Who’s On Your Team?
Have you picked your team necessary to produce and deliver virtual events? Are there any gaps in these event roles and expertise? The level of engagement audiences want is still on the rise and technical requirements to bring them what they want can be daunting. Hosting on-brand, immersive experiences is here to stay so take a look at the roles we recommend to see if you are ready for the next level.
For virtual event roles, you might have a smaller team, but the game is bigger. Whether you manage it all in house or outsource to a production company, staging virtual events across the globe turns on new ways to connect and open yourself up to larger audiences. And with reward comes risk.
This is not new, in fact, virtual events have been happening since 1993. Take a look at their history. Here’s a story about a coffee pot, a computer scientist and the Trojan room.
Size and Scope Matter
The size of your event decides the number and type of virtual event staff you will need. For example, the landscape is pretty simple for a small group meeting but can be complex for a multi-day conference or a gaming exhibition.
Likewise, the scope of your program will require different skill sets. Is the event going to be pre-recorded, live streamed, or both? Will the event include sponsors and exhibitors? Do you have speakers that are seasoned or have they done only a few events.
Some virtual event roles look just like those you have for an in person event. However, the major differences show up in the areas around remote and technology experience required for a solid virtual meeting. Whether you build an in house team or outsource them, select the main owner of key functions to ensure there is no failure.
Let’s Welcome to the Stage: Your Virtual Event Players
- Event Project Manager
- Technical Producer
- Technical Support
Event Project Manager
In this event role, the PM works to take your dreams and bring them alive in the virtual reality. They help with new ideas and ways to excite attendees. This is you’re mad keen someone, in charge of dropping no balls and stepping on no cracks.
This event role will set and manage the event blueprint, keeping every detail on track. They are experts at crafting clear, defining moments throughout the program. In addition, with a tight grasp on the technologies being used, the PM will manage event registration, social aspects and mobile apps to ensure all teams are ready to go. Once the tech is set up, integrations with the platform and hosting services should all be tested under their watchful eye.
Most importantly, the PM knows the virtual experience. They’re able to bring all the pieces together so participants get a cohesive, community feeling. It’s your insurance policy that the event goes off without a hitch, every time.
Producers are tasked with the actual production of your event. They schedule, start and control the meeting. Drop the mic.
However, don’t mistake this event role as also serving as host. Yes, in a pinch, they can play the part. They’ll have a copy of the presentation materials and can step in if a host is overwhelmed, has any technical issues or loses internet. After all, they are on the hook for making sure the attendee has the best experience possible.
But a virtual event producer is so much more than that. Let’s take it from the top:
- Oversees program and platform build
- Runs rehearsals
- Perfects all cameras and microphones for recording
- Runs the team who tests for broadcast quality & internet connection
- Tracks budgets and provides on-site staffing plan
- Liaison for all calls and meetings with internal and external players
- Runs features like polling, slide transitions, and other visuals
- Creates back-up plan with safeguards in case something goes wrong
Your producer hooks up with every event role on the team, taking the anxiety out of pulling off an online event. In other words, prepping and practicing with everyone prior to the event, the PM is responsible for getting ahead of all potential risks. Curbing risk and setting the stage for powerful event execution, they might be considered the quarterback of the whole team.
There’s both glory and risk in being called on to host an event. You get credit for anything funny that happens, but at the same time can get blamed for whatever goes wrong.
At any event, audiences expect an emcee to make them feel welcome, keep their attention, and engage them with what’s coming next. A virtual emcee or host sets the tone and will be viewed as a guide for their journey.
As a key part of keeping your virtual attendees in their seats, hosts can gather questions and comments from the live chat, from the event’s social media channels, and private messages. They should be able to run successful Q&A sessions. Likewise, creating interactive moments that make polls and gamification competitive and fun.
The ideal emcee is confident, organized and full of personality. They put the speakers at ease with some last minute coaching and words of support. They are the link between the audience and presenters, and the transition between multiple speakers or sessions. Their personality is as much a part of your event identity as your branding is, making sure attendees are engaged and leave with a sense of community and the hospitality of an in-person event.
Finally, the host can wrap up the event, ending it on a strong note instead of it fizzling out when the sessions are over.
Virtual Event Technical Producer
One of the big challenges of virtual events is engaging and keeping the audience’s attention. The best fix? High quality production, broadcast style. Think “watching TV” versus watching a webinar.
