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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

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

How Sports Teams Are Building a Loyal Fanbase in 2021

How Sports Teams Are Building a Loyal Fanbase in 2021

Each year has its defining moments, but 2020 will be one we won’t forget for a while. Who could have predicted just about every sporting event would be canceled or postponed – including the 2020 Olympics!

While they are carefully planned, some sports have returned in a reduced capacity. We need sports. The athletes need them as well as the fans. With restrictions and guidelines on public gatherings, many sporting events have emerged in stadiums, arenas, and fields with few or no fans. Although some teams and organizations are figuring out ways to continue in-person events, the impact of lost ticket revenue cannot be denied. It has been reported that the NFL will lose billions this season due to the pandemic.

Now imagine the many local sports clubs and smaller sports leagues that operate on a shoestring budget during a normal year. Many of these organizations are seeking ways to keep fans engaged by live streaming games on YouTube or Zoom. Those platforms are great for creating interest and providing an outlet for viewing games. Fan engagement is important but generating revenue is just as important which is why it only makes sense to sell tickets to streaming sports.

The good news is there has been increased adoption of content consumed through digital platforms, including pay-per-view sports streams hosted on team websites. Combined with the flexibility of watching when it is convenient for viewers, it seems the online option for watching sports of all levels is here to stay.

For sports leagues looking to stream games online, here’s where to start.

Look for a virtual platform that offers a ticketing solution combined with reliable streaming capabilities. Typically, these platforms will also offer a marketplace to host your content in a controlled access environment. Meaning, they have a paywall that provides an access code to your paying customers or fans. This is a great option for clubs that don’t have a website for hosting their games. Your virtual platform may also recommend a production company or offer tips on how to best capture video for maximum impact. A virtual platform will offer a reliable, professional quality broadcast along with tips and added features to help you promote your games to your fans.

So, how can sports clubs do both – build fan loyalty AND make money? Here are 3 ways to stream sports games AND bring in some extra cash:

1. Host Pay-Per-View Games

If fans can’t be there in person, live streaming is the next best thing. Streaming games online is the easiest way to make money in the virtual world – just as if the event were in person. Sell pay-per-view tickets to fans so they can watch the game in real time. Here’s a great example. See how CISN netted over 39k in online tickets and season passes to sports streams.

Some virtual platforms offer hybrid ticketing that allow teams to sell online tickets to be used for in-person attendance as well as virtual. This is a great option for family members who can’t attend the in-person games, but want that option for future games. Live streaming ensures fans don’t miss a game!

2. Video On-Demand

Video on-demand (VOD) allows players and fans to watch or re-watch their favorite games on their own time. Sports teams can store all games in an online library so fans can easily access them for a fee. Teams should consider selling a season pass with unlimited access to the VOD library. Here, teams can sell unlimited access to games at a higher price point. Parents and super fans can watch and replay games all season long.

3. Host a Fundraiser - Collect Donations

Broadcast the championship game as a fund drive. Set a goal and communicate the progress of meeting that goal with donors. You may also want to consider setting up an affiliate program for team moms and social media influencers. These influencers have the ability to expand your team’s online presence to an audience you may not have reached before. Set up influencers with affiliate links and reward them for driving ticket sales.

During the fundraiser, remember to optimize revenue on your live stream. Promote pay-per-view tickets for the upcoming games and push VOD access. Teams can also sell merchandise like t-shirts, hats and team gear to boost revenue. Consider using the merchandise as an incentive for donations; for example, “receive a team calendar with each donation”. 

During the fundraiser, upsell tournament packages. Instead of paying per game or purchasing VOD access, fans can view all games played at the tournament for a package fee. Offering a tournament as a separate package creates an additional revenue stream for these extra games. 

