Lessons From 2023: How To Build Better Virtual Events In 2024

Lessons From 2023: How To Build Better Virtual Events In 2024

Lisa leads marketing at Kaltura. She enjoys finding the right balance between the art and science of marketing.

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As a data-driven marketer, I always look forward to that special time when one year comes to a close and another one rises. All the data, reports, insights and numbers collected over the past year pose a unique opportunity to reflect, assess and improve our performance for the coming year.

Here are the key lessons my team and I have learned this past year, not only from helping our customers execute top-notch virtual events, but by doing some ourselves, as well.

Leverage AI

Do I really need to say it?

Yes, AI is no unsung hero—its praises have already been extensively heard. But that’s for a very good reason. AI enables affordable scalability to everything you do, streamlines operations and provides analysis to inform actionable insights.

On top of that, it can be applied at nearly every stage of the virtual event creation and management process. From content creation and email promotion to personalized content and real-time attendee engagement, AI is making it easier to host more engaging, personalized experiences your viewers will appreciate. And with AI-powered content repurposing, your event’s content lives on.

Tangible Value

While people love in-person events for the experience and the networking, they attend virtual events to get inspired and actually learn something. So, make your sessions clearly and visibly valuable.

When planning events, ask yourself: What new issues will be discussed? What skills will be taught? What’s in it for the attendees? If you can have the speakers add their own successes and failures, then all the better. Help attendees learn from their idols.

Reach For The Star (Speakers)

Because why not? You would be shocked at the impact that having virtual participation opportunities has made on landing the big names you really want to speak at your event. Virtual events allow for flexibility and make it easier to accommodate everyone’s busy schedule. So, use every connection at your disposal to find the right person and the right way to reach out to them, they might just surprise you with a yes!

The best part of landing a star? Stars attract stars, and the more appealing your speaker lineup, the better your registration, attendance and, of course, engagement.

Mix It Up

From three-hour to three-day events, having a limited selection of session types will bore your attendees. Make sure to mix up the formats in your planned agenda to keep the interest levels high and include polls and chat boxes for an optimal attendee experience.

Keynotes, one-to-one fireside chats, panels, workshops, masterclasses, game shows, live podcast shows and more are all ways to keep your guests watching and engaged.

For Longer Events, Gamification Is Engagement’s Best Friend

Virtual events are all about education—so it’s important to remember that everyone’s favorite part of school is recess. While varying the formats of the sessions helps, finding time for some relevant rest or entertainment is key. Trivia contests or games hows can be made industry-specific (after all, many of us are in the same field—our senses of humor may be relatively aligned).

That’s too much fun for your audience? Find a case study that can be retold in a light and engaging way. Remember: Your attendees are there to learn, but if they can have a good time doing so, you’ve produced an event that will be all the more memorable.

New Content In The Lead-Up

As important as it is for the event to go off without a hitch in real time, you also need to focus on laying the groundwork for the event in the days and weeks leading up to it, and not just with marketing and promotion.

Use the time before the conference to showcase the type of expertise that attendees will have access to. Issue new reports, provide teasers for new insights or give advanced copies of new white papers. Show potential attendees that showing up will be well worth their time.

Double Down On Interesting Content With Post-Event Events (Yes, That Means Webinars)

In the aftermath of an event, there will be some things that are clear right away, such as which sessions were hits (and which were not). Some of those sessions may just be rich enough to revisit in the next major virtual event you have. And yes—most of those topics won’t be, but they are likely more than enough for a webinar.

Don’t treat the webinar like a revisit of the session; rather, make it the next level of training. A robust webinar strategy is arguably the best way to reinforce the fact that your brand is a leading place to go for knowledge and up-to-date insights on a specific topic. Convert your casual attendees into avid subscribers of your content and the possibilities are endless.

Creating events that genuinely stand out in an increasingly crowded virtual events space is no small feat. With that in mind, make sure to double down on the items that you know are of interest to your targets, without falling into too set a routine or becoming predictable. Experiment with new tactics, respond to new trends that you are seeing in your industry and re-create the elements you loved about other events in your own—that’s what I plan on doing this year to make events just that much better in 2024.


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