The past few months have been a rollercoaster for professionals across the globe. There was a sudden surge in online conferences and webinars given the unfavorable situations for hosting a live in-person event.
Now that we’re slowly transitioning into the ‘new normal,’ there’s a need for a more holistic approach for seamless event experience and execution.
Hybrid events will be the future of the events industry, and many event professionals have already started planning for this phase.
So, what are hybrid events?
Hybrid events are a combination of in-person and virtual interaction where people can choose their mode of attendance as per convenience.
This is an example of a hybrid event that happened on October 1, organized by WiT.
Since it’s slowly settling down as a viable option in the post-COVID era, the planning will be a little harder than before, but you can cut through it all with these 5 tips to successfully plan a hybrid event.
- Have a clear vision and communicate it effectively
- Maintain a detailed flow of the event
- Ensure your team has a proper understanding of their responsibilities
- Take care of sponsorships and collaborations
- Ensure the use of social media for the audience engagement
If you’re planning an event, there’s probably a vision behind it. This could be networking, education, exposure, or a meet and greet, but being clear on the vision will help you position your event to attract your target audience despite the event being hybrid.
For example, if your event is for freelancers, and you’re inviting industry experts across industries to help freelancers gain more knowledge about the domain and freelance successfully, then communicating that effectively will attract people who want to enter the freelancing industry, those who are new to it and those who want to improve their skills.
It could also be those freelancers who want to consume more content and network with people.
The sole purpose of being clear on your vision agenda is to extend a powerful value proposition. This plan will also be helpful when you reach out for sponsorships, collaborations, speaker invitations, and marketing.
Moreover, sharing a vision with your audience is a great way to build a community of shared interests.
Here’s an example of an event, the Ad World Conference. Notice how it is appropriately communicating the vision it holds by bringing people closer to leading marketers and brands.
The last thing you want is to be confused about what’s coming up next. Your event flow should include everything which supports the main crux of your event in terms of execution.
Some things to include in your show flow are:
- Schedule: speaker timings, networking timings, breaks, and buffer timings
- Team responsibilities: who is responsible for what
- Tech and event production: what type of tech will be required at what time
- Social media: who will take care of social media during the event
- Community management: who will take care of the sponsors and audience engagement
To work out all of this, you can create a Google sheet to keep everything organized.
Consider making a detailed flow like this by One Way Event Productions, which layers out everything properly.
Once you fix your flow, avoid changing it but maintain agility if you need to tweak changes last minute. This event flow will make things much easier for you, ensuring a seamless event execution.
By looking at the necessary components of show flow, you probably know how important your team is for the event, and to execute a successful event, all the departments and the team need to work together.
Before that, every team member must be crystal clear about their duties so that everything gets executed as per the schedule, and there’s no overlapping.
The team will play a significant role in the event, and a successful event is mostly the outcome of a hardworking and passionate team that shares the same vision as you.
You can use a project management tool like Trello to organize your work with the team and keep a check on progress.
Let’s face it: sponsorships and collaborations are a necessary part of any event, and hybrid events are no exception. Missing out on these would mean losing out on a major asset, which can help take things up a notch.
What kind of sponsorships and collaborations should you look for at the event?
- The successful ones in your industry because they’ll help you get the word out and attract your target audience.
- The ones who can help you with gifts and hampers for giveaways or contests for the audience and speakers.
- Those who can help you with the tech because you need good streaming services and a venue. Instead of spending on it directly, you could partner up with someone.
Collaborations and sponsorships are usually two-way. If they help you out in the event, they may ask you for social media or in-event shout outs to help get their brand more awareness.
It’s a win-win situation because it helps you reach a wider audience and get support for investment and tech.
The Ad World Conference is about the advertising industry, so they’ve reached out to other advertising and content marketing agencies for collaborations and partnerships.
It’s only wise to invest your time in social media because most people will come across your event through social media or reference, thereby attracting more audiences.
There are 3 phases in which you should be active on social media to receive maximum traction for your event and open doors to collaborations:
- Before the event
Your main aim here is to create the initial buzz around the event by giving sneak peeks, doing live sessions, creating topical content, or educational content around your niche. This will increase event awareness and will help in ticket selling too.
- During the event
Those who cannot attend your event will want to watch the highlights on social media. This will also help receive engagement and traction to your page, which is beneficial if you host another event. Here, you can post snippets of the event or repost UGC (User Generated Content).
- After the event
Once the event is over, you need to keep engaging with your audience, so they stick with you until the next event. For this, you can offer hampers for participation, organize giveaways, or offer resources like eBooks and guides.
You can also get your event published on niche websites as guest posts and get a press release.
Notice how the Ad World Conference has been maintaining a great social media presence by revealing their speakers and collaborations while using ads and paid media to reach their target audience further.
Hybrid events will take a more careful approach while planning since you need to manage both the live and the virtual audience. But if you keep your show flow and schedule in place while working effectively as a team, you can pull it off with ease.
The pandemic has created new circumstances for everybody, but what matters is how we adapt to it.
Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people's lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth. Find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.