We’re now more than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic and admit it: you miss in-person conferences and events. At least a little. While segments of the country are inching back toward some sense of normalcy, it will be a while before thousands of people are gathered in convention centers and hotel conference centers again.
This continues to pose a challenge for traditionally face-to-face organizations that need to reach business, government, and consumer technology decision-makers. Additionally, it’s why many have been evaluating and participating in virtual technology conferences and events, or even shifting their own user conferences and events from in-person to virtual.
As your organization maps out its 2021 in-person, hybrid, and virtual event strategy, there are several considerations when it comes to investing time, money, and resources.
Is This Their First Rodeo?
Technology providers must determine if the event organizer has hosted virtual events in the past. If they are familiar with the virtual event landscape, it is important to determine what attendance and sponsorship looked like at the previous event and if the speaker lineup has been credible and on target. Determining past event involvement can also help speakers form expectations about participation levels. An experienced virtual event host suggests a deeper attendee pool and gives companies a glimpse at the event at hand by looking at past hosted events.
Pay to Play?
It is important for organizations to evaluate investment in sponsored speaking opportunities or sponsorships overall. Speaking engagements provide companies with a hard-to-come-by platform depending on attendance. Speaking slots with no fee associated can be competitive when you’re submitting with a pool of people to a program with strict standards. Sponsored sessions, on the other hand, are easier to get if you’re willing to pay for it, and give speakers more leeway on what they cover. Because of this, organizations should consider how the event host will drive attendance, especially now that travel doesn’t pose an issue, and how the conference content will be made available to optimize virtual viewership.
Try Not ‘Playing to Play’
When looking for opportunities, there are a few key things to consider before nominating a subject matter expert for speaking roles. Various event organizers offer calls for speakers when looking for guests to participate in panels at conferences. The submission form may offer a broad nomination for a general conference or may offer categories in which specific topics will be discussed. Categories narrow down the specificities of the topic the thought leader will be speaking about. It allows experts to delve deeper into the topic at hand and, in turn, highlights the speaker’s expertise. Finding the right speaking role is important, as is including the right members of the press to listen to a speaking engagement for potential coverage opportunities. Inviting reporters from trade publications specific to an industry, as well as national reporters who cover specific topics are valuable assets to optimize additional press opportunities and increase the overall value of the session.
Host Your Own Virtual Event
While industry events are all reeling from the switch from in-person to virtual, this may be the time to consider hosting your own virtual event – if you are not doing so already. There are more avenues now than ever before to bring customers, partners, prospects, and thought leaders together virtually. Even before the global pandemic, some potential event prospects were limited by the event’s location. With digital events, that is no longer an issue. All an attendee needs these days is a viable internet connection. The importance of convening has not gone away, we just had to change the way we approach it.
Bluetext Virtual Events are built on the idea that bringing the right people, information, and ideas together is what events are all about. Our platform was designed to feel as close to a real event as possible, rather than just another webinar, video conference, or live stream.
While some may see virtual events as a Plan B to in-person events, virtual events have brought new opportunities to a wider, global audience. Whether you are looking for the right PR agency partner to navigate the virtual and in-person event landscape or leverage our platform to host your own virtual event, Bluetext can help. If you want to learn more contact us today.