As many event strategists take their canceled face-to-face events online for the first time during the COVID-19 crisis, they have many questions about venturing into this uncharted territory. During event-app company Socio’s EventHack2020 on April 15, 16 hackers from organizations like Zoom and Pinterest were placed into four teams to brainstorm solutions for digital events. The four teams drew up ideas for a hypothetical medical conference, NEW (Networking, Education, Wellbeing) 2020; a digital version of KnitCon, Pinterest’s F2F, employee-centered conference; a digital Socio conference; and a digital version of FurCon, a F2F conference that celebrates the anthropomorphic genre. All four presented ways to engage attendees as well as provide unique sponsorship opportunities. Here are some of their top ideas.
The four teams thought of novel ways to keep attendees interested before, during, and after the event.
- To generate excitement before the event, organizers can mail swag packages to attendees upon registration and encourage them to post their new hat, shirt, mug, etc. on social media to help spread the word.
- If a speaker takes an interactive approach in person, that shouldn’t be limited by a digital event. Organizers can send attendees materials in advance, like worksheets, to print at home so they can enjoy an interactive experience with presenters and fellow attendees.
- The way attendees catch up on missed sessions shouldn’t only be by watching videos. Organizers might want to consider other formats to deliver content post-con, such as via a podcast that breaks information into easily digestible chunks.
- Events that have attendees tuning in from multiple time zones can schedule digital coffee breaks based on location to allow networking opportunities for all.
The teams agreed that digital isn’t a limitation, but a platform that could yield plenty of sponsorship opportunities.
- How about a digital lunch hall? A sponsor can provide DoorDash codes to attendees so they can order a special lunch instead of their typical at-home meals.
- The digital stage can still be sponsored. Sponsor logos can be digitally featured as a background for speakers during presentations.
- Sponsors can help the community. An event can provide a sponsored grant program for those who cannot afford a ticket due to a loss of income during the COVID-19 crisis.
- Sponsors can provide audiovisual kits for speakers to ensure consistent technological quality throughout an event.
- Organizers can create incentivized digital hosted buyer events before the meeting as a way for sponsors and attendees to engage with one another, with discounts or VIP access to additional content as a reward for attending.