Marketing

A Beginner’s Guide to Virtual Events

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For the past few weeks, businesses have cancelled or indefinitely postponed all scheduled events. We believe this will severely hurt their annual goals. A more strategic way to uphold their goals is to leverage technology and conduct a virtual event instead. So what is a virtual event?

Virtual events entirely take place online, connecting people on the Internet, rather than meeting in a physical location. You get a global audience for no extra costs, no one needs to travel, and you end up acquiring massive amounts of actionable data.

Attendees love them because they can watch them any time, from anywhere – on their phone while lying on a bed, on their laptop in a coffee shop, on their way to work on the train. In September 2019, Apple live-streamed its iPhone unveiling for the first time and over 1.8 million viewers watched it live on YouTube.

These events can be on-the-fly or produced exquisitely but they have less overhead costs compared to their in-person counterparts. You can plan and wrap up virtual events more easily while being able to track and measure their ROI.

 

Podcasts

Podcasts are digital audio files, usually pre-recorded interviews, that are released on a consistent schedule.

Everyone can start their own podcast without a heavy investment on equipment. Podcasts offer a level playing field as long as your content is authentic and remarkable. Typically podcasts are of 15-30 minutes, but some of them can extend to an hour.

They can educate you, they can entertain you, but the best podcasts connect with you. Podcasts lead to more trust and loyalty and position you as a thought leader in the space

Pros:

  • Don’t cost a lot and be quickly recorded
  • Have mass appeal and cast a wider net
  • Technical glitches and unnecessary pauses can be edited out before publishing.
  • Attract a steady audience even with little promotion

Cons:

  • Lacks any kind of interactivity
  • Can not be repurposed effectively
  • Very few podcasts are able to monetise
  • Harder to judge audience reaction

 

Webinars

Webinars are web-based seminars that occur in real-time and can be recorded to upload online later.

During webinars, you can share your screen or show some supplementary slides to anyone in the world who has an internet connection. They are a very effective tool for education and training.

Webinars are an audio-video presentation and usually include a Q&A session with the public. This personal interaction, which is lacking in podcasts, is extremely appealing to audiences.

The attendees of your webinar are highly relevant and take a shorter time to convert than podcasts. One strategy is to lead your podcast listeners to your webinar and nurture them further.

Compared to podcasts that are almost always free, webinars can be paid or gated to generate high-quality leads.

Pros:

  • Can be repurposed and released on various platforms
  • Audio stream can be released as podcast
  • Can be easily monetised

Cons:

  • Creation requires more time and effort than a podcast
  • Need to be heavily promoted
  • Real-time nature raises technological challenges
  • Need more software tools than podcasts

 

Web Conferences

Web conferences are all the rage these days and an extremely effective way to explode your email list.

It is an online event usually lasting for 3-10 days where the host interviews the top subject matter experts from industry.

Businesses spend less money, the attendees are global, and don’t have to deal with last-minute technical glitches or speaker no-shows.

Audiences love web conferences because there is no physical location to travel to and they still get lots of updated content straight from experts.

Pros:

  • Makes you the authority in your industry
  • Generates lots of recurring revenue
  • Increases your network with relevant people

Cons:

  • Requires a lot of strategy and project management efforts
  • Can get costly to create and execute
  • Needs a lot of coordination with speakers

 

Webcasts

Webcasts are like TV and radio broadcasts but use the web as the distributing medium. They are a one-way flow of audio or video presentations broadcast that a massive audience can view but not interact with.

Webinars and web conferences are designed for many-to-many interaction. Webcasts, on the other hand, offer no interaction at all.

Webinars are best used when presenting digital presentations, slides or screen sharing from a computer, occurring in real-time. Webcasts are good for corporate events where the speaker presents to a live audience or from a desk and the video can be edited before being shown.

Webcasts can be live-streamed, pre-recorded or on-demand. Thus, they are more like a TV show while webinars are like a meeting.

Pros:

  • Massive viewership
  • Pre-recorded video can be edited and redone before broadcasting
  • No chances of anyone seeing any mistakes
  • Control over the message

Cons:

  • No audience interaction or Q&A
  • No scope for collaboration
  • Can not gauge viewer’s emotional reaction
  • High cost

 

How to start?

We have briefly touched upon the most popular formats of virtual events and if you’ve never done one, it can get quite overwhelming.

If you want us to plan and help you conduct a virtual event that aligns with your business goals, feel free to get in touch with the Pounce team and we will get back to you.

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