3 Things You Need to Know Before Hosting a Virtual Event


How can you connect and engage with customers and prospects when the trade show floors are closed? Virtual events are the year’s marketing buzzwords – businesses are scrambling to create engaging virtual experiences for their audiences at home that stand out. But how do you pull one off successfully and quickly, while making for an experience that is impossible to forget?
Building a virtual event that excites and impacts your audiences isn’t as hard as it looks. With the right tools and the right technical partner to help guide you, you can make a transformative, engaging experience seem like a piece of cake.
However, there are a few things you need to know before you get started that will help make your next virtual event a huge success.
Figure out what it is you want to accomplish first – everything else should come later.
This may sound obvious; but, establishing realistic goals for your virtual event is paramount to ensuring there’s a meaning behind everything you do, from whom you choose to invite to how you manage revenue and sponsorship opportunities. What are you trying to accomplish? Is this event a brand booster, or will your sales team use it to nurture some of their most qualified leads? Having clear goals for your virtual event will help you create and design the content and a matching virtual experience that best suits your audience.
Consider the big picture and commit to active engagement.
It’s not only about the day your attendees log on and watch live panels or keynote sessions; it’s also about everything leading up to it and everything that follows when it’s all said and done. It’s about curating active engagement through email invitations, social posts, customer calls, press releases, etc.
Your audiences are no longer walking in and out of sessions. They’re miles away from you on the other side of a screen, looking for an experience that’s just as engaging as it would be if they were there in person. Which means your focus needs to be at the user level. From the moment they click “register now” to when you send a reminder email the day before the event, how you engage your attendees will determine the excitement they feel going in.
Also, consider how you want to engage with each attendee. Do you want chat and moderated Q&A for live sessions? Do you want interactive elements built into the video-on-demand sessions? Consider how this should all look and feel and then execute on it.
For example:

Determine key themes for your event. What sort of topics will your sessions be covering? Why will your event matter to people in your industry? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll find a common message or messages that’ll help drive the theme of your event.

Set a timeline of event marketing deliverables to determine how and how often you will reach out to customers, prospects, and partners before, during, and after your event.

Start using those themes to draft creative content that will capture your audience’s attention and keep them thoroughly engaged until your event goes live and long after it’s over.

“Give us the tools, and we will finish the job” – Winston Churchill.
How people view your content is as important as the content you’re providing. Ensure you have the right tools to reach your audiences, such as a robust online video partner that encompasses a variety of video needs, especially when trying to reach thousands of viewers at once. With the right platform, you’ll stream high-quality video in real-time and provide on-demand assets that your audience can watch. You’ll also be able to customize the user interface to fit your brand, gain valuable data into how your viewers are watching your content, and so much more.
To help you get a deeper understanding of how you can optimize your next virtual event experience, Brightcove and Adobe have created an eBook to help you Launch Virtual Events That Stand Out, Scale Up, and Soar. It covers everything you need to know to create a world-class virtual event that will deliver results.
If you’re planning a virtual or hybrid event, we’d love to help. Get in touch with us here.

To view our Partner blog, click here

3 Key Takeaways from a Virtual Event on Everything Virtual Events


In a virtual world, your audience has a front-row seat no matter where they sit, which means they’re closer to your brand than ever. But what does it take to keep them entertained, engaged, and connected before, during, and after your virtual event?
Last week, Brightcove invited some of the event industry’s brightest minds to join our very first, fully-virtual, Video Strategy Summit delivered on our Virtual Event Experience portal. We brought together top business leaders from Cvent, TalkDesk, and PTC; technology and production experts from MassAV, MediaLoft, and Hartmann Studios; and engagement gurus from Socialive, Drift, and Livelike.
Together, we took this opportunity to learn each other’s best-kept secrets on developing successful virtual event strategies. Here are three key takeaways from our three-day summit:
The role of the event planner is evolving.
It’s “the rise of the event technologist,” says Cvent CMO, Patrick Smith. The latest trend for event planners is learning how to get down and technical as events have become entirely reliant on video to reach their audiences. Event planners now responsible for how their events look, sound, AND stream will also need to learn how their virtual experience brings in new business through both demand generation and marketing technology integration.
**Content is still and always will be king — but bite-sized content keeps viewers’ attention. **
Media Loft’s Dan Peeples said that there’s no shame anymore when attendees want to walk away from a presentation. If you’re going to “keep them in their screens, watching what’s going on, and paying attention,” you’ll need to focus on creating content that’s quick and relevant.
Here are three tips for developing content that will keep your audience engaged:

Make it quick and to the point, yet visually appealing.