Maximize Revenue with Sponsorships

Offer sponsorships and advertising during the broadcasts. Sponsorships from local businesses can go a long way in raising money for your athletes. Place your sponsor’s logo in prime locations on the screen to ensure they are seen by viewers. Consider putting your premier sponsors on the scoreboard sign. Since there are empty stands these days, utilize that space to put up more advertisements to help bring in additional revenue. Broadcast advertisements before the game, during timeouts and breaks during the game. Thank your sponsors for their support. Consider holding a raffle to boost donations. Ask your sponsors to contribute to the raffle packages in return for additional exposure. 

Tip: Choose a virtual platform that includes a “buy now” link embedded on the site for viewers to easily purchase merchandise, raffle tickets, and game access. 

Final Thoughts

As Einstein once said, “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity”, don’t miss the goal on this prime opportunity to engage raving fans and raise money for the team. Offering different levels of game access, hosting raffles, gaining sponsors and selling merchandise is sure to turn your team’s passion into revenue. Leverage your club’s game broadcasts to supplement team costs.

Recommended Read: Top 5 Ways to Monetize Virtual Events – Event organizers are searching for new ways to make a profit from their events. Check out our list of the top 5 ways to make money from virtual 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.

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Viewstub Blog

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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Viewstub Blog

Top 5 Ways to Monetize Virtual and Hybrid Events

Top 5 Ways to Monetize Virtual and Hybrid Events

As more and more events are moving to virtual and hybrid, organizers are searching for ways to continue to make money on events. This task of reaching financial goals for events is a high priority for organizations right now and there are many new ways to turn on the cash flow through the virtual event component. Just like in-person events, selling tickets, sponsorship exposure, pay-per-view, exhibit booths, and advertising and event promotion all play into the financial success of the virtual or hybrid event. 

It’s not just organizers for professional events that are searching for ways to monetize. Sports teams are missing out on ticket sales, bands and other entertainment groups are looking for ways to supplement lost income as well as stay connected with fans. And hosting a virtual or hybrid event offers multiple ways to monetize and streamline those transactions.

Our team came together to compile our list of the top 5 ways to monetize virtual and hybrid events.

1. Sell tickets, online access, or a virtual pass for entry to the event

Never underestimate the value of your content. Take steps to ensure only your registered viewers have access to it. And selling tickets or registering attendees increases the perceived value by providing a level of exclusivity to your event content. Charging admission is also known to deliver higher attendance and higher engagement because attendees are invested in the event. Here’s an example of how Steve Patrick’s in online ticket sales.

At the very least, use ticket revenue to invest in valuable content. Bring in high value speakers or entertainment and create a better attendee experience. This holds true for non-profit organizations. Collect donations to a favorite charity in order to drive higher attendance to the event.

Bonus Tip: Reduce friction in the purchase process by selling tickets directly from your website. Don’t make your buyers work too hard. A seamless purchase process on your own site always converts to more ticket sales.

2. Sell sponsorship packages

Beyond ticket sales, event sponsorship packages are the most widely used methods of monetizing events. In these tough times, sponsors are seeking for new and unique ways to engage with prospects and virtual events are a great way to gain exposure to targeted audiences.

Plus, sponsorship in the virtual world delivers value long after the event is over. Unlike a physical event, where sponsors shell out large sums of cash to sponsor an event that takes place over a few days, digital provides extended exposure long after the event ends.

There are many ways to integrate sponsorship into the digital environment, including logo placement, video spots, banners, sponsored sessions, sponsor profiles and speaker slots. Create different levels of sponsorship packages to target specific audiences and to fit a variety of budgets.

It’s likely you, and your sponsors share audience overlap. Encourage them to cross-promote the event to their own audience. Make it worth the effort. Provide a unique sponsor link to your registration page and pay them a referral incentive for each attendee that purchases tickets through their link. Get creative and pitch meaningful exposure opportunities for premium sponsors.

Bonus Tip: Pitch exclusive exposure to your attendees through a digital swag bag that sponsors can use for special offers or discounts to registered attendees.

