Making Time Work for You Through Multi-Stage Digital Events
When you’re planning a digital event, it’s important to know what makes planning a one-shot event and multi-stage event different. Any multi-stage digital event brings an additional level of complexity, not only in terms of scheduling the dates but in terms of developing content, scheduling speakers and exhibitors, building an audience and measuring results from each stage of the event.
Here are some key principles to keep in mind to make your next multi-stage event a success:
- Keep it concise. One of the biggest mistakes that digital event organizers make with multi-stage events is to drag out the event for too long. Just because it’s a multi-stage digital event doesn’t mean you should drag out the schedule over a period of weeks. Instead, limit the event to a few days. An ideal timeframe for most multi-stage events is 3-to-5 days, with a few hours of content scheduled for each day. Don’t overload and overburden your audience. People won’t be able to attend every presentation or seminar. Attendees might get bored or fatigued (or worse, fail to show up at all) if the event goes on too long. “Multi-stage event” does not mean “eternal event.”
- Maintain a consistent theme. Planning for multi-stage digital events is similar to one-shot events in one respect: you need to plan a consistent theme for the event. Whether it’s a one-day event or a five-day multi-stage extravaganza, you need to maintain a specific theme to tie together the various presentations and pieces of content. Look for commonalities in the expertise and interests of your guest speakers. Identify unique and unexpected angles for your presenters to address – and find a way to connect these different angles with an overall event theme. Each seminar or presentation serves as one “act” of the overall “play” that is the digital event – but make sure your audience leaves the event understanding the big picture point of what they have just seen.
- Maintain consistent scheduling. For a multi-stage digital event, start the sessions at the same time each day so that people don’t get confused or forget to sign on. Make it easy for attendees to set up recurring appointments on their calendars. Or if you are giving your attendees a choice of morning and afternoon sessions, try to stagger the various presentations so that attendees have a chance to view all of the content that they want to see – for example, if one presentation is being given on Monday morning, offer that same presentation again on Tuesday afternoon.
- Build momentum. Each stage of the digital event should create interest and anticipation for the next stage. Look for ways to have your presenters refer to other upcoming sessions within their presentations or promote other sessions at the close of their presentations. Send regular updates to attendees via social media to share highlights and “teasers” to promote upcoming sessions – some of the most important digital event marketing happens while the event is in progress.
- Create a social media “bar” to support the event. For a multi-stage digital event, one of the best ways to accomplish the feeling of having attendees enter a space where it feels like a friendly, local bar is to set up a dedicated social media presence where they can congregate to share stories, exchange ideas and get constant updates about the next items on the agenda. If you work with a digital events platform provider like Social27, they can help you seamlessly integrate social media into your digital event – from Day 1 to the closing ceremonies.
- Ensure constant improvement. The best digital event platforms will give you a steady source of feedback and data from attendees. Pay attention to what you are hearing from your attendees – whether it’s post-presentation feedback surveys or more sophisticated instant polls like the Social27 mood-o-meter – and find out which aspects of the event are making an impact, and which ones need to be improved.
- Think like a broadcaster. Keep in mind that if your attendees are going to be there for a multiple day event, they are making a significant commitment of time and resources – so be prepared to hold their attention and reward their interest. Keep a good mix of live and on-demand content – with so much content being on-demand with platforms like Netflix or YouTube, your attendees will want to see a similar experience at your digital event. You can combine pre-recorded presentations with live Q&A if you want to include that interactive element.
Join the conversation. Agree with us? Good. Disagree? Even Better! Tell me why…
What are the biggest differences in planning for a one-shot event vs. a multi-stage/multi-day digital event? How can you keep momentum going between the various stages?
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