Content is king, especially for sponsors.
What really drives people to attend your event?
Is it the speakers, the message you send out, the topics or could it be your offer of multiple content options?
Quite often we still look to entice people to our virtual events based on a single stage schedule and end-of-day keynote speakers. While these work in a physical conference, they do not deliver the same impact in a virtual world. One where we can tune in and out diminishes our desire to sit through padding content. After all, most keynotes will appear on-line soon after the event is over.
In a world where we value choice, it is hard to understand why we are still expected to adopt these habits.
Applying physical event thinking to a virtual world is akin to watching terrestrial TV at home when we have Netflix available on our phone.
We all watch content that appeals to us at a time that suits us, so why should your virtual event not mirror our choices. If the live stage segment is not appealing to me then provide exclusive on-demand content that I can click to and return to the live stream later on. All me to watch 10-15 minute curated pieces on key interest points in and around the conference theme itself, or you could just let me click off and browse the internet for a while.
Keeping an audience’s interest is key for everyone involved, including your sponsors and exhibitors. The more time spent on the event site itself offers more opportunities to engage with others.
Being realistic and knowing full well that attendees will not pay attention to the entire program should push you to take this into consideration when you plan your event. Most events will have an attention curve, usually this correlates to the opening and closing speakers. These by nature produce the highest numbers of viewers so by refocusing on how you can plan out the day more efficiently, can produce a more even curve. If your event is purely virtual then, the timing of the key notes and panel discussion should be formatted to invite customers across various time zones to participate and not be dictated by the needs of the host venue.
Another gain can be made by quickly recording, editing and reposting live aspects into your on-demand segment as these can appeal to those attendees who log on at later times.
The only real value of any live segments is if the audience can be engaged with active discussions with those on stage or if there is some gamification built in, otherwise these could all be pre-recorded on-demand content.
Event sponsors mark their success based on the number of attendees as well as opportunity to engage with both visitors and exhibitors during the event process itself.
Hosting a number of virtual side channels as well as on-demand content under the banner of title sponsors adds value. Think of this as how Pepsi hosts the Super Bowl half-time show, all live acts and game discussion pieces are presented under the Pepsi banner.
Side channels can come in the form of content that can be categorised by topic and can even appeal to different sponsors for each.
So keep content at the top of your list
Content is alway the key to delivering perceived value for an audience as well as enticing them to return to your event or even to similar ones you may host under your events brand umbrella.
Planning your content schedule is more about adjusting what you wish to deliver to the way your potential audience consumes their content on a daily basis.
Allowing sponsors and exhibitors ways to host, create and become part of the virtual event narrative ensures they support your event going forward. If they are engaged to sit on the side lines and wait for a virtual attendee to contact them, then this becomes a wasteful exercise for all involved.
Think content, content and how you can deliver content.