launch of the event – tease or provide clues around the surprise moment

3. Build a personal connection

For many organizers, creating engaging virtual events continues to be a challenge. Instead, use live video to your advantage. Create a more personal connection between the presenter and audience by addressing them directly into the camera, as if you were talking directly to them. And, allow viewers to answer back on screen through a conversation-style experience.

Keep the virtual audience engaged by providing this sense of community. This will improve repeat attendance and help create advocates that are likely to recommend the event to their networks.

Here a few additional tips:

  • Analyze and discuss the poll results
  • Give feedback and answer questions asked virtually
  • Set up a camera for on-stage closeups

4. Get real time feedback

Request feedback from the virtual audience. Then allow the virtual audience to have a collective voice at the event by posting the feedback immediately. Use this feedback to create a sense of community around the event. You will also build trust through this transparency and authenticity. Adjust the conversation in real time based on the audience feedback. Use this valuable input to make improvements on future events.

Consider the following tips:

  • Organize surveys or polls, sprinkle them throughout the event
  • Offer feedback on the results and encourage attendees to participate
  • Create a feeling of connection between you and the attendees

5. Grow your audience potential

Not everyone can meet at the same place at the same time, especially during a health crisis. Live streaming your event enables organizations to reach a broader audience that might not be able to make the trip to the physical event. Streaming the event ensures everyone can attend even as restrictions on travel or gathering limitations change leading up to the event.

Concerned that live streaming will reduce physical attendance? Live streaming an event has been known to create raving fans as well as demand for the in-person event. The NFL is a good example of that. Another example of event growth comes from the highly anticipated music and art festival, Coachella. This massive multi-weekend event typically sells out within a matter of days. But in 2012, after streaming the previous year’s event online, the festival sold out in just three hours! It continues to see high-demand years later.

The bottom line is, live-streaming offers attendees the option to view the event without having to be there physically. Yet for organizers, live streaming can help build awareness and grow demand for the in-person event in the future.

Further tips for growing the audience:

  • Add details on the event such as the agenda, topics, and speakers
  • Create a structure of gamification and award the winners during the event
  • Capture behind-the-scenes footage, testimonials or Q&A sneak-peaks to promote future events

Recommended Read: Virtual Event Formats – A comprehensive summary of the virtual event formats and how they match up with goals and objectives for different types of virtual and hybrid events.

6. Separate your organization from your competitors

Streaming a live event is a bold move for bold organizations. Leverage it as a marketing tactic to grow market share or just make a statement. Be the first in your industry to live stream your event. Consider a white label video streaming solution that you can customize and host on your own website. Either way, leverage hybrid events to grow your audience and engage virtual attendees through live-streaming.

Bonus Tip: Monetize content after the live event. Engaging with your audience doesn’t have to end with your live event. Connect year-round with your community by selling on-demand access to individual sessions through a digital library of your event content.

 

Final thoughts

In today’s world, where nearly half of the population uses online tools, live-streaming has the potential of growing virtual attendance as well as in-person tickets. Global adoption of virtual events is effectively helping organizations extend their reach and accelerate growth.

About ViewStub

ViewStub is a virtual and hybrid event platform that makes it easy for event organizers to sell tickets to live events or sell access to pre-recorded sessions right from their website. ViewStub‘s all-in-one platform offers ticketing, registration, video streaming and new revenue opportunities for creators seeking to monetize their content and grow their community.

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Virtual Event Formats – Match Your Format with Your Event Goals

Virtual Event Formats – Match Your Format with Your Event Goals

Seemingly without warning, professional events, conferences and in-person meetings across the globe have transformed events into virtual and hybrid environments. No one knows how long it will be before in-person events are back to full capacity. On the positive side we all have quickly learned new skills, specifically adapting to technology to replace our physical worlds. Event organizers are lucky, virtual event technology was primed for this pivotal opportunity to shine. Good timing too, as many believe that virtual and hybrid events are here to stay.

What is a virtual event?

A virtual event is similar to an in-person event where people gather to connect with others of similar interests, to share ideas or consume educational content. In contrast to in-person events that take place at a physical venue, virtual events provide a destination for the gathering in an online environment. 