3. Sell exclusive replay access to sessions

Engaging with your audience doesn’t have to end with your event. Connect year-round with your community by selling on-demand access to individual sessions through a digital library of your event content. You’ll build awareness of the event and capture a new qualified audience to market the next event.

Bonus Tip: Offer extended exposure for sponsors post-event through branded viewers or a quick video spot before playback. Be sure to capture audience data, number of views and viewer firmographics – use this info to sell sponsorship packages for future events.

4. Sell merchandise or supplemental products

Your attendees are your captive audience, presenting an optimal opportunity to sell ancillary items. Capitalize on this prime moment to cross-sell a trial offer, downloadable content, books or even relevant merchandise like t-shirts or mugs.

Bonus Tip: Optimize sales with a day-of-show discount!

5. Create value add-on experiences

Optimize event revenue by selling exclusive access to Q&A sessions or workshops with key speakers. Sell raffle tickets to exclusive meet and greet sessions with industry experts or celebrities. The key is to identify upsell opportunities that your audience will find valuable to create relevant experiences that financially supplement the event.

Bonus Tip: Expand your reach. Create affiliate links for your speakers to promote their sessions to their social media audiences – offer a referral incentive on those tickets sold.

Final thoughts

Before considering monetizing, organizers first need to ensure they are providing value to the attendees. Whether the purpose of the event is to provide education, an entertainment experience, or bring a group together to collaborate – delivering on attendee objectives is essential to the event’s success. And virtual event technology presents new ways for organizations to engage their audience, build their brand and create new revenue streams.

Recommended Read: Translating in-person events into virtual environments is a big challenge for event organizers. Check out our 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.

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Viewstub Blog

5 Important Things to Consider For Hosting Virtual Events

5 Important Things to Consider For Hosting Virtual Events

Virtual event technology has been around for years. It became increasingly popular in the late 2000’s by offering a low-cost way to bring attendees together during the great recession. Today, virtual event technology serves a new purpose as the majority of the world continues to work remotely from home.

More and more organizations, small businesses, entertainers, sports teams, business coaches and associations have recognized the need to keep pushing their businesses forward. And virtual event platforms have paved the way to make it easier than ever to stream to a remote audience and monetize these events.

To help you start planning your virtual event, our team has compiled a list of the most important things to consider.

1. Identify Your Audience

What are their reasons for attending and consuming your content? Are they tech savvy or will they need explicit instructions to register and attend? What are their expectations? Are they expected to be entertained, or are they planning to learn from the event? Understanding their purpose for attending will help you create an experience that ensures your attendees reach their goals.

While the energy and excitement of being there live at an in-person event is much different in a virtual environment, there are several advantages. If your attendees are anticipating a learning experience, offer a playback option to view the event again at a later date – they can’t get that option from an in-person event. Or, if you are offering an entertainment experience, seek out a platform that allows attendees to view the event in the comfort of their living room on a smart TV. Regardless, make sure you highlight these amenities when promoting your event.

2. Determine Your Use Case

Now, what is your purpose for the event you are hosting? Here are some use case examples:

  • Events that are a product – sell attendance or membership
  • Events that build brand awareness or launch a product
  • Events that provide education – various sessions
  • Internal events – employee training, internal communication, town halls

Consider your goals for the event. You might be selling a product or maybe your event is the product you are selling, like a music festival or a sporting event. Either way, you can reduce the friction in the buying process by integrating payment options where it’s most relevant.

Maybe your event is used to connect with an audience and grow a brand. Virtual events are vital to keeping an audience engaged, even more so now with the decrease in travel. Consider a virtual event platform that offers customized event branding and quantifiable value to sponsors.

Additionally, the virtual option has helped organizers extend their reach by selling more tickets. They are no longer limited by the venue capacity. Plus, they can now capture more of the international audience, a previous challenge with in-person events.

3. Examine Different Virtual Formats

Until 2020, most organizers were largely unfamiliar with virtual events and their capabilities. However, the events world has evolved. Organizers are navigating between the different options for their events: live (in-person), virtual or hybrid. 