Level up the quality of your presentations and videos with technical production. Engaging these experts to manage this part of your event will make sure it goes off without technical hiccups, glitches or bugs.
Here are their key tasks:
- Manage and integrate tech platforms
- Support presenters in tech usage
- Design and monitor the broadcast system
- Test for user interface (UI) and experience (UX) and fix glitches
- Oversee production of session recordings and video editing for live broadcasts
A technical producer learns and runs the technology platform you’ve chosen to host your virtual event. As a result, they make sure presenters understand the equipment and get familiar with the platform. They assist with rehearsals on camera and microphone checks. Likewise, they provide guidance on the perfect lighting angles and consult on how to keep both pre-recorded and live videos looking professional, despite being shot remotely.
When it comes to the broadcast portion, this event role is a master with deep skills on audio and video equipment. Their training and keen sense for live streaming internet bandwidth requirements will be a blessing. Whether you pre record sessions or present live, they’ll walk you through all the scenarios that can go down.
Virtual Event Technical Support:
When you rely on technology, the room for glitches and failures can be a gaping hole. To fill this in and prevent your event from getting ditched by attendees, put proper tech support in place. Your entire event hinges on event technology so be ready to tackle problems skillfully and immediately. Otherwise you run the risk of the whole thing falling apart.
Here are the areas you will find yourself in need of technical support:
Be sure to choose a virtual platform that comes with some tech support. Because this support varies greatly, you’ll likely need to add extra layers. In addition to a 24/7 live chat, strive to get access to an on-call tech at the platform host. Alternatively, add someone to your tech team that is well versed in that specific technology.
Develop a well thought out support plan that can be quickly is set in motion, in real-time. Include where attendees can contact support if having a problem. Advanced tech knowledge in this event role will be critical. For example, when a livestream breaks or someone has trouble registering, tech support’s got to be ready to solve the problem quickly.
Monitor each session, chat, video stream, live stream, breakout room and exhibit booth with tech support. Doing this means the tech can troubleshoot right away when a problem pops up.
Think of this event role as the info desk agent at a live event. For example, let’s say you use Zoom. Create a public Zoom meeting to serve as your info desk. Then enable the waiting room. Now admit people from the waiting room into the meeting room for one on one chats. If you have multiple techs available, add a breakout room or two. Then, have one tech stay in the main meeting room to welcome and admit new guests.
Your tech team should include someone on the audience side as well. In other words, an event role for spot-checking every session, live and pre-recorded, to make sure the audio and video are working properly and no one is having any issues. Don’t skip this rule if you have a multi-track event with simultaneous sessions running at once.
When you can, have techs available through multiple channels. Monitoring phone, email, and social media along with using video conferencing and online tools is the best pairing.
Supporting Event Roles
You’ve tackled the training of or hiring for key virtual event roles, but find you still have some gaps. What now?
It’s possible you need some expertise from a Copywriter and/or Graphics Designer. Let’s take a quick look at how these event roles support the heart and soul of your experience.
The written word. It has a huge impact on an event’s hype and engagement. It gives structure to your event identity and brand, promoting your event and making it appealing to attend.
From marketing material to speaker intros, written content and video scripts should be brought to life with power. An event copywriter creates written content for websites, sales material, scripts, session abstracts and speaker biographies. Advertising and event promotion content is a bonus. Copywriters are experts in matching your tone of voice and tying all content types together for an on-brand experience. All of these working together is critical for consistency for the customer experience and creating a stronger brand.
Often a graphic designer will work directly with a copywriter. Together they create content and a virtual environment that supports a large portion of the event marketing. If your content feels a little lightweight, consider hiring this dynamic duo of a team to create:
- Visual aesthetics like an event name, theme, and color scheme that are consistent with your brand
- Design environment and content templates
- Craft eye-catching event web pages, promotional materials and preview images that generate registrations and give a snippet for visitors to learn about each session
That’s a Wrap on Virtual Event Roles
Live streams will cut out. Attendees will have login issues. Speakers used to presenting on stage with a live audience will have webcam fright. That being said, a seasoned virtual event team will make sure the online experience your company is investing in wins the day.
OVATION is a fully integrated virtual event platform and production partner. We can support you with production teams or staff to support your internal teams. Get in touch with the team to see how we can help with your virtual, hybrid, and in-person events.