We all have these moments that stand out in our careers. Our dream promotion that manages to tackle a huge project; Just something that brings back the feeling of seeing your testimonial hanging on the fridge with pride. For me it was part of the team for one of the biggest Adobe Summit events.
Responsibility for the content strategy for virtual events means that there are always 16-25 weeks before the summit packed full. In all honesty, it’s an environment that I thrive in. So it was no surprise that the news that Summit was going to be a virtual hit stopped me. The rumor was no longer a rumor and I saw a challenge the size of Everest before us. We had about 25 days to tackle this and from an event rush junkie perspective it was well worth it.
Still, no event, online or in person, is perfect. We had our peaks and valleys and we learned a lot from them. Here’s how it is, the five do’s and don’ts, when making your event virtual:
1. Do: Be an advocate for your speaker.
Don’t let your speakers be the lowly man at the totem pole of priorities. That is not their job; They offer their time and energy to help your event. Overcommunication with speakers is the number one rule. If you don’t have an answer – tell them so. If things are still changing, your spokesperson should know. Also, be the lawyer your speakers need. If you’re in planning meetings and you know something isn’t a great speaking experience, don’t hold back (but don’t forget your manners!).
2. Not: Only have internal speakers.
When you look at your content and event from the outside in, your boss’s boss will sing your praises. Your customers are your company’s best voice. When customers speak at your event, they are giving personal endorsement of your platform, brand and offerings. While internal speakers are great and should always have meetings, the customer speaker has the strongest impact.
3. Do the following: Be very careful about the length of the breakouts.
I don’t know about you, but my attention span can be between a goldfish and a dog begging for treats. You want the content that you have been developing for weeks to see it. So make them consumable. No 45 minute sessions – mostly only 9-15 minutes of content is viewed. Cut open the fluff and get straight to the meat of the presentation.
4. Don’t: Get cut out of the host-platform conversations.
As a content manager, it is important that you understand what technology you want your speakers to record on. It is understandable, and possibly to be expected, for others more into the tech to make the final call on the best platform. If you can, take part in the demos and see the quality produced. We had problems with not clear screenshots. as well as Some issues switching between presentation and demos while recording our outbursts – This resulted in more post production work than expected. All of this is to be expected, but if you want to ask for sample records of the content you’re trying to produce, you can avoid Curveballs.
5. Do: Weigh the pros and cons of a live session versus the recorded session.
I totally get it – the thrill and excitement of a live event is alluring. Don’t commit yourself until you remember everything That comes with hosting a live event. What if the WiFi drops? What if you have streaming issues? What about platform errors? Is there a middle ground for just a live Q&A instead of a full session? Is it time zone friendly for your speakers? If not, how will that affect your agenda? Take an extra day to figure out anything that could go wrong or be affected by a live event.
This list certainly doesn’t cover everything that is important for the virtual representation of your content, but it is a starting point. If you keep the client updated through their speaker and attendee experience, you ultimately already have a worthy virtual event.