Give your speakers enough time to prepare. Are you planning to pre-record your sessions? You’ll need to add a bit more time to the plan (Drift recommends 12 weeks).

If your speakers plan to be live, make sure they’re able to pivot quickly if something changes – live is live after all.

In addition to relevant content, you’ll also want to consider keeping your events shorter and more frequent. Virtual audiences may not have the same amount of time they used to, so it’s important to keep their valuable time in mind.
**Yes, you can still have a deep, meaningful conversation in a virtual environment. **
It’s about time we threw away the notion that you can’t have the same sort of connection with your virtual audiences that you have with your in-person ones.
When it comes to building a virtual experience that connects your audience with your speakers, each other, and your brand, try to create a community feeling through:


Live Q&A

Shared experiences

One-on-one conversations

Another key way to keep the conversation going, before, during, and after your event, is to “activate your entire company,” says Drift’s Mark Kilens. Get your sales team to bring up the event to customers and prospects or have marketing live Tweet key sessions.
If you’re looking to create a stand-out virtual experience for your audiences, you need to hear what the experts are saying on what you should and shouldn’t do when putting together a successful virtual event strategy.
If you’re planning a virtual or hybrid event, we’d love to help. Get in touch with us here.

To view our Partner blog, click here

3 Tips to Keep Your Virtual Audience's Attention


What works for in-person events doesn’t always work for virtual ones.
Here are three things you need to know to create content that will grab your virtual audience’s attention – and keep it.
When you’re sitting down with a live audience at an in-person event, a compelling speaker can make an hour session feel like ten minutes. But put that same speaker on a computer screen or a mobile device and suddenly that hour seems way too long.
Virtual event sessions should be much shorter than in-person ones — twenty minutes or less is right for most topics, giving enough time to get your point across without your audience getting restless.
No one likes to see the same thing over and over again. Giving your viewers visual variety throughout your sessions will help keep things moving. Consider using various camera angles, B-roll footage, slides, or graphics to help change things up for your audiences.
Also, think about how else you can keep engagement high and attendees involved with interactive features like:



Q&A sessions

Think like the person attending your event, not like the person planning it. If you consider what your audiences want to watch and, more importantly, how they want to watch it — whether that’s live or on-demand — you’ll get a more tailored virtual experience.
Live works great if the presentation is high profile or central to your event. For example, important announcements from company leadership or keynotes from well-known speakers are best left happening in the moment. It drives attendance when your audience doesn’t want to miss out on what’s going on.
Video-on-demand is best for the rest of your program. Delivering an always-on experience for breakout sessions, interviews, and panel discussions can help keep engagement high long after your event is over.
If you’re planning a virtual or hybrid event, we’d love to help. Get in touch with us here.

To view our Partner blog, click here

How to Turn Your Virtual Experiences Into Dollar Signs


Virtual events are a fantastic way to attract an unlimited number of viewers from anywhere in the world. But, did you know that virtual events can also drive revenue?
Here are some tips that we’ve seen help brands turn their virtual experiences into dollar signs.
**Do you like the idea of being seen by a big audience? Sponsors do too.   **
Companies can now reach and connect with wider global audiences than they ever could with in-person events – and that reach is just as appealing to sponsors as it is to the businesses hosting the events.
The larger the audience, the larger the conversation.
Here are a few things you can offer your sponsors to drive value:

Sponsorship of the overall event or of particular tracks and sessions.

Speaking opportunities.

Ad placement before, during, and/or after video sessions.

Logo placement on your video player or window.

Video analytics and data.

And, you have the flexibility to price or bundle these sponsorships in whatever way works for you and your sponsors.
**Delivering premium content gives both you and your attendees options for how deep to dig in. **
You’ve got stacks upon stacks of insights, trends, how-tos, and industry best practices, but what’s the best way to make the most of your virtual event’s content?
Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to virtual event monetization. Here are a few ways you can monetize and structure your content:

Give attendees the opportunity to pay for access to incredibly valuable or on-demand content.
Create a tiered structure with a few pricing levels that provide access to increasing amounts of content.
Organize your content by track and allow attendees to pay for access to those tracks that interest them.

If you’re planning a virtual or hybrid event, we’d love to help. Get in touch with us here.

To view our Partner blog, click here

10 Virtual Event "Do's & Don'ts" from FreightWaves' CEO


content: ““”;
transform: translate(-10%, -66%);
content: “””;
left: 400px;
bottom: -130px;
#featured-quote::before, #featured-quote::after{
font-size: 128px;
line-height: 100%;
display: inline-block;
position: absolute;
color: rgb(0, 234, 228);
max-width: 470px;
position: relative;
font-family: “Balto Web”, “Public Sans”, Helvetica, sans-serif;
font-weight: 700;
font-size: 32px;
line-height: 32px;
letter-spacing: 0.005em;
margin: 100px auto;
color: rgb(8, 8, 140);
#featured-quote p{
font-family: “Balto Web”, “Public Sans”, Helvetica, sans-serif;
font-family: “Balto Web”;
font-weight: 500;
font-size: 11px;
line-height: 15px;
letter-spacing: 0.05em;
position: relative;
text-transform: uppercase;
color: rgb(0, 0, 0);
margin:30px 0;
.quote-author span{
color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.6);
.quote-author strong{
display: block;

Like many organizations, FreightWaves hosted its first major virtual event in 2020. This three-day virtual conference, FreightWaves LIVE @HOME, was proudly streamed by Brightcove and was a big departure from their in-
person events.
Despite having only eight weeks to pivot from in-person to virtual, the event was hugely successful , and the organization learned some valuable lessons along the way.
Here are 10 virtual events do’s and don’ts FreightWaves’ Founder and CEO, Craig Fuller, discovered firsthand.

5 DO’s
“This was key for us. We wanted to eliminate all of the technical issues that are normal in same-day broadcasts. We knew that we were trading off some of the impromptu elements of our event by having the
videos pre-produced, but we were comfortable with that, knowing we had great speakers and that video, audio, and production quality were the most important things to keep the audience engaged. We did have a few talks that included both live and recorded elements. We pre-recorded opening statements and speeches and then went to a live video Q&A.”
“For us, we are fortunate to have professional TV and radio talents on staff that can bring the audience into the discussion. For me, this feels a lot like a half-time show during a broadcast event. Our moderators would share their thoughts and observations about the talks on the day of the event.”
“People have a shorter attention span virtually than they do in-person, so keep the content more concise. We would try to go for less than 20 minutes for many of our talks but occasionally ran over 30 minutes. None of the video content was more than 35 minutes long per session.”
“We would run 4 to 5 [commercials] per break. For sponsors, this gave them a chance to talk about their product in a quick format. For the viewer, this provided a natural transition between topics. Effectively it was a book-end. We had more than one person comment about how it reminded them of the Super Bowl. In their words, ‘Come for the game, stay for the commercials.’”
“We found that more content is viewed on-demand than during the live broadcast. Users want to get access to the content they missed or to re-watch a session. Your sponsors and speakers will also want [video-on-
demand] so they can post it on their website or social media accounts for future use.”
5 DON’Ts
“We estimated our budget all-in was over $500,000 for the three-day event. While this seems like a great deal of money, it is far cheaper than doing an in-person event at a convention center, which can run close to $2 million. We also had a team of 8 full-time production resources and about 15 on-camera talents that participated in the hosting or moderating of our live event.”
“Most people assume that virtual events are easier to pull off than in-person events. While that is true if you only did a Zoom event that should be marketed as a webinar if you want a highly professional virtual
experience, you need to produce it like a TV program, and that takes work.”
“This seems obvious, but I know a lot of event planners have stressed about that. In reality, the two experiences are very different, so approach them that way. We treated the three days as if we were a broadcast cable network. We wanted to make sure that the audience was able to get the highest quality content, delivered to them with the highest production quality.”
“Avoid using the built-in camera on computers for recording talks. While these are decent for video conference calls, they don’t produce a high-quality image for an HD streaming event. For our remote guests, we would
either make recommendations of what someone should purchase or even send a kit to them that contained a camera, external light, and microphone.”
“Your virtual attendees will be coming and going throughout the day in terms of tuning in and will become very frustrated with an event that isn’t organized and zealous about schedules. This is true of in-person events as well, but even more so for a virtual event.”
If you’re planning a virtual or hybrid event, we’d love to help. Get in touch with us here.
Nick Iuliano is Brightcove’s Senior Director of Content, helping to tell our best brand, product, customer, and partner stories across global marketing channels.

