Your Audience is Not Being Held Captive: A Few More Thoughts on Virtual Events (Part 3)

Remember your 2019 conference? Sure you do! Wax nostalgic for a bit while you take a trip down memory lane. Your attendees were lined up (a tad haphazardly) outside the ballroom awaiting the doors to open so they could enter the keynote and, when they did, they were quite a captive group, weren’t they? “Oh, it was going to be even bigger and better next year,” you thought as a smile came to your face. In fact, you were putting those plans into motion, weren’t you? You and your team were working to best the conference you just had the postmortem on when, Murphy and his Law paid a visit to the entire world and showed up [gasp!*] contagious.

Yada, yada, yada….virtual events. Been there, done that, still am, hybrids are here to stay…

Exactly! So, let’s take a moment to chat about your virtual audience members.

For years you’d been working on ways to make your live experience more engaging to keep attendees focused on content versus their increasingly connected devices, but you still had posteriors in your seats. Virtual events are akin to replacing your on-stage presence with not one, but several screens and handing each attendee their own remote control. Bad enough, but, oh yeah – they are sitting in their own chairs and, ready for it? At home.

So, what’s an event marketer to do? What we always do! Learn, adapt, and now, more than ever, let go. The red thread of experiential marketing for a live event may not have given you control of your audience, but it was very influential and guiding. For your virtual event/content, you’re going to have to provide each attendee with their own needle, but you still hold the spool of thread.

My next blog will provide best practices to help you develop content specifically for virtual events, as well as why I recommend shifting from a ‘push’ to ‘pull’ mentality.

*Note: At least the pandemic has, obviously, allowed me to spend more time with my teenage daughter. Hmm…she may not see that as a positive (please don’t ask her).