Over the past few months, schools, companies, small businesses, and artists have taken to online platforms as we shift into the new normal amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Apart from concerts, webinars, and online conferences, some of the biggest events have also found a way to transition to an online-only format. Earlier this month, it was reported that San Diego Comic-Con, which is about to kick off its 51st year, is going online for free. Back in April, it was announced that the highly popular four-day event, which attracts about 135,000 fans per day every year, was called off in order to comply with social distancing rules. But as organizers came up with the idea to make it an online event, it was found that movie studios, comic book companies, and fans were onboard with having Comic-Con’s first purely virtual event, proving that even tried-and-true formulas can be tweaked to adapt to the times. If you’re wondering whether your company should make the shift from in-person events to virtual events, here’s what you need to know to do it well and why it’s worth it.
More accessible = More attendees
Earlier this year, so many music events have been cancelled or indefinitely postponed as countries have implemented strict social distancing rules to prevent the further spread of the virus. But that didn’t stop certain artists, such as BTS, from finding a way to perform for their fans all over the world. Last June, the South Korean group streamed their first all-virtual concert named Bang Bang Con to celebrate their 7th anniversary, and it was reported that the event broke a virtual attendance record, reaching a peak of more than 750,000 viewers in 107 countries. This is equivalent to attendance at 15 in-person shows at a 50,000 seat stadium, and within 100 minutes, the virtual event raked in $26 million in revenue.
Some may argue that the numbers aren’t surprising, given that BTS is one of the most successful acts in the music industry these days. The band even previously broke records in 2019 for selling out seats for their Wembley Stadium concerts. But it’s evident that by live streaming their online event via a reliable platform, they were able to make it easier and more accessible for their international fans to see them perform their hits in real time. Live streaming your event makes attendance possible for those who live in other countries, those who are under hard lockdown, or people who are experiencing health or mobility issues, ensuring an inclusive experience for all and increased attendance for your event.
If you’re working in marketing and promotions, then you know that promoting an event, artist, or product involves spending a lot of money on venue rental, sound and audio visual system set ups, and other things necessary to make an event happen. By switching to virtual events, you get to save money on these expenses as you no longer need a physical location, nor do you need camera operators, sound engineers, or other tech experts to make your event successful. All you need is a reliable platform for streaming, such as Zoom or Google Hangouts. Small businesses can start with Facebook Live events, while those with YouTube channels can use this platform for virtual product reviews, tutorials, webinars, or live concerts.
Preparing for an online event
Apart from picking the right platform, you’ll need a good camera, mic, lighting, and a reliable internet service when preparing for an online event. Do a test broadcast to your team weeks before D-day, and make sure that your content is relevant to your customers or market. Time the test stream to ensure that you won’t go over time as it’s likely that most of your attendees are working from home or have other responsibilities that they need to attend to, so if you advertise an event that will run for a full hour, try not to go beyond the time. Promote your virtual event on social media weeks before the event, and if you’re selling virtual tickets, sell them at least a month ahead and give your audience different payment options to buy the tickets.
Hosting and attending virtual events is an important part of the new normal. Try making the shift to online events and see what a difference it can make to make your business flourish during trying times.