Faced with the COVID pandemic, events inevitably turned virtual out of pure necessity. As we enter 2021, experts (including those from Forbes) anticipate that the virtual trend continues – now that event coordinators and sponsors alike have experienced the benefits of going totally virtual. The lack of need to visit a physical location completely opens the event to previously unreachable target audiences. No more visa issues, travel restrictions, or pricey transportation or hotels costs – all anyone needs is a computer and internet connection. This also means a lower cost for managers and a higher potential ROI at the end of the day.

Naturally, where there are pros, there are cons. As with anything that exists online, keeping engagement strong and running is the biggest challenge. Going virtual is NOT an easy pass for an easy event. If anything, virtual events can be a bigger challenge than before. And in these new environments that are genuinely new to many event planners and event-goers alike, video has become irreplaceable as a means to generate interest. Here is how you can leverage video for your next event.

Commoditize your videos for viewers

Not everyone can make it to your virtual events, but might still have an active interest in the information you have to provide. Just as realistically, there may be people that choose not to attend the event but still have an interest in a single panel or discussion that occurs. Even before COVID, it was common practice to bring a professional video team to record event panels to put up for a buyable fee online. With virtual events, all the presentations are on-camera anyway. Just make sure to record and you have content to either provide for a fee, or for free after the fact.

Commoditize videos for your sponsors as a value-add

Here’s another great option with video when you’re in the early phases of planning. Many virtual event platforms today provide the ability for sponsors to have a “virtual booth.” Exactly as the name suggests, they are the virtual version of vendor or sponsor booths that you’d typically have set up in a hall in a physical event. Sponsors are still a massive factor in pulling together any event, conference, or trade show, and without a physical booth to offer it can feel daunting finding how to entice potential sponsors to buy into the opportunity. Videos from these sponsors – whether it’s a presentation about their product or service, or even a “Welcome” talking head video from one of their representatives, not only adds more substance to their booth, and the overall engagement of the event, but also serves as a tangible product that they can walk away from the sponsorship with to say “this sponsorship was absolutely worth it!”

Live vs Pre-recorded

Videos come in two options: live or pre-recorded. Both have their pros and cons – so here’s why we recommend your incorporate both. Live video feels authentic, and gives viewers reasons to feel compelled to watch now and not later – they’re not sure if they’ll be able to catch the content later on and may not want to miss something. That results in direct engagement.

However, the benefit of pre-recorded content is that you can put the time to ensure a more quality product. Live videos are inevitably riddled with mistakes here or there, be it a technical issue or just getting a good flow going. Pre-recorded video ensures some degree of guaranteed quality, and especially when you’re kicking an event off or have a particular important message, this is golden.

This is why we recommend both, especially for your sponsors. It’s already a given that your pre-arranged speakers will be speaking live. But it’s just as beneficial to give your sponsors the opportunity to have both live and pre-recorded video options.  The live video component typically consists of a “general chat” room which members can enter and either hear what’s being said or interact directly with the brand representative. However, it’s much harder for attendees to hop into one of these rooms in the middle of a conversation and ask for general information about the company when the live booth is typically for more in-depth information. That’s where it’s valuable to present a general information video that may immediately answer the more common questions: what does the company do, why viewers should care, and so on, and what products and services are offered.

Quality Matters

Many streaming platforms, especially on an entry or free subscription, will not offer what we consider today’s standard in image quality. That means if you’re not careful, you could accidentally compromise on the overall viewability of your video content. A common example is when video streaming platforms state that they offer 1080p streaming, but 720p download. This means although the stream itself looks clear, when you download it and either share or sell it the image is considerably more pixelated. This is why, just like an event planner might hire a professional A/V team to handle a physical conference, it’s necessary to ensure the right people are handling the video side of your event. After all, in 2020, video is a much more significant aspect of your event.

Keeping these points in mind will ensure you make more informed decisions about your incoming 2021 virtual event. If the pandemic has showed anything, it is how rapidly digital transformation can occur, just how much success one can experience if they stay ahead of the curve in terms of the way these mediums are reappropriated.

Got an event yourself and looking to boost the game of your video content? Arc and Crown Media is your go-to guide to great video. Why not schedule a chat with us here?

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