How to Incorporate Online Events into Your In-Person Events

While online events are gaining traction, there still are many reasons to have in-person events. Some sponsors prefer in-person booths, some attendees enjoy the chance to leave the office for a few days, and other reasons. However, you may still want the opportunity to reach a larger audience – sponsors who like the option of online downloads in their booths, attendees who prefer to learn from home or their offices, bosses who don’t want to pay for travel costs. 

You can combine the two very successfully to get the best of both worlds. Here are a few of our tips to do so.

1. Live stream your sessions

To make the online attendees feel like they’re really a part of the action, live stream your presentations during the in-person event. You can do this using any number of applications, such as YouTube Live (which now has taken over Google Hangouts), LiveStream, etc. Anything that gives you a live stream link will work successfully. 

Make sure that you have a good quality camera (a GoPro or a good smart phone camera A Lobby for Online Eventswill both work great) and that your audience can see both the slides and the presenter’s face. 

2. Make the slide decks available online.

This will benefit both your in-person and your online attendees. Whether they’re sitting in
the back of the room and forgot their glasses or they simply follow along better when they have the slides in front of them on their computer, always make sure you have slides available. 

This will be great for after the live portion of the event as well. Those who attended the sessions live will like having the deck to refer to in the future and those who missed the session will be able to look back and see what they missed.

3. Make the presentations available On Demand for both in-person and online attendees

Just about every in-person conference I’ve been to has more than one presentation going at a time. Because of this, it’s impossible for any attendee, no matter how meticulous, to
 see all of the content live. Your in-person attendees will be excited about the opportunity to be able to catch the presentations that they missed, and your online attendees will be more likely to view all of the presentations at their leisure. 

4. Allow your online and in-person attendees both to participate in Q&A

You can do this a couple of different ways. Your speaker/presenter can have an online chat room that they can refer to during the Q&A with the in-person crowd, so that they answer questions from both audiences; alternatively, you can ask your speaker to answer questions from the online audience after the event using a chat room. 

Either way, you’ll want your online audience to feel as much a part of the action as your in-person crowd. In-person attendees tend to try to catch the speaker after they are finished with their presentation, whether by the stage or in the lobby afterwards. Your online event audience does not have that opportunity, so you need to make sure that they have the option to ask their questions as well. 

5. Work with your sponsors

You have more sponsor real estate, so to speak, utilizing in-person and online events simultaneously. It’s quite easy for sponsors to send you materials for an online booth – typically online downloads, links to their site, online giveaways, and graphics. This opens up a lot of opportunities for different kinds of sponsorships. 

Your in-person sponsors may want to have both virtual and physical booths as well. You should approach them and see if they would be interested in having an online and a physical presence at your event. 

Keeping these few tips in mind, you can have a truly successful online event to accompany and broaden the audience for your in-person event!

Have any questions? Send me an email at caitlin@vconferenceonline.com and I’ll be happy to help out!

Event Schedules – Live vs Sim Live vs On Demand

Why Virtual?
Josh Harrison
Producer
vConferenceOnline

Event Schedules – Live vs Sim Live vs On Demand

Oh good! You’re still reading my articles! If I was a blogging kind of person, I suppose you could call these blogs. Whatever works for you.

How was that for small talk? OK, back on track now. Event Schedules. This is an important part of planning your online event. Many people are used to a scheduled day or set of days with sessions scheduled to start at certain times along with allotted time for breaks, special gatherings and exhibits. At an in person conference you are almost restricted by a schedule because no one has figured out how to be in 2 places at 1 time. Enter the “online” event. Time is no longer your enemy (in most cases).

There are 3 main ways to go about placing out or scheduling your event’s content.
Live – This means you are streaming out the content (usually audio and some sort of video) to your attendees in real time as it is happening. This is common when an online event is running alongside an in person event. This is also a very common format for people who have done webinars with teleconferencing involved. Live is there for a few good reasons, but many people do it this way simply because they don’t realize there is a better way. Don’t get me wrong, live certainly has its place. I would say those places are running alongside a live in person event or where 2 way interaction drives the live session’s content…Like a call and response sort of scenario. However, as you’ll find if you continue to read this, there are some interesting ways to maximize your content and time by avoiding “Live”.

Simulated Live – This is where there is a schedule for the event and content will be shown at a specific time, but the content has been pre-recorded. Think “like TV”. This is a favored delivery method because session content can be recorded and presented without the risks of “live” problems ruining the event. There are currently much more easily accessible technologies to help create your session in a non real-time project format than there are for content generation in a live stream scenario. You may say, “how do we get the interaction then?” “Good question!” I would say. Chat is a very common part of any online event. It allows attendees to interact with support staff, presenters, vendors, and even each other in a medium that almost everyone is familiar with. The beauty of pre-recorded sessions is that the presenter can be discussing his/her session with the viewers as his/her content is being played back. Rather than having to wait for questions until the end of the presentation which limits the amount of time that can be devoted to the viewers questions. Thus limiting the very interaction that you thought you could only get with a live event.

On-Demand – Do you have a DVR? Do you love it? Why? (Besides fast forwarding the commercials). Because it allows you to watch what you want when you want to. Most of the world is headed this way. We are becoming accustomed to receiving our information when and how we want it. On-Demand events allow content to always be available to the attendee which allows them to say “Thank you Mr/Mrs Event planner”. Think about it. What if your event is 3 days long and an attendee can only attend 1 of those days. He really wants to participate but he can’t conform to YOUR schedule. Don’t lose him because of this, your event can conform to HIS schedule.

On-Demand can also bolster your event as an added option. Some event planners charge for On-Demand, some use it as a value add and some go all out and do On-Demand only. Keep in mind that if you’re concerned about attendee interaction, On-Demand can be setup with email discussion systems that alert the presenter whenever a viewer has a comment or question. A popular option for Education is to have office hours with the presenter so that students can watch when they want and then gather together at a pre determined date and time to discuss. I will make a bold assertion and say that this is also the way of the future. It only makes sense as people’s schedules get busier and work/personal lines get blurred. This works for some forms of content and not for others. Remember, use the right tools for the job.