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Virtual Event Planning

Marketing

There is no doubt Covid has changed the way people plan conferences. However, not the way you may think. Virtual events are up 1000% with the impact of the pandemic. It speaks to how professionals pivot in times of crisis.

So, chances are you’ve attended one and perhaps thought to plan your own! Shameless plug: Cushing hosts virtual events about once a quarter. You can see some of the series here. OK, plug pulled!

Charlene Ditch is the founder of Charlene Kate Events, an event planning and management company based in Seattle, Washington.

They plan major digital marketing events such as Call to Action Conference and Orbit Media’s Content Jam. And continue to consult and plan events during the pandemic. Their team has attended around thirty-five virtual events to analyze what is working and making an impact right now. We caught up with Charlene to share ideas on making the best out of virtual events.

Pick the Right Platform
Don’t be intimidated by different platforms. Ask yourself if you want an interactive event? Will it be purely for presentation purposes? Think about what you need the platform for? In other words, as virtual events continue to trend, there is probably a platform that is suited to your needs.

Invest in research and vetting the best platform specific to your virtual event. A platform that is not a good fit for your event vision will make or break your event, and it will leave you having to compromise to make things work if you don’t.

I was impressed by the sheer number of platforms out there.

Workcast offers a suite of solutions.

Crowdcast shares the differences between them and Zoom

Remo is a very interactive option that I personally had the chance to experience during a recent conference. You can “sit” at different tables and even visit different floors.  We’ll be using it for a December virtual games night and networking event.

Creative Spin Virtual Networking and Games Night.

Above all, check out the marketplace. It continues to evolve.

No Contact Promo items
Although a challenge may be keeping people engaged during events, consider how promo items can make a difference to the attendee hunkered over a laptop, instead of walking the conference.

“Think about what else you can provide – tangible ‘goodies’ that enhance the ‘at home’ experience,” says Charlene. “For instance, a ‘snack care package’ with swag and snacks – even though they can’t attend in person you can still create promo opportunities.” It also creates sponsorship opportunities.

So for that snack care package, create a spot for a logo and feature sponsors. Think about it: the package has made it to someone’s home! That branding could end up on a shelf and in front of a customer for weeks.

Workperks is another option and work with corporate B2B offices around the country.

Charlene recommends Snapbar’s sister company Keep Your City Smiling.

Snapbar Logo

Tip: SnapBar also offers a virtual photo booth which is an experience you could offer to enhance your attendee experience.

And here is a “Guest Tip” from digital marketer and speaker, Matt Chiera of ICE Nine Online, who shared this tip on LinkedIn in the midst of us compiling this article:

More from Matt from LinkedIn:

You’ll immediately stand out wherever company logos appear. I all but guarantee someone will reach out to you just to comment on how cool your logo looks.

GIF Matt shared:

Designing one?
You can get someone on Fiverr to turn your current logo into a nice animated GIF for $5-10.

I gave this a try with Canva. While there are limitations, some cool animation options are available. You can’t argue with the small investment Matt mentions (also I should mention we do invest in the monthly paid version of Canva.)

Attention to A/V and Connectivity
Yes, times are different. Your speaker is not on a podium or up on a stage. Don’t assume they are audio whiz’s. Sound may just not be great on their laptop. But you can help here.

“Send a speaker kit to your presenter – a microphone, camera, backdrop, and lights – it makes a significant difference in audio and visual quality and is easy to ship,” says Charlene. “There are many that are not pricey either.”

Charlene recommends using an A/V company like, Seamless Events, who will handle all the logistics and shipments of the speaker kits. Tip: if you decide to pre-record your sessions Seamless Events will schedule recordings with your speakers, handle editing, and make sure your videos are ready for your event.

Charlene also recommends a solid upload speed. Remember that you are sending data to others (aka to the internet) so while download speed is good, upload is very important when streaming.

Jeff Long is a video marketing expert and founding owner of True Focus Media, a web and video production company in Dayton, Ohio.

Jeff Long of True Focus Media.

He recently presented Video Marketing for Growth to Cushing friends and clients. We asked if he had any recommendations and he pointed the (and yes it’s a mountful), Audio-Technica ATR2100x-USB Cardioid Dynamic Microphone (ATR Series). And you can see it here. 

Behind the Scenes / Command Center
For the day of, you’ll want a solid workstation. Close any unnecessary applications, tabs, and notifications to help you stay focused.

When technical issues arise, it will happen so fast you’ll need to be able to maneuver between applications efficiency and quickly. Also make sure to have water coffee, and moral support like your pup:

In conclusion, Covid does not have to keep your events from happening. Large or small, they can play a role in your marketing efforts.

Jon Davis
Jon Davis

Jon Davis is Cushing’s Marketing Manager. From blogging to online communications, Jon writes about client developments, environmental branding, and much more. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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