You never forget your first business trip.
Mine was to Nashville for a tech conference. The venue was a convention center with multi-story hotels, a shopping plaza, several restaurants and a river filled with Venetian gondolas – all indoors, under a domed roof. It took a half hour to walk across this place. It was Jurassic Park or The Truman Show, but with procurement professionals roaming instead of dinosaurs.
Technology events have become a large part of my life over the years. PR professionals often spend weeks at events large and small, crisscrossing the country (and the world at times), logging dozens of hours on planes each year. Events defined how we interact with clients, design campaigns and ultimately, how we structure our professional and personal lives to navigate the travel.
That seems like a long time ago, doesn’t it? Travel was a big part our lives, and then… Good Afternoon, Good Evening and Goodnight. A PR pillar changed forever.
Virtual Events Are Here to Stay
One might think that such a fundamental shift would be made gradually, but it wasn’t. In early March, one of my clients – ironically, the same client as my first business trip – virtualized their annual user conference less than two weeks before it was scheduled to take place. Keynotes were streamed. Interviews were video conferences. The run-in on the show floor was a quick post-interview text message. Guess what – it all worked.
It worked because marketers have seen this coming for a long time. Conference attendance has been down for years. Travel budgets decrease year over year. The technology annually improves as an increasingly viable platform for reliable, scalable, personalized digital interaction.
PR has been ready to meet this challenge for a long time as well. Today, we formalize what we’ve been doing for clients for all shapes and sizes, events big and small. We understand that the venue has changed, but the expectations have not. Engaging an audience is all about answering a series of important questions that puts their interests as the driving force behind the content, at each stage of the event support process.
Has your workforce gone virtual, too? Check out our remote work checklist for the tools and technology you should be armed with.
The 3 Stages of Managing a Virtual Event
Don’t let the idea of going virtual overwhelm you. By breaking the process up into these three stages and leaning on your agency for support, you’re bound to deliver a highly-engaged event.
- PR’s Role in Pre-Event Logistics: What are your goals and objectives, and what type of attendee are you looking to attract? PAN works with you to determine the virtual event that’s right for your business. We can deliver a virtual experience with the same attentiveness and detail you’d expect from a physical one.
- Promotion and Execution During Your Virtual Event: What types of interactions do you hope to create as part of the event? We bring the right people together at the right time, with purpose. PAN supports your team to ensure the execution of the event is seamless, providing the framework and activation measures essential for success using ongoing promotion, content curation and engagement activities.
- Maintaining Engagement Post-Event: How do you make the connections and content from the event have a long shelf life? Ensure that the event’s impact extends far beyond sign-off by capturing relevant content and extending across channels to fuel broader marketing initiatives. Conduct feedback sessions and post-show activities that keep audiences engaged after the event is over.
PR’s role in the world of virtual events has never been stronger. The technology has changed – but the personalization, process and execution matter now more than ever. The next time you’re planning an event, help us share our expertise to make your virtual event a success.