With the impact of COVID-19 forcing event organisers around the globe to make the difficult decision to cancel long planned gatherings, the pressure is on to replicate the experience in ways that conform to guidance around social distancing.
Can a digital conference ever match lively crowd participation and face-to-face networking? In short no. These are very different experiences. But we can absolutely recreate a lot of the exciting information sharing, experiential moments and collaborative communication that physical events provide if we get a bit more creative.
Conferences bring together different people in a venue to receive information and explore topics in more detail. There’s a sense of exclusivity to the event format – you’ll only hear certain things if you’re in the room. There’s also more opportunity for questions, discussion and exploration than you get from typical broadcast communications.
To maintain these experiences in a digital setting:
1. Immersive digital conference
2. ‘Choose your own’ conference content
3. Bring documents to life with animated PDFs
Conferences offer a rare ‘one and done’ communications approach which you can’t guarantee from a digital version. We recommend a robust cascade approach following the launch of the conference.
In the subsequent days and weeks, send email summaries of the conference content to delegates in an ‘in case you missed it’ format. And don’t forget to link back to the digital resources you created and play back the answers to any questions gathered during the original event.
You no longer have a captive audience: so your content needs to work harder to keep your audiences’ attention.
Maintain the energy of a live presentation: avoid over-crafting your content to keep it feeling authentic and energetic – try using podcasts or selfie videos. Combine physical print (sent to your delegates in advance) with the live presentation to add to the ‘in the moment’ feel.
Confidentiality and data protection: your content might be sensitive so consider ways of protecting it behind a password – this adds to the ‘exclusive’ feeling. If it isn’t sensitive, consider an external release, using channels like Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram to deliver your content. People do use like to use conferences for networking, so think about the GDPR implications of any data you might gather or share.
Content repurposed for other audiences: if you’re investing in content creation, consider how it can be packaged up or repurposed for other audiences.
If you need to take your event online and want some more inspiration and guidance get in touch with the team.