How to Extend Your Next Event Online
I’ve known my friend and former client Mike Westcott for many years. He’s truly one of the leading thinkers in event strategy, with the ability to elevate a simple gathering into a deep brand promise. You’ll really enjoy his advice on how to maximize digital events.
As there is increasing pressure to do more with less with every communication investment, more communication pros are turning to digital events to extend the reach and life of the content they produce. Whether it is executive briefings, product launches, quarterly communication or events and conferences, having a ‘digital extension’ is more important than ever, and easier than you might expect. In planning your digital event there are four important aspects of any event, virtual or otherwise:
1. THE RIGHT PLAN: A virtual event is still an event and needs to start with clear objectives and strategy: This one often sounds obvious, but you want to make sure you are using virtual for the right reasons. Start by asking yourself these 6 questions:
- Are you looking to cut costs or simply extend the reach of your event?
- Do you seek to improve communication and productivity?
- Are you seeking new leads or revenue streams?
- How should this be integrated with existing tactics and events?
- Should you do a hybrid event by extending your physical presence online?
- Or will a completely digital event do what you need?
2. THE THREE RINGS OF COMMUNITY: Look at your community, not as just a single outside audience to reach, but as three concentric rings of relationships. Consider this three ring approach:
- EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT get executive management support and buy-in by clearly communicating the business benefits of the technology
- PEERS & PARTNERS motivate your staff, employees and partners to become active advocates in the process through recognition, incentives and opportunity to contribute content and ideas
- CUSTOMERS & PROSPECTS and then engage your customers and prospects to help offer ideas on content, build momentum, marketing and spread the word about your event by including them in the content, development and benefits of the event
This three-ring approach will help ensure success by bringing engaged people to the event and encouraging them to actively contribute to content, conversation and marketing through their own networks as well. prospects. By engaging each group successively, you have a much better chance of success.
3. MOTIVATING CONTENT & CONVERSATION: The old media phrase content is king applies to the extent that your community is engaged in helping to build and expand on the content through a well designed experience that encourages conversation AND collaboration to turn ideas into action that businesses can use. Your technology and your experience design needs to stimulate active dialog, integrate social media tools and provide opportunities for collaborative activities to help make the most of this emerging technology and give your next launch or briefing ‘online longevity’.
4. THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY SUPPORT: There are numerous platforms and service firms to help you extend your event online and its always a good idea to include them when planning your event to ensure a smooth experience for speakers, attendees and online audiences. If you don’t have a video resource, consider a full service ‘content capture’ partner to help you capture the speaker and slide content and deliver in a single player from your blog, website. And don’t forget to use other social tools like YouTube and Vimeo help expand your audience even further. For a list of providers and a whole suite of digital event tools and resources visit www.relatesolutions.com/resources
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