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The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Event Planning: A Comprehensive Approach

Virtual events have become an integral part of our lives, and they are here to stay. While in-person events are slowly making a comeback, virtual events continue to be a powerful tool in event planning....

Virtual events have become an integral part of our lives, and they are here to stay. While in-person events are slowly making a comeback, virtual events continue to be a powerful tool in event planning. If you want to plan a successful virtual event, this guide is your go-to resource. From understanding the benefits of virtual events to exploring different event types and planning strategies, we have got you covered.

What is a virtual event?

A virtual event is an online event that utilizes live streams, recorded videos, audio calls, or any other form of digital communication. Unlike in-person events, virtual events are accessible to anyone with an internet connection. They can range from impromptu live streams on social media platforms to multi-day conferences with live speakers and breakout sessions.

Different types of virtual events

Virtual events come in various forms, each with its own purpose and structure. Here are some common types:

  • Conferences: These events happen in real time and may or may not offer access to recorded sessions online afterward.
  • Webinars: Webinars are educational and how-to driven, usually presented as standalone sessions or in a series covering a central theme.
  • Internal hybrid events: These events live-stream a physical, in-person gathering between employees and partners of your brand.
  • External hybrid events: External hybrid events live-stream physical get-togethers with customers, attendees, and other participants outside of your organization.

Why host a virtual event?

Hosting a virtual event opens up opportunities to reach a wider audience. People with physical disabilities, busy schedules, or financial constraints can now participate in events they wouldn't have been able to attend otherwise. Virtual events are cost-effective as they don't require a physical event space, and they offer valuable data insights about your audience. In a post-pandemic world, going fully digital allows organizations to continue brand awareness activities and develop new strategies for reaching critical audiences.

Why virtual events are the events of the future

Virtual events are reshaping the event industry's future. As tech venture capitalists invest billions of dollars into promising tools, virtual events have emerged as a sustainable and barrier-free alternative to physical events. They make it easier for speakers and attendees to join in, and they offer valuable metrics to guide future event planning. The success of events like Wrike Collaborate 2022, with over 4,500 registrations and on-demand sessions, further demonstrates the potential of virtual events.

Does a virtual event need a presenter?

While presenters play a crucial role in many virtual events, not all events need to revolve around a single host or group of speakers. Some events thrive as social or networking opportunities, while others function as group-driven experiences like accountability workshops or topic masterminds. The choice of event format should align with your specific goals and audience preferences.

How do you plan a virtual event?

Planning a virtual event involves similar steps to organizing an in-person event. However, there are key differences in researching your audience, choosing the event type, selecting a hosting platform, and leveraging event technology. Here's a step-by-step approach:

Step 1: Research your virtual audience

Given the global reach of virtual events, your audience might differ from your in-person event attendees. Create target attendee profiles with this in mind and consider hosting speakers who couldn't normally attend physical events. Provide valuable digital resources like workbooks and templates to enhance the experience for your virtual attendees.

Step 2: Choose a virtual event type

Decide whether to opt for live streams, pre-recorded sessions, or a combination of both. Live streams are suitable for interactive conferences or workshops with Q&A sessions, while pre-recorded sessions offer flexibility for attendees to view at their convenience.

Step 3: Decide where to host it

For live-streamed events, consider platforms like Facebook or TikTok to engage with your target audience. If you prefer a dedicated website, create a unique URL to host pre-recorded session videos. Utilize email capture at the virtual door to grow your contact list.

Step 4: Grab virtual event technology

To plan, execute, and measure your virtual event's success, leverage virtual event technology. Start by organizing your goals and action plan with a virtual event planning template. The choice of additional tools will depend on the event type and key performance indicators (KPIs) you set.

The virtual event planning checklist

To ensure a seamless virtual event experience, follow these key steps:

  1. Create lead goals aligned with your marketing, sales, and business targets.
  2. Define your audience by researching their online habits and identifying high ROI groups.
  3. Choose a compelling event topic or theme based on your target audience's needs and wants.
  4. Create a unique name, tagline, and hashtag for your event.
  5. Determine the event structure (e.g., multi-session conference or one-time workshop) based on your chosen subject(s).
  6. Select the timezone, time, and date(s) that align with your audience's technology habits.
  7. Outline or record the content you'll provide during the event.
  8. Invite relevant speakers, partners, and team members to contribute.
  9. Develop a comprehensive digital marketing and promotion plan.
  10. Seek sponsorship opportunities to enhance your event.
  11. Set up a dedicated website, landing page, or hosting platform for your event.
  12. Utilize virtual event planning software to streamline and manage all aspects of your event.

What virtual event technology do you need?

Smoothly running a high-quality virtual event requires specific technology solutions. Consider the following:

  • A website builder for event promotion and hosting information.
  • A registration tool to capture emails, share updates, and distribute access links.
  • Physical equipment such as cameras, lights, and microphones for better-quality video production.
  • Video editing software for pre-recorded sessions.
  • Virtual event planning software to streamline organization, execution, and measurement.

Features to look for in virtual event planner and software

When selecting virtual event planning software, prioritize features that help you organize your team, track tasks, and provide a visual representation of your event plan. Wrike, for example, offers highly collaborative solutions for virtual event planners. By centralizing all information, assigning tasks, and monitoring progress, you can ensure a smooth planning process. Check out unbiased testimonials on G2 and try Wrike with a free two-week trial.

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Introducing Wrike as your event planning software

Many event professionals and marketers rely on Wrike as their go-to event planning tool. With Wrike, you can easily create event planning templates, assign tasks, manage deadlines, and ensure seamless collaboration among team members. Moreover, you can build an event marketing plan, incorporating marketing goals, target audience details, speakers, sponsors, budgets, and promotion strategies. By visualizing your tasks on a timeline, you can identify and resolve conflicts efficiently.

Plan your next virtual event with Wrike, a trusted tool among virtual event planners. Sign up for a free two-week trial and experience the power of collaborative event planning firsthand.