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The content shared in this article was presented as part of the PCMA/Virtual Edge Institute Digital Event Strategist certification.
Hybrid events that offer both on-site and virtual attendance options can increase your reach on a potentially global scale. Not only can you connect with interested audiences who are unable to physically attend your event, you provide a completely new way for people to engage with your brand. Virtual attendance opens up new avenues for social sharing of content, new sponsorship opportunities, and new ways to build powerful online communities.
Here are our key tips to make your first — or next — hybrid event an overwhelming success.
To start, identify which of your core audiences are not already attending the event. If you have their email addresses, launch a campaign to drive them to a registration landing page on your website.
Next, think about where else you can find these people. Do they keep up with friends and family on Facebook? Share business updates on LinkedIn? Read specific publications? Share creative content to spark their interest: video clips from previous events, speaker bios, audience testimonials and so on.
There’s more to a great virtual broadcast than just training a camera on a speaker. Your audience has big expectations, and the rules of high-quality production still apply.
They may be lounging on their couch, but your virtual audience still wants to feel included. Help them by giving them a sense that they are there in the session room.
Shoot from a range of angles so viewers can see the whole space, and mix applause and audience reaction along with the stage noise. You can also drive engagement with an online chat room where attendees can virtually “raise their hands” with questions for the speaker or panel.
Prepare as you would for any other session. Provide scripts for everyone, so that everyone knows the order of events. And take the time to perform a complete dry run to catch potential technical issues. Better to blow an electrical breaker during a test than at go time.
And finally, begin with the end in mind. Stay focused on the goals you want to achieve; everything else will fall into place.
Data gives us the insights we need to make informed decisions and experiment our way forward.
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