“See you on Zoom!” How many times have you heard that since 2020? From work to school to social gatherings, our lives have shifted online – and so have many PR events. Zoom interviews, online webinars, virtual press conferences and more have largely replaced in-person activities, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down.
At SKC, we believe the advantages of going virtual outweigh the challenges. We’ve organized several online events over the last year, and now we’re letting you in on our secrets!
Here are 8 tips for planning a successful virtual press event:
1. Do You Really Need a Press Event?
Right, this is a surprising tip, but an important one. Before you journey down the rabbit hole, ask yourself one simple question: do we really need a press event? The end goal of any event – whether it’s virtual or in-person – is to attract attention and interest. In fact, there could be other options that work in your favor! Alternatives might include pitching one-on-one briefings to the media (every journo loves an exclusive scoop), working with influencers to get the word out, or even creating a viral video. Put on your thinking cap and contemplate all available courses of action before committing to a press event – you might make a bigger impact for way less effort.
2. Ride the Wave of Bigger Events
Setting up a virtual event can drain your time, talent, and resources. One approach several companies have taken is to ease their burden of brainstorming and building an event from scratch, and instead to host their event at other prominent industry gatherings. By latching onto these larger activities, you’ll have a head-start with a built-in audience and media attendance. Pepcom and Showstoppers are two examples of companies that host virtual media showcases and product demos that your brand can join.
3. Real-Time Relevancy Gets Real Results
What’s the job of a journalist? Simply put, to report the news. So, when planning a virtual event, make it newsworthy! Hook onto trends shaping your industry, real-time news, or cultural movements to reel in media nibbles. Always make sure to connect your virtual event with the topics beat reporters cover, then include it in your invitation, media pitch and overall event marketing strategy. And if you can’t find a relevant, newsworthy angle? Well, then it may be time to go back to the drawing board (and the first tip on this list).
4. Deck it Out!
Let’s face it: no one wants to sit through a 90-minute video conference while a spokesperson drones on and on… and on. Amp up the attraction with unique, exciting ideas to encourage attendance and make your virtual event stand out from the pack. Spicing up your regularly scheduled programming with a celebrity spokesperson, industry thought leader, exciting videos, or even a giveaway could help drive interest and boost audience numbers.
5. Target the Right Media
If a company hosts a press event and no journalists cover it, does it make an impact? Perhaps, but getting media attention can help you make an even bigger splash – and more bang for your buck. The trick is to invite media whose audience will find value in the information you’re presenting. Ask yourself these simple questions: Who writes about my industry? Who and how will this event help them write informed stories? Who will be interested in my news hook? These answers will help you hone in on the voices most likely to engage with your event and develop a targeted, effective media list.
6. Accommodate Your Audience
One of the best parts of a virtual event is flexibility. Not everyone you invite will be able to watch live due to scheduling conflicts or time zones. But with Zoom, YouTube, Twitch, and many other streaming platforms, you can turn your live event into one available on-demand! After every event, remember to provide your registrants list with a link to the recording. This will expand your audience and help those who attended live refresh their memory, clip speaker quotes and portray your message properly.
7. Use the Right Technology
During live events, it’s all about location, location, location – booking a nice venue or speaking stage. Virtual events may not have to worry about location, but they do have another aspect to consider: technology. For some, it may be as simple as setting up a video call through Zoom. For others, a more robust or custom solution – especially in terms of security and audience interaction – may be the way to go. So, which platform should you use? It all depends on the type of event you’re hosting. Zoom webinars are typically helpful for simple events like press conferences, where limited features are needed, but product demos, conferences and more require additional tech to bring your event to life.
8. Make it Interactive
Screen fatigue is real. Capturing your audience’s attention (and keeping it) is one of the most critical and challenging aspects of planning a virtual event. Remember, your objective isn’t just to get your message across but to deliver a memorable experience that delights your audience! From simple multimedia – such as a slide deck, visually pleasing background, or short videos – to adding interactive live polling or Q&A elements, even the small touches add up to a big difference. Take advantage of the technology at your disposal to turn your virtual event into a smashing success!
Virtual events may be relatively new, but they’re here to stay. And, as with any new process, practice makes perfect. Follow these eight steps and you’ll be well on your way to hosting flexible, engaging press events befitting the virtual era!
Are you planning a virtual event? Our team at SKC is happy to offer you a complimentary consultation. Schedule it here: