Large-scale migration of events to the online world –oil on monitor
Blog - Jul 24, 2020
Being an event manager at the time of coronavirus is like being Spiderman in Vojvodina. OK, I’m not comparing my job with a superhero (or am I?), I don’t even like Spiderman; I prefer anti-heroes such as Deadpool. I’m talking about the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. About the paralysis of not only our profession, but also of many others in the creative industry.
However, a kind of (hopefully) short-living compensation has emerged in the form of online events. Naturally, this type of communication existed before as well, but it was used for meetings of teams located at different continents or distant learning. Some 5-6 years ago, there was also an option of learning a lot of useful stuff for a specific (often small) amount of money, provided you had time and focus to follow it. The same form exists today as well, but it is technologically more advanced and, unfortunately, it is used much more because of ‘you know what’.
But webinar is not the same as online event. Webinar means that you transfer specific information-knowledge to the widest audience possible. Online event is much more than your ordinary webinar; it is a demonstration of power of your brand. And you’ll agree that it definitely isn’t the same. Webinar can be held at any platform (Zoom, Cisco, Microsoft Teams) for multiple participants at one link. Participants register, set mikes and webcams and can attend from the comfort of their homes. The same applies to speakers and lecturers. All you need to do is send a link to targeted audience who want to watch and listen and you have an opportunity to speak from your home. A comparison can be made in that respect – if you decide to create your online event on a standard platform and speak from your home, where you have no stage lights and a laptop webcam ‘cuts’ a half of your forehead, while a cat jumps on your lap, it may be cute, but it is the same as if you, in normal times, instead of a corporate event, went to a city square, took a box, stood on it and held a speech about your business results or sustainable business goals to random passers-by.
Online event include more serious infrastructure, mainly in the area of branding, equipment and technology. Online event can compensate for a missing link – experience. In order to address serious audience and if you really want to be taken seriously, you need to create a professional studio, which includes the following:
Stage set – it is necessary to precisely define what can be visible on a small screen. So, you need to have something behind a stage or some other background, with some additional stage set interventions as an option
Equipment – the room where you are needs good light. White front light (Fresnel, Kino Flo) provides good results, but peripheral part of the set can be lighted to create the best visual identity possible. It is advisable to cover sound with two or three mikes and user at least three cameras, which cover a speaker from different angles. It all together goes to live directing and then to a stream.
Stream – Microsoft Teams has proven to be the unrivalled leader in the world of online events in recent months, but the platforms such as ON24 and LiveStream Studio 6 are also recommended.
Now you have understood that this is more of live reporting from a studio, but where is the audience? They need to be invited to a special landing page. This provides more relevance and credibility for your event. Creativity of an event invitation may play a crucial role. In addition to obtaining high-quality information, visitors should obtain an experience. You need to add to an event interactive content, which always has an excellent engaging effect. I am talking about various games, apps, voting, chat rooms, guest profiles, where they can be part of an event and actively participate in it, rather than be passive observers. Viewers need to have an impression that they attend something original and unique. Audience engagement is actually a key to success and that information has to be turned into a metrics unit.
Online event organisation, invitation to a target group, selection and management of appropriate technology is definitely not a simple process and professional agencies with experience in it are in charge of it. Naturally, an online event can never reach the level of experience with a live event, but bearing in mind the current health situation with the entire mankind, this reality is inevitable. So, let’s do it right. And enjoy it, of course.