With the benefits that hybrid events offer to organisers and participants, in the second in our series of posts on how thinking like a TV Producer can help the success of your hybrid event, we share our top tips for the best virtual and in-person participant engagement.
Getting the benefits of attending in-person or online to be the same
No one wants to feel like the poor cousin. At its worst, the online participant experience is like watching CCTV footage. Everyone is a digital participant before and after the event, so start building your community long before the event starts and plan the legacy you want to happen from your event.
At a recent hybrid event (where we only assisted on the day of the event), there was a pre-registered online audience of over 1,000. On the day the digital audience reached a maximum of 39. When you are investing your time and budget to make a successful hybrid event, you need to start engaging with your audience at least 6-8 weeks before the event. If the audience feels like they are actively involved with the event they are much more likely to participate.
Choosing the right platform
Ideally, you want your virtual platform to also be an event app. This means both audiences have the same Q&A; the same polling and the same access to content.
Virtual audience only
We can all see the benefits of being at an in-person event. In breaks, you might have the opportunity to ask your question or get clarification from a speaker. It is easier to target your networking and spot people you’d like to talk to. You can ‘read the room’ quickly, gauging reactions and the enthusiasm for different topics. And you are more likely to have that internal boost from the energy in the room.
We highly recommend making some content ‘Virtual Audience Only’ to increase the value for a virtual audience. This might take the form of ‘Meet the Speaker’; a virtual backstage pass; a post-event Q&A etc.
Think about different learning styles
Make it visual. Have an artist illustrate sessions with sketch notes. Graphically recording what was discussed helps those who learn visually and is always a success on social media.
If you like these top tips on content and engagement, check out the next in our series ‘Going Hybrid’ – considering your audience. This series of articles is thanks to the shared insights and collaborations between Emma Wellstead and her fellow MPI Chapter colleague, Brian Hand (Eventcomms Consulting). And look out for the last in the series, coming soon!
With grateful thanks to Arne Olav Gurvin Fredriksen for his fantastic hybrid Burb. Check out his other hybrid animals on Instagram.