Hybrid events are fast becoming the preferred choice for events moving forward due to their potential to grow event reach. Just to be clear, hybrid events combine a live, in-person event with a virtual or online component. They offer the best of both worlds, as they just require adding a camera crew to the existing event. The benefit? They allow attendees to choose between the physical and virtual event destinations.

Perhaps one of the biggest shifts in the event planning mindset is considering the format for the virtual component of the event. Will a speaker engage on screen with the audience throughout? How will the audience engage during the event? Do you want online attendees to be able to explore different content on their own? These are all important things to consider as they will affect attendee engagement. Here’s the rundown of the basic format options:

Live Streaming: a live video broadcast of the event as it takes place. They provide exclusive access to content as the event unfolds. Consider how you want to deliver this experience, broadcasting from a studio (moderator in a news room setting) or live from a location, or are speakers at home? 

Webinars: a format where remote attendees tune in to listen. They are typically single sessions that can be broadcast live or on-demand. Make them engaging by allowing time for attendees to ask the speaker questions.

Panels and Forums: a format that involves multiple speakers who gather to discuss a topic. Consider how you want them displayed on screen. Make sure the technology highlights the speaker when they are talking. Allow attendees to interact with panelists through asking questions or participating in surveys.

Breakout and Networking Sessions: a format that segments groups for more targeted discussions and networking opportunities. Sessions can be live or pre-recorded and listed in a playlist for attendees to explore at their convenience.

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.

4. Select Your Speakers or Virtual Host

Who will be the face of the event? Regardless of the event type, someone
will need to address the audience, transition into your different
sessions and keep the event on track. You can consider hiring a
professional speaker, or seek out the right person in-house. Whichever
the case, your event host should be comfortable speaking in front of an
audience as well as maintaining control of the agenda and timeline.

Speakers who are new to virtual events will benefit from a rehearsal.
They should know what to expect and how to anticipate common errors,
like reminding speakers to turn off mute to speak. A great host will
also keep your audience engaged during unexpected interruptions.

5. Choose a Virtual Hosting Platform

Now that you have defined your goals, your attendees’ goals and desired format to achieve them. You should have a complete list of your “must haves” and “deal breakers” to help you make the right choice.

Beyond the format for the event, there may be specific capabilities you will need to meet your goals. Here are a few:

Monetizing the Event  Seek out a provider that offers an integrated ticketing or registration solution. Another aspect to consider is a pay-per-view or on-demand options. Some organizers have created new revenue streams by offering access to key sessions for on-demand playback for attendees and their website visitors. 

While we’re talking about money, review the terms of payment. Some providers will take up to 30 days to release event earnings. Don’t be taken by surprise.

Event Branding  Get samples of event customization. Go beyond “putting your logo here”. Look for technology that allows you to customize banners, change the button colors and headline titles to match your brand. Consider a solution that offers white label video streaming. Branding capabilities can make the difference between a generic event and a cohesive brand experience.

Content Delivery  Consider the total package from the user perspective. Your provider should have a way to organize your content and sessions in an easy to navigate format. Some deliver a playlist that users can sort and find the desired content. 

Can you host the content on your own website? For most organizers, keeping visitors on their own website is important. Ask if your provider will allow you to host your event on your site, versus navigating to their site for viewing the event. 

Hybrid Transition  The virtual component for a hybrid event should be seamless. Providers that are experienced with hybrids will make this transition easy for the organizer. Whether your content will be live, on-demand or both, your provider should offer ideas to help you translate your agenda for your virtual audience. 

Choose a virtual platform that can offer both in-person and virtual ticketing and registration. A single solution streamlines the purchase process and ensures higher conversions. It also makes it much easier to manage from an organizer stand point.

For organizers, virtual events are now a key digital strategy for their organizations. While many are new to this technology, they are quickly finding new ways to engage their audience, build their brand and create new revenue streams.

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 topre-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.