With a growing reliance on technology in virtual events, marketers are regularly searching for new ways to heighten the engagement of their virtual audiences. In short, some think this means doing things bigger and better, while others religiously stick to the consistency and quality of content that their audiences have come to expect.
Both approaches work, because it really depends on the type of event your hosting. Either way you go, one thing will remain. Content for virtual events has to have a solid strategy, creativity throughout and technology to raise the bar and keep pace with engaging audiences.
The Ultimate Catalyst for Creative Virtual Events
In the same vein as our last post on Event Identity and Branding, content for virtual events is your rally cry in the creative process, whether it be virtual or hybrid experiences. Intentional content development is the cornerstone for building an event that makes you proud.
However, it can’t stand alone and get the job done. In other words, you’ll need an intensive focus on the ideas, construction, and intent of the content so you can generate stellar conversations and interaction with attendees.
In short, here are the compelling types of content you should use throughout your virtual event journey. As a result, you will create a few hours of good content that will rival an 8-hour day in person event experience.
- Video Broadcast Package
- Opening Video Introduction
- Microsite Design
- Presentation Design
- Housekeeping Slides
- Script Writing
- Speaker Coaching
- Scenic Design
How to Make Each Type of Content Compelling
Video Broadcast Package
Above all, your audience craves important information. Yet you don’t want it to be distracting. Sort of like visible but invisible at the same time. In a video broadcast package you have options from which to choose that will keep you on the straight and narrow.
- Elements like logo intros and title cards can get you started.
- Lower thirds: Combo of text and graphics somewhere in the lower third of the screen. This adds context for your audience, relaying just about anything. Names, titles, subject headings, and hashtags or social media handles are a few options.
- Bumpers or bumps: Video snippet, usually 2-15 seconds in length. Bumps play between a pause in the program and its commercial break. Think fadeout music. “We’ll return after these messages.” Or even a full-screen bumper to showcase a platinum sponsor.
- Holding slides: When nothing is streaming, use these to create branding or shout-out moments. Another use is for showing poll tabs with descriptions for how attendees use the features.
Opening Video Introduction
Whether it’s content created in advance to be shown at the event or content used to promote the event beforehand to build excitement, this is where the attendee journey starts. Within 90 seconds, this video can communicate what the event is, who it is for, and why they must be there. Seek to win the head and heart of your attendees as they log in, sharing facts and stirring feelings.
A single page or set of pages separate from your website. They are full of info aimed at engaging as many viewers as possible. Holding content that goes deeper than your website, these sites focus on things like your brands products, past or upcoming events, and new campaigns. They’re easily shareable in direct links on social media, via email or even text messaging.
The array of ideas, stories, words and images are crucial. How they are presented cannot just look pretty. It has to inspire, activate and sell your guests. Include less text and more visuals. Make sure your core message is what everything else is centered around.
Anyone can dress up junk content with no thought for the story. Don’t dump a pile of slides into a platform. Use text to reinforce, not repeat what you’ve said and apply design choices consistently to avoid distraction. Consider including examples of inspirational people and poignant questions throughout the presentation design. Every slide, every word and every visual must be carefully considered for a virtual event to be on point.
Your focus is on delivering the key material that ties your company to your audience. But don’t forget to also advise them how each session will be managed or what options they have as attendees.
For example: Will the event be on demand and how do they access it? Is there a closed captioning option? How do they enter questions to presenters and read responses in Q&A? What if they want to network with another attendee after the event?
This is the map to guide you through the event. It takes you in the right direction and keeps everyone on the same page, therefore, eliminating frustration and confusion. Do you match the tone and style of the script with the content for your virtual event? Is the language understandable and conversational?
Keeping it concise and carrying a strong message throughout is a necessity to keep your event from spewing dry, endless talk that makes everyone want to take a nap next to their laptop.
Speaker training is a big time commitment. It includes support in areas like tech checks, formatting slides, pre-recording sessions, audience engagement and panel moderation. As a result, we’ve broken up the important parts below.
There are 2 key components to speaker coaching:
- The technology set up
- The professional set up.
You should plan to have a team work through the various technologies speakers will be engaging with and make sure they are prepared well in advance. Elements that need consideration in a pre-event tech check are:
- Surroundings (background, sounds, etc)
- Internet bandwidth
- Screen sharing
- Q&A process
For some visual examples, check out this Tech Crunch Article.
Professional Set Up:
When asked, many will say they don’t love public speaking. Similarly, virtual events can elicit the same discomfort. Certainly the act of getting them prepped to succeed is one of those checks and balances not to be rushed.
In preparing your speakers for virtual events keep in mind its different than speaking to a crowd in a physical meeting room. Your virtual production team can support you big-time here. Alternatively, you can run through the following steps with your speakers on your own:
- Select a quiet, well-lit location – no backlighting
- Choose a simple background with no distractions
- Look directly into the camera
- Stay mostly still while on camera – don’t reach to adjust your screen or camera
- Sit back to avoid distortion on the viewers screen – put the camera at eye level for the most flattering angle
- Wear simple clothing – plain and solid colors will keep the focus on the content
- Stay on mute when not speaking to avoid causing feedback
- If working from a presentation, keep the slide content large and high contrast
- Present with energy and animation – virtual needs more energy from speakers than live
- Craft presentations to have the audience contribute, using the tools available in your virtual platform
There are more laws of speaker support and you can amend them however necessary for the type of virtual event you are hosting. Just don’t take speaker support lightly. Providing technical tools, adequate rehearsal time and day of support may be more of a due process than you’ve considered.
Opting for advanced production value with scenic design for virtual events is a huge value add, for instance, what color schemes work best on camera? In addition, tips for spacing presenters apart in a natural way and why proper lighting is crucial, just to name a few.
As hybrid events begin to enter the virtual picture, gathering small crews and presenters in dedicated studios or other venues will regain the popular vote. Above all, safety will be the utmost of importance. However, the reality is those safety measures can put a crimp on how natural the scenic design ends up looking.
Without compromising on social distancing or disrespecting the safety concerns of others, filming expertise and hybrid production companies can make this work. For instance, manipulating depth and scale to create grand installations and designs will keep audiences engaged without distractions. Done right, viewers will stay focused on the program through colors, lighting, props and backdrops. All the while feeling safe and protected.
Why You Need Content for Virtual Events
The right content elements organized and delivered the right way creates the perfect union between virtual events and their audiences. If only one message resonates with you here, it should be that content creation for virtual events has one primary concern. Converting audiences into evangelists by using creativity to propel your brand and message.
To that end, what will spark and ignite your guests virtually? How do we make it so good they want to so sit and stay seated like they are engrossed in an epic movie?
If you are in a place where you need to rev up your event content strategy, we’d love to share ideas that might help. Whether it be the actual content creation, or ideas to get creative with content, OVATION’s team of inspiring creatives and content management heroes can offer you something you haven’t yet thought of.
Want to get acquainted? Let’s schedule a quick intro call together.