The trick to pulling off an online conference in the coronavirus era

A few challenges

1. Your conference will get mistaken for a webinar.

  1. Higher quality visuals: videos, production value
  2. Networking: An interactive component is a must to stand out as a non-webinar, which also includes
  3. Q&A, chat, polling: Make sure participants can actually participate, with moderators and each other.

2. Your content is competing in a saturated market.

  • offering actual insight and takeaways (no swag giveaways after all).
  • delivered by good speakers who are up to the challenge.
  • displayed in a high quality online consumable format.

3. You’re a conference organizer, not a TV producer.

Overcome it

1. An Established Purpose

  • Who should be attending this?
  • What will they take away?
  • How will they know they should be taking that away?
  • What are their next steps?

2. The Right Audience

3. Expectations Are Met

  1. Content: top expert speakers who can actually deliver new information on relevant, actionable topics
  2. Networking: hallway conversations is where business gets done
  3. Freebies, perks: In lieu of t-shirts, coffee and stress balls, what can participants expect to take away with them? What can you or your sponsors offer that will make people feel they were part of something? Access to conference videos, bonus content, product discounts.

4. Clarity in Communications

5. Packed-in Promotion

6. Content Mix-and-Match

  • Include pre-produced videos to set the stage, split segments, support speakers
  • Create a newsroom format to establish authority on your topic, deliver core information, host speakers
  • Panels to create dialogue among experts but also give participants the opportunity to react, submit questions, or chat
  • Social media as a platform for continuing the conversation with speakers
  • Breakout sessions giving attendees the option to choose their focus
  • Networking in ‘backrooms’ where participants can chart their own course

7. More Flexible Experimentation

The conference doesn’t end

  • Lead nurture drip campaigns?
  • Topics for weekly newsletters?
  • Social media sound bites?
  • Pre-sales call intro material?
  • Promo material for your next conference?

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Taking notes. I’m curious. Hetz Ventures. 50:50 Startups. I write insightful articles with career, marketing themes. And personal topics at lizraelupdate.com.

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Liz Cohen

Liz Cohen

Taking notes. I’m curious. Hetz Ventures. 50:50 Startups. I write insightful articles with career, marketing themes. And personal topics at lizraelupdate.com.

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