Digital events: how and why to do them better in 2021

Updated: Dec 8, 2020

The lock-down has led many artists and locations to convert their content into digital events. Driven by the lack of audiences, digital gave the opportunity of an environment suited to continuing to create for a wider audience.

This practice quickly expanded to companies. Fashion shows, product presentations and conferences soon became online activities, resulting in streaming, customer invitations and high expectations.

The outcome of these events was mixed. On the one hand, there has been a great "educational" movement in companies. A rapid literacy turned up, in respect of concepts such as "streaming", "sharing" and "podcast". Several tools such as Zoom, Skype, IG TV have entered the company systems, which – especially for large companies – was not predictable. It was possible to reflect on the communication scope of what happens every day and on the opportunity to "open the doors" to the online public and not only to those who physically can assist in a location. Many companies today have more awareness of the need for an original social editorial calendar.

On the other hand, some choices, including "live" airing, have created results that did not meet the initial expectations. What went wrong? How can you do better in 2021?

1. Does the data depend on your brand or channel?

You cannot set an expectation on the return of a digital event without a database.

Did your company communicate before? Did it make events online?

How much participation is it proper to expect?

Don't forget that the answer may depend not only on the strength of your brand, but also on the channel. If you choose media like Youtube you will have a wider and more generalist reach; if you want to work on Twitch it will inevitably be limited (but perhaps more in line with your brand).

A good parameter? Take the last video you made during the year. If within one month of posting, the event you created exceeded the number of views of the previous video, you are on the right track. Remember, it takes time to create, organize, and monitor results correctly: don't just rely on the hype of the moment.

2. Does it have to be "LIVE"?

We don't think so. Making a live event comes with an important expectation. It means "playing everything" in the moment of the live broadcast and evaluating the result depending of how many people are connected. Is that the real parameter you were looking for? In some cases you may have a great content for an “organic” research – content that works well over time – but not an event that can attract the masses in a specific day or time. Think about it: scheduling content in the right time slots is already complex for the mass media, so do not complicate the things even worse. By the way: will the video be stored on your Youtube site and channel? If this is the case, you have one more reason to think about a non-LIVE event, evaluating the result in the following days.

A final note on LIVE: costs increase and so do technical uncertainties. Play this card when you're sure it's worth it.

3. Who should present it?

Often the spoke person of a company received training for traditional media. It means that he/she will answer and interact with journalists and questions, but not necessarily that he/she is able to lead a show. They are completely different skills.

Talking to the press or recording a short social media release isn't easy, but conducting an event requires a much greater engagement capability.

How to understand who in the company has the ability to conduct this event? Is it necessary to have an external conductor?

To the first question we answer in a very simple way: interest. Who has the most friendly attitude? Who has today the most interesting work for the public? Maybe he's not your CEO or your Marketing Manager. Perhaps it is not the one who cover an important position, but the one with whom you can empathize the most. Managerial figures can remain in the background, they should not be excluded. It's all about creating the right context for the face that can make a difference.

To the second question – the external guest – we answer with an open reflection. During recent years journalists, bloggers and influencers have been recruited en masse to tell the story of a company. It's correct: they're content creators. However, at a time when events are proliferating, ask yourself how opportunistic this choice can be and how much there is a real value transfer from the guest outside to your brand. The perception of a "bite and run" relationship (a quick opportunistic relationship) is always around the corner.

4. Costs and professional figures involved

Individually rating each online event will always seem to cost too much. Try to understand if you are creating a "unicum" - and therefore you have to make a very precise quality/price balance - or if you are looking for a partnership with long-term content creators. In the second case, you should supersede specific costs, such as directing or lighting, and focus on creating economies of scale with the company or freelancers who can follow you. Remember that the more you create a "stable" work situation, the easier it is to see results and get the most out of the people involved.

In both cases - even for a single event - the most important professional figure, especially at the beginning, is that of the Producer.

What does a producer do?

Organize content, bring together the crew that will record the video, coordinate your company's internal and external resources. He/she is responsible for the quality of the finished product, but also for the peace of mind of all the parties involved. He/she is the reference for issues related to the budget, the unexpected, the last-minute changes. From the director to the manager, from the scenario to the language, the producer supervises everything.

Do you need consultancy on the realization of a digital event?

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