There’s nothing virtual about online events

September 23, 2020

When it comes to online events, there’s nothing virtual about them. They’re very real broadcasts that should be designed to keep your audience from distractions. Your broadcast has to compete with work, family, food, email, social media, pets, phone calls, biorhythms, you name it. Unlike an event, you don’t have a captive audience and it’s necessary to captivate them. 

We recommend you quit thinking about your virtual event as anything like the live version you aren’t having this year. Think about this as small-screen TV. Online events are incredibly intimate. Rather than an audience of 200 or 2,000, you have an audience of one. One person on one screen.  

We recommend producing 30, 45, or max 60-minutes of content that is broken up into segments of 5-minutes or less. And whether you’re trying to drive demand, raise funds, generate leads, or make a sale, the basics of the broadcast are the same: 

  1. Provide unique, compelling information (content) that the audience cannot get anywhere else. 
  2. Be sure to show and tell; video is a visual medium.
  3. More to see is almost always better—viewers can process a talking head, a chyron, an image, and a totally unrelated message all at the same time—watch cable news or an NFL game for proof.
  4. Tell the audience what you want them to do with the information you’re providing. Ask them to click something, call someone, answer a question, ask a question, or tune in again.
  5. Because of the omnipresent distractions inherent in online broadcasts, you’re going to need to tell your story several times and in several ways.

We’ve only just begun sharing our thinking and best practices for online communication. Check back to learn our thoughts—live vs pre-recorded, to chat or not to chat, where to stream and why, zoom vs Skype—about virtually everything.