How to get started with virtual and hybrid events?

July 15, 2021
How to navigate the new landscape of virtual and hybrid events as a marketer? This was the topic of our Powerful Business Talks interview with Ruby Sweeney. Here are the key takeaways from the interview. PS! Find the full recording at the end of the post.

Getting started with virtual or hybrid events can feel scary and that is mostly due to common misconceptions. But actually hosting such events is less complicated than you think!

Here are 3 tips to get you started:

  • Overcome the idea that virtual and hybrid = complicated

People don’t take the time to really think about events and just assume that they’re complicated and time-consuming. But that does not have to be the case! Start with small numbers, start with a short event, and then just build up from there.

Recognize that the barriers of entry that may have been there, regardless of what size of business you are or what sector you are in, they are not there anymore. Additionally, with virtual events you get access to people and opportunities you would not be otherwise able to meet.

So, just start with small steps, e.g. with a webinar or a small conference with limited participants.

  • Start with a partner who knows what they’re doing

If you want to deliver a great virtual or hybrid event, find someone who takes care of the production and technical aspects. There are lots of fantastic companies around the world that can work virtually and remotely, they can deliver the services that you need without having to be in the same country or even time zone as you.

Having a partner that you can trust enables you to focus on the content and the value you want to bring, without having to stress about technical nuances.

  • Build virtual and hybrid events into your overall strategy as an organization

Typically, during recessions or pandemics or any other difficult times, events are the first ones to get a budget cut. So, when you are planning an event, make sure that the event is embedded within a strategy.

It's really important that you are able to show that this event is going to help us achieve these objectives. And instead of it being just a one-off event, you could turn it into a six-month campaign with other marketing activities brought in as well. Events are a tool to help achieve the objectives of a business or an organization.

Bear in mind that virtual and hybrid events do need a different approach from face-to-face events. Making long speeches or presentations can be daunting as you are not receiving any immediate feedback and cannot feel the energy of the room. 

Also, people tend to multitask and not really pay as much attention as they would in person. This is why you should put a lot of focus on making the event as interactive as possible: use chat boxes, polls, etc. Getting people to engage makes them feel part of something.

Another thing is the length of the sessions. When planning a virtual or hybrid or online or digital event, make sure that the sessions are short, that they're interactive, and there's plenty of engagement. It’s all about dialogue and conversation!

Ruby Sweeney is a natural connector, who thrives in the events space. As a Consultant and Event Manager, Ruby is keen to solve the challenges of bringing people together for purposeful events - whether it's for a virtual, hybrid or face-to-face conferences or events. Ruby's team works with small teams, decision makers and specialist consultants.


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