Hybrid events offer a combination of both physical and online destinations for the event. Attendees have the option to join the live event at the venue, or they can choose to attend virtually. It’s the best of both worlds, as it just requires adding a camera crew to the existing event then creating the virtual environment. Many organizers are seeing higher attendance to their events by offering this flexibility between physical and virtual environments.

Before setting out to plan your virtual or hybrid event, start by defining the goals and objectives. There are many different underlying reasons to host an event, from engaging a community, growing a brand, creating an educational experience, to generating leads for a product. Clearly defined goals will help you design your content delivery regardless of whether your event is held in a physical or virtual environment. 

Virtual event solutions have evolved to meet the goals for just about any type of event. So, here’s the rundown of the different formats and how they might best meet your objectives:

Live Stream:

(just like it sounds) Live streaming is where your content is broadcast live as it is taking place – giving virtual attendees the experience in real-time. They can provide exclusive access to content as it is released to the general public. Live streams are great for building excitement for well anticipated events like a live concert, product launch reveals or sporting events. Live streaming is ideal for audiences who don’t have the option to travel to the location or when the venue capacity is full.

Ideal for: alternatives to in-person events, product launches, entertainment experiences, live games or sporting events.

Tip: Consider how you want to deliver this experience, broadcasting from a studio (moderator in a news room setting) or live from a location at the event. Explore different camera angles to add to the visual interest or switch it up with commentary from speakers at various locations. 

Webinar:

A format where attendees tune in virtually to view content presented by one or multiple hosts. Webinars are typically single sessions that can be broadcast live or on-demand. They are well suited for content that is delivered to a large remote audience and presentations that don’t require much interaction. Speakers can broadcast from remote locations, connecting online or through mobile devices. 

 

Ideal for: e-learning events, training sessions, sales kick-offs, user conferences

Tip: Offer real-time Q&A sessions to allow attendees to ask the speaker questions. Have a moderator review questions as they come in, to eliminate duplicates and prioritize.

Panels and Forums:

This format involves a group of people gathered to discuss a topic in front of the audience. Typically, the entire group is visible on screen at any given time, whether they are all together ‘on stage’ or as individual headshots on screen. Ideally, the technology should highlight the person who is speaking so the audience knows which speaker is commenting at any given time. Although this format is intended for a discussion among a set group, organizers should allow the audience to send questions to the group. 

Ideal for: business, or educational conferences, industry discussions, fan meet & greets, interviews and debates.

Tip: Consider a variety of speakers before selecting the panel. Specifically look for participants with diverse views and perspectives to stimulate thought-provoking discussion. Panel discussions work well with a moderator to keep the session on track and ask the right questions to drive the discussion.

Breakout Sessions:

These are a series of sessions that separate attendees into smaller groups for more detailed discussions. Sessions can be used to segment attendees and enable them to interact and discuss specific areas of content learned at the event. Attendees typically choose the sessions to attend based on individual interest resulting in higher levels of engagement.

Ideal for: e-learning events, workshops, brainstorming, role play, discussions, networking 

Tip: Breakout sessions allow you to address a variety of topics to a targeted audience. Consider recording these sessions and offering a playback of these sessions on your website for attendees to explore at their convenience.

Keep in mind for hybrid events, the majority of the content will be consumed by both in-person and virtual attendees, so any interactive activities may come off differently in the virtual environment. Create an audience engagement strategy for remote attendees with alternative ways for them to interact such as breakout streams, virtual networking and polls. 

 

Organizers and attendees around the world are looking forward to resuming in-person events, but the outlook for the event industry is uncertain at this moment. For the time being, everyone from event organizers, businesses to entertainers and sports teams are quickly adapting to the new normal for events by adding virtual alternatives to in-person attendance. Fortunately, there are a number of virtual event platforms and high-tech tools that are prepared to help create engaging virtual and hybrid events.

Recommended Read: Translating in-person events into virtual environments is a big challenge for event organizers. Here’s our list of the top 10 tips for planning virtual and hybrid events.

About ViewStub

ViewStub is a virtual and hybrid event platform that makes it easy for event organizers to sell tickets to live events or sell access to pre-recorded sessions right from their website. ViewStub‘s all-in-one platform offers ticketing, registration, video streaming and new revenue opportunities for creators seeking to monetize their content and grow their community.