To view our Partner blog, click here

6 Tips for Virtual Events from Ben Rabner, Adobe’s Head of Experiential Marketing


Despite all of the challenges that came with shifting in-person events to virtual ones last year, experimentation became a lot easier. At least that’s one of the silver linings discovered by Ben Rabner, Head of Experiential Marketing at Adobe.
Rabner, like many others, sees virtual events as opportunities to imagine what’s possible instead of feeling creatively confined. And as a result, Rabner has learned a lot over the past year and shared some of his tips for designing virtual event experiences during our recent Bright Spots, Big Thoughts panel discussion.
COVID-19 happened to hit just before Adobe’s annual marketing event, the Adobe Summit. “I think we were one of the first major brands to come out and say, ‘We’re pausing the live event, and we’re going to put this thing on virtually.” When Adobe had to quickly shift to virtual, Rabner says the process of experimenting, asking, “Why can’t we do this?” and working through the tech to make it happen was the most exciting part. Based on the team’s experience reimagining the Adobe Summit, they applied their learnings to their next virtual event: Adobe MAX, Adobe’s annual creative conference. And in the words of fellow Bright Spots, Big Thoughts panelist Elise Swopes, “Adobe MAX by far was nuts … they snapped on that.”
A virtual event’s story must be woven through every aspect to intentionally build and help advance the overall journey. Every interaction, starting with the initial invite and how attendees register, must be meticulously thought through. According to Rabner, “You can really get creative and play with themes, and then pay it off when attendees come to the virtual event and you continue that story.” One recent virtual event concept Rabner brought to life was based around the idea of taking attendees on a road trip. And what does every good road trip need? A special “mixtape,” of course. The team created a Spotify playlist and sent out printed cardboard “cassette tapes” with a QR code that directed attendees to the customized playlist. Rabner suggests event planners “live the theme and topic” they are trying to convey, and the ideas will start flowing.
According to Rabner, building connections virtually starts with meeting our basic human needs. “It’s about going back to the basics of behavioral economics. How are we really wired? What motivates us and inspires us as humans? And then how we can use technology and things to help us connect that?” Rabner has seen great success with sending out curated packages in advance of events that are specifically designed to build anticipation, ignite the senses, and deliver emotion. “Some of the things that I choose intentionally are things that activate additional senses because those connect in our brain. The part of our brain that houses our senses is located right next to the part that has the emotions […] so if you can engage those, they love to connect and work together.”
When it comes to virtual events, it can be challenging to really empathize and think through the entire attendee experience end to end. “I think it’s harder to have intention and purpose, and I hate to use the buzzword, but authenticity. It’s harder for that to come through in virtual events, and so you have to work so much harder to really help that translate through the virtual touch.” Something that has helped Rabner to get over this hurdle is to not think of the audience as attendees but rather as friends. “My approach has been to think about it like I’m gathering people back around our family table for dinner, sharing this [experience] with them, and how can I do that in this really crazy environment now?”
Session length, screen fatigue, and attendee engagement are important things to consider when designing a virtual event experience. According to Rabner, “One of the challenges [with virtual events], and this is what the research and the behavioral economics show, is that you need to break up things. And generally, 15 to 20 minutes is the ideal time where you can have someone’s attention, and then you need to switch it up.” According to Rabner, small group breakouts where participants are given a specific task or challenge that relates to the concept just presented are an effective engagement tool. “They get to work through that challenge, then they come back and share their learnings on it.”
Finally, Rabner suggests that with so many virtual events continuing to be made available, both live and on-demand, it’s a great opportunity to see what other brands and organizations are doing. “I’ve attended a lot of virtual events and more so not because I’m bored and have nothing better to do […] but more out of curiosity because I’m trying to see what are other people doing that’s really good, and can I pull an idea out of it?” More often than not, attending a virtual event, even one outside of your own industry, will likely spark some new ideas for you to consider or apply to your own virtual event experience.
If you’re planning a virtual or hybrid event, we’d love to help. Get in touch with us here.
Nick Iuliano is Brightcove’s Senior Director of Content, helping to tell our best brand, product, customer, and partner stories across global marketing channels.

To view our Partner blog, click here