Remember when we would talk about streaming a single session or a breakout to an online audience? How tired are you of content only coming at you with no interaction or engagement? Another Webinar? No thanks.
In this brave new world all of us are embarking on, we are going to have to reimagine a lot of new norms. Hybrid meetings are high on that list. For those who are not familiar with the term, a hybrid event is 1 part live event and at least 1 part virtual event.
The post-covid virtual attendee demands and deserves more than what we have given them in the past. This will be increasingly true as webinar fatigue grows. If you are planning an event and truly want to engage and involve virtual attendees a simple web stream is not going to be enough (and maybe never was). A true hybrid event needs to work harder and be fully integrated into the overall event design.
The hybrid format has some excellent advantages. The online experience can be leveraged to create excitement and a feeling of having been left out of the live event to drive physical attendance in subsequent years. With travel restrictions still in place and staying that way for the foreseeable future, having an online event allows people to attend who could not otherwise. The online platforms are also unlimited in terms of space and time. You can have as many online attendees as you want and not have to worry about social distancing or catering. Once you reach your physical attendance limit, pushing the rest to online as an excellent alternative. Every move an online participant makes can be captured for a clear picture of your ROI. Finally, with on demand options, your content can also be made available to anyone at any time. There are many more, but these highlights give you the picture.
Hybrid is the future. So let’s get good at it!
Below are some ideas and thoughts in a few key areas. Let us know what you think!
Integrate the experience:
- Use the online platform as your event app or the app that comes with it.
- Show the online audience to the live audience and reverse from the main stage.
- Require a dress code for the online audience
- Send the online audience selfie cards or something they can hold up to the camera and share on social media
- Send gift packages with treats or swag
- Have talkbacks and Q&As from the online audience
- Host special breakout sessions for online audience with speakers, sponsors or exhibitors
Design the experience:
- Use a platform or robust streaming platform like streamyard.com
- Brand everything and offer sponsors the opportunity to participate
- Using a virtual MC is a huge asset or
- A broadcast style desk for setting-up and closing of sessions. Include interviews with speakers, unpacking complex topics and/or offer context/perspective on the session.
- Allow participants to create their own unique schedules and experiences.
- Include the online audience in the gamification of actions
- Include the live registrants in the profiles on line. Allow everyone at the event to participate in virtual meetings and video 1:1s
- Leverage both the app communications and Social Media platforms
Pricing it Out:
- Charge for the virtual part of your event! Yes, you can.
- Gate the experience with ticketing levels
- On demand content after the event can be charged for or access can be included in early bird for next meeting
- Collect the data from your online participants actions to guide your program development and marketing
- Use on demand content for long tail returns and marketing for the next event
- Extend the reach of your event after the conference is over, you can host unique content for follow-up conversations