Among other things, 2020 definitely changed the way we present content. For many of us, virtual events are not going away. In place of our typical annual in-person conference are a multitude of exciting options for us to choose to engage our members.
Many of us are used to planning for one annual conference packed full of presenters and break-out sessions. Now, we are often seeing these large-scale events turn into several bite-sized events spread throughout the year.
Here are ways you can change up your content for your new virtual audience:
- Feature your biggest stars: Take your keynote speaker and give them their own dedicated webinar and/or Q&A session. Rather than having a days-long virtual conference, make them the event. Forbes suggests even reaching out to some guest stars you thought might have been too high a grasp for your in-person events. You are likely saving money by not having an in-person event so you may be able to splurge on a high-profile speaker. The worst they can do is say no!
- Present smaller sessions year-round: Try shifting your focus from one central annual event to having several smaller-scale events throughout the year. Because your members will be able to take in the content from anywhere rather than needing to be in one place to consume content, take your sessions and spread them out. This not only keeps the attention of your audience, but it keeps them engaged with the organization all year.
- Network: While members may not be able to connect in person, you can help them by connecting them to each other. Cvent suggests creating networking events where you group members with similar interests. Send out an interest survey and get some networking sessions going for your members!
- Get interactive: In the new age of Zoom and Microsoft Teams, you have to do everything you can to pull in your audience and make it as personal as possible. Forbes suggests things like quick polls and surveys throughout your sessions to engage your audience. You could also consider having small sessions or roundtables to connect with small groups of members. Remember, you are now competing with devices, at-home chores, pets, kids and more. Be with your audience as much as possible.
- Listen to your audience: Send out some surveys. What do your members want and need right now? Take the guesswork out of event planning and learn what your members would like to see from their organization.
Conferences may never be the same, but you can use this opportunity to meet your members where they are.