How to Pivot from Live to Virtual in 5 Easy Steps

4 Mins read

As we adapt to living in a world of social distance, virtual events play an increasingly important role in our everyday lives. Everyone whose business touched the live event industry pre-Covid, has had to adapt to a new way of thinking and pivot to the virtual event space. Going virtual plays a key role in helping us stay connected to our audiences, our clients, our industries, and our staff. 

Gathr is creating a world where connecting with your audience remotely is never an obstacle, and can provide everything you need to thrive in the virtual space. 

We know there are challenges that can arise transitioning from live to virtual, and this new way of doing things can feel intimidating at first. We’re here to tell you it doesn’t need to be. We want to help! We want to set you on the path to success!

Here are 5 steps you can use to make the leap from live to virtual: 

1. Know Your Tech Set Up
When thinking about your tech set up select the technology that creates the least amount of barriers between you and your audience. Think about the ideal version of your program, and how it will be consumed by your audience. What steps need to be taken to achieve this? You want to make it as easy as possible for your audience to access what you’re offering. 

While exploring your options get clarity on the following: 

• Do you want distribution technology that saves and broadcasts content on multiple platforms? 
• Do you want to telecast locally or globally?
• Is an e-commerce space necessary for your content? 
• Do you need video conferencing?
• Should you broadcast to social media?
• If you plan for a global audience, consider translation services for subtitles.
• Do you want content to be accessible to the visually challenged and hearing impaired?
• Do you need a teleprompter? 
• Is this a single camera set up? Will you be broadcasting directly from your computer?
• Will you have a multi-camera set up in which you’ll be able to switch between different angles or performers?

2. Choose Your Platform
The platform you choose plays a vital role in your presentation and how your audience reaches you. When researching and choosing your virtual events platform, there are many things to think about and consider.

Here are some key features to consider when selecting the right platform for you:

• Customization
Being able to integrate your company branding and messaging throughout the platform, will help create a consistent experience for attendees.

• Automation
What automation features does the platform have? How can these be integrated into your offering?

• Event Management Tools
What are the platform’s event registration email marketing capabilities? What are its data collection capabilities?

• Live Broadcast Capabilities
Does the platform support live broadcasting? Does the platform support automated subtitles?

• Pre-Recorded Content Capabilities
Are you able to make pre-recorded content available on the platform as part of your offering?

• Communication & Engagement Features
Does the platform have a chatting, messaging, or group chat feature? Does the platform have a Q&A feature? Does the platform have a survey feature? 

• Social Media Integration
What social media networks does the platform integrate with? 

• Recorded Content Capabilities
Is the platform able to record and store your live event? How long will you have access? Is it easily accessible to you and your attendees?

• Monetization Features
What opportunities are there to monetize your offering on the platform outside of selling the initial ticket?

3. Build Your Online Offering
There are several approaches to consider when building your virtual offering.  Above all else, keep it simple. Remember most of your audience are watching on their computer. Consider this your starting parameter. 

Define your format: is this a one-on-one meeting, a seminar, a conference, a performance?

If you are seeking a more personalized, one one one experience, a straightforward screen to screen setup will be fine. 

If you are a lecturer or performer, consider building your virtual performance around the concept of a standup comedy special or seminar. If you are a musician or ensemble consider how your live performance translates to the virtual space. Would your performance benefit from multiple camera angles, or is a single camera aesthetic engaging to your audience. 

If your offering is more involved with a longer performance, or multiple performers consider a conversational format with multiple people talking to each other. A variety of speakers makes for more engaging discussion. Or approach things as if you are a TV producer, incorporating programming blocks (individual segments for each element of your program), interstitials between acts, etc. Perhaps you will have a host or MC to engage your virtual audience between each segment. 

If you have a multi-part, multi-day event think about how you will tie the larger program together. Would you like your program to have a uniform look in terms of title cards, animation, etc. Will you incorporate teasers or ads into the program, or information on ‘what’s next.’

Ultimately, what is the core of what you do? Make a list of what is the essence of what you do and why people come see you. The question is not if this can be adapted but how can this be adapted to a virtual setting? Almost every presentation can be adapted.

And finally, whatever the current duration of your offering is, shorten it! Attention spans are shorter online.

4. Engage Your Audience
Know your audience. Know what your audience is interested in. Keep your audience engaged. What will it take to get your audience excited about engaging with a virtual event?

Your audience can log off at any time. It is important to remember, even though an event is virtual, it is still LIVE. People are watching you in real time. There are real people on the other side of the computer screen. They are not watching a recording of you. 

Because you do not have the benefits of being in the same room with your audience, it is crucial that you make sure to engage with them frequently and personally. 

Build in ways to engage the audience by including Q&As, polls, “Did You Know” facts, and trivia contests. Call out peoples’ names. Ask questions. Listen to their responses.  Recognize them. Comment on their clothes, or their pets, or their backgrounds. Ask them what time of day it is if you have an international reach.

Engage with them frequently. 

5. Practice. Practice. Practice. 
Being on camera can be  very different from being in front of a live audience. 

Rehearse in front of a camera or your computer as early and as frequently as possible. Know where your camera is located and where to look. Practice speaking in front of your device. 

Take some practice runs with friends and family. Test your tech. Test your team. 

It is difficult to include everything you need to know in a blog post, but these tips should serve as a good starting point for you. We wish you all good luck in these crazy times! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out. We are happy to help!

What next steps are you going to take to create your virtual event? Get started with Gathr