After more than three months of ‘interesting times’ with no events or exhibitions, the pressing priority now is to find a safe route back to something that is equivalent to the old norm. There are endless combinations of what normal was and/or will be in the future. How do we get from a place where events and exhibitions are on hold, to having the confidence to re-engage with each other? Virtual events – whether exhibitions, conferences, or webinars – are just one of the many solutions to our networking challenges.
This year, many big events in our calendar have moved to digital platforms and are now taking place virtually.
One of these is the annual Airmic event – an exhibition and conference bringing together the risk and insurance community for networking, workshops, seminars and more – which is this year launching Airmic Fest as a virtual experience. In ‘real life’, we support clients with stand designs and builds, event organisation, digital promotion campaigns, and Airmic themselves with Airmic TV. This year, we’ll be doing the same but in a virtual capacity.
Another upcoming annual event that has been affected is Dive In – the insurance industry’s leading Festival for Diversity and Inclusion, an event which replicates our company values in challenging the status quo and striving to achieve a balance of understanding, inspiration, and dedication in the market to achieve exceptional outcomes. With both of these pivotal events turning to online solutions, we expect to see increased levels of participation, engagement, and, of course, wider audience reach.
In order to get the very best from any event – especially those like Airmic Fest 2020 or Dive In 2020 – it is essential that there is a structured and managed calendar of activities, that looks to engage with customers and prospects before, during, and after the event.
Put simply, it is about focusing on a message that can span across a variety of activities, with sufficient flexibility to deliver product insights and offerings. But you do not want to say too much so that it confuses the audience, therefore you should maintain sufficient flexibility to allow content to be dynamic and responsive, to reflect what your audience wants to engage with.
When it comes to the content you want to deliver, think of the challenges the market is facing. People always think ‘what is in it for me?’. If they can’t take anything away from your virtual event, they’re highly unlikely to attend – even if it is just a case of tuning in from the comfort of their own home. And if they do attend but fail to take away any value from it, they will be deterred from attending any of your future events or recommending others to do so.
As a starting point, you should consider if these market challenges call for wider discussion and if your opinions and insight can make a difference. Thought leadership is a massive stream of content now and portraying this in a virtual sense is becoming very popular. After all, we’ve seen a magnitude of podcasts being produced in the last few months. Also consider whether your products or services can possibly create a solution for these problems. These are all points you must bear in mind when planning your event and communications. But that is just the start.
Virtual events are a great opportunity to share ideas and enhancements to products and services to a much wider audience – and with the possibility of this enhanced profile and wider reach, the scope for more ‘eyes on’ cannot be ignored.
With everyone looking to raise their game, it is essential to invest in high-quality content that is both thought provoking and timely. And that high quality content doesn’t just refer to the content within your workshops and seminars; with these events now taking place online, there is even more emphasis on the need for informative and engaging content across digital platforms such as social media and email. From insight-driven blogs and videos to educational animations and infographics, the content formats available are endless and should not be overlooked. All of this should be planned in advance, joined up for consistency, and distributed across digital platforms according to a schedule of awareness and promotion in the lead-up to the event, live updates during the event, and sharing of key highlights following the event. All of this helps drum up the excitement for those attending, encourage others to register, and create a sense of ‘missing out’ for anyone not in attendance.
Combining a range of different tools, our insights, and social media channels, we can help you to not just broadcast, but to build targeted and meaningful engagement. Be exceptional, Be challenging, Be inspiring.
Planning to attend a virtual event and looking to promote your involvement? Looking to hold your own virtual event and not sure where to start? Or maybe you would like to host a webinar or create a podcast? Get in touch with me via [email protected] – I’d love to see how we can help!