From Live to Online – 5 Tips for Seamless Hybrid Events

Sara - Redback ConferencingBudget restrictions, time restraints and the ever growing need to have a competitive advantage. Over the last decade many external factors have impacted the way we plan, deliver and measure the return on investment from our live events and conferences. This has in turn created a case for technologies such as webcasts – an online tool that allows organisations to broadcast live or pre-recorded events to a virtual audience. Here are our five top tips for taking your next event online and delivering seamless hybrid events.

  1. Technology – avoiding Murphy’s Law

There’s a saying with technology – whatever can go wrong, has the potential to go wrong.

Ensure you have all bases covered. Tried and tested back up plans are critical when it comes to hybrid events.

Always ask the following questions when broadcasting from a venue:

  • Do you have a dedicated internet connection in the room?
  • What is the minimum upload speed of your internet connection?
  • Does the room have sufficient lighting?

Consider choosing a provider that offers complete end to end project management and looks after all the technical aspects of your event so you can focus on the webcast itself.

  1. Marketing – without cannibalising live attendance

It’s a common concern – “if delegates know my event is going to be a streamed, why would they attend in person?” While this fear is rational, studies show that when webcasting is used with best practices applied, it can lead to a greater number of both physical and virtual attendees. Still not convinced? Here are some marketing tips:

  • Advertise the virtual portion of your event closer to the actual date. You can then target those who may have said no or have failed to R.S.V.P.
  • Promote the webcast based on postal codes or to rural and remote delegates only
  • Webcast keynote sessions or special events only
  1. Post Event – using it to your advantage

Broadcasting a live event provides you with content that can be used on an ongoing basis.  Consider using your video content and hosting it for on-demand purposes. This will allow you to achieve the following:

  • New revenue opportunities: Sell your content at discounted rates
  • Added Benefits: Offer on-demand access to live attendees in case they missed certain sessions
  • Marketing opportunities: Use your video content to market future events
  1. Speaker Training – engaging those online

Speakers at hybrid events have to cater to both your live audience and virtual delegates. It’s therefore crucial that they are familiar with the technology, aware of all interactive tools and trained on engaging those in person and online. Here are some tips when it comes to training speakers:

  • Provide them with an example of a past webcast so they know what to expect
  • Encourage them to consider both the camera and the audience when presenting
  • Create a best practice guide and send it to them before the event
  1. Value Adds – how will you stand out from the rest?

As hybrid events become more commonplace so will the need to enhance the experience for virtual delegates before, during and after. Here are some ideas that will be sure to increase engagement levels.

Interviews: Broadcast interviews with speakers in between sessions

  • Exhibitors: Get them involved by offering a 60 second soapbox
  • Social Networks: Use both public and private social networks to increase networking opportunities

Sara Gonzalez
Redback Conferencing
PCO Association business partner

The 9th Annual PCOA Conference and Exhibition will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, 27 – 29 November 2016