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2021 – The Year of the Virtual Conference

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Conference & Exhibitions in the UK attract over 13 million visitors each year, generating £11 billion in revenue. It is an enormous industry that allows businesses across the world to showcase their unique, innovative products and services to prospective customers. 

However, the industry is currently at a standstill, with no end currently in sight. This is extremely frustrating for many companies that depend on successful conferences. In order to help you keep the ball rolling and take your conference online, we’ve put together 4 simple steps that outline what you need to prepare.

Step 1 – Maximise Your Programme

One of the first things to think about for your online conference is keeping your audience engaged throughout the programme itself. What is the theme of your conference? Who will be speaking in your event? 

Securing high-quality speakers is one of the most important elements of any conference, in particular a virtual one. Why? Because if your audience disengages from the current speaker they are unlikely to stick around for the rest of the virtual conference. 

Securing a good quality speaker is the first step, the next is making sure their segment inspires your audience. For example, using pre-recorded video of speakers, ensuring everything is right! This will give you ample time to plan and execute the content so the speaker experience is seamless. An example of this comes from Apple, who’s most recent online events have been made up entirely of pre-recorded video.

Apple Virtual Event

Another important element to consider is quality. Ensure the recording or live video is done with a high-quality camera and an external microphone. Secondly, it is important to give the speaker a breathing space with other engaging content; a promotional video, 3D animated explainer video or drone footage for example. 

The quality of content will leave a lasting impression for your virtual attendees. 

Step 2 – Get The Content Right

It’s time to get creative with your content! When planning content for the virtual conference, you should consider whether you will create the content yourself, or work with a trusted content partner such as ourselves. Working with Eon, we will manage the content production process from start to finish. This means you will be confident in the knowledge the high-quality presentations you are sharing with your audience will keep them engaged throughout. We can ensure you are maximising all of the potential features in your content such as: 

  • Green Screens
  • On-screen Graphics
  • 2D/3D Animations
  • Data Visualisation 
  • Interactive Polls

All of these factors being correct will lead to a very successful online conference. Once you have a pre-recorded presentation, this can be used across multiple events in the future and will also provide you with a bank of assets. Here is an example of content we create for webinars:

You have both the option of pre-recorded videos or live videos. Whichever option you choose, make sure you are prepared. If you are going down the self-setup route, then it is important you consider the following: 

  • The lighting is good. 
  • Speaker is using a high-quality camera. 
  • Speaker has an external microphone. 
  • Speaker has a plain or light-coloured background. 

Other things to think about…  

There are numerous tools available for you to use and integrate with one another in order to get the right output. You will need: 

  1. Platform to host the event: E.g. Teachable
  2. Platform to stream the event: Facebook Live/YouTube Live
  3. Platform to allow interaction during talks: Slido

Step 3 – Build Your Online Conference Agenda

Similar to a face-to-face conference, your agenda needs to be suited to the needs of your audience. However, you want to consider your audience’s desire to simply sit and watch their screen for hours a day – Very low. This means considering how to keep your audience engaged throughout your event. Scheduling regular breaks and allowing frequent opportunities for participants to ask questions to the speaker will help you do this.

Step 4 – Get Your Team Ready

Finally, having the right people in place throughout the virtual event is crucial in order to ensure its success. Depending on the size of your online event, you should have a team of at least 3 team members. For example: 

  • Project Manager
  • Speaker & Video Manager
  • Video Production Manager

These are just three examples however you may also want to pull in support from staff members in other departments. E.g. Finance, HR, Operations. 

Ensure you have had enough time to plan and structure the team. Depending on the scale of your event, start a weekly online conference team meeting 4-5 months prior to your event and get planning! 

To conclude, live conferences can still be valuable for your business if you take them online. There are many ways to engage your audience and provide them tremendous value which will bring you a return on the investment in the long run. If you’d like to speak to a member of our team about how we can help you improve your virtual conference content, please contact us here!


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