In the beginning of 2020, virtual events were the next best option for brands whose in-person events were suddenly derailed. Most virtual events were pulled together under stressful timelines, often hastily compiled, and second-best to events held in-person. Now, virtual events have become worthy of inclusion in an organization’s events portfolio. Why? Because they can deliver connection, thought leadership, and leads — often at a fraction of the cost and with video often as the driver of the show’s success. Here are some examples of those brands doing it right.
Early Virtual Event Success
Adobe Summit: Pre-Recorded, April 2020
As one of the first to successfully execute a live event, Adobe opted for an entirely pre-recorded program for their 2020 summit. While foregoing live streams can limit engagement, Adobe’s pre-recorded sessions made up for it in production value. This strategy also eliminated many common challenges of virtual events, such as planning around different time zones and connectivity issues. Much like their in-person events, Adobe’s content fell into a series of tracks including content, advertising, and commerce, among others.
Cisco Live with CDW: Live, June 2020
As part of participation in Cisco Live 2020, CDW reimagined its thought leadership-based Bring IT On series, which feature CDW’s subject matter experts, partners, and customers discussing tech, solutions, and applications. These sessions that normally take place in a booth on the Exhibit Floor at Cisco Live, were initially streamed on LinkedIn Live before being published on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and BrightTALK. CDW live tweeted each of their sessions and took viewer’s questions in real-time in the comments. CDW also produced reaction videos where experts weighed in on the events, activities, and news from Cisco Live.
Microsoft Build: Pre-Recorded + Live, June 2020
For its biggest annual event, Microsoft adjusted the keynote speeches for its Build developer conference to make it more virtual-friendly for the company’s at-home audience. Microsoft also played with a delicate balance of live and pre-recorded content, which helped mitigate the risk of live video while still maintaining a personal, off-the-cuff quality.
Feeling inspired to create a video for your next virtual event? Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Invest in Technology: Your virtual event videos certainly shouldn’t break the bank, but a little investment in technology can go a long way. A hallmark of amateur productions is poor audio, so we recommend investing in an external microphone like the Blue Yeti USB Microphone and shipping it to your speaker. After the event, have your speaker mail it back and reuse it for your next series of videos.
- Set the Frame: None of your virtual event videos will be shot in a studio, but there are simple ways you can arrange your speakers so they look best in their homes. Start by having them face a window. While direct sunlight will overexpose their face and make them squint, a bright window without direct sunlight is most flattering and will ensure that they aren’t backlit. Have them adjust their camera so they are perfectly in the frame: not too far away, or too close with an appropriate amount of headroom. Position your speaker in front of an interesting background, such as a bookcase, but remove any distractions like posters.
- Edit, a little: For your virtual event video, a little editing can go a long way. Adding a title slide and some music to the start of your video will capture the viewer’s attention in those critical first few seconds, and will increase the overall production quality. Programs like Adobe Premiere or Final Cut are great for experienced editors, but iMovie will also get the job done.
- Be Authentic: If your speaker slightly stumbles over their words, sneezes, or their dog walks by in the background — don’t call cut! Video viewers more and more are gravitating towards authenticity. All the signs that your speaker is human, speaking from the heart, and not just reading off a script will work in your favor. Keep it authentic and your audience will reward you later.
Author: Carolyn Kaleko, Senior Account Manager, Outlook Marketing Services
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