Has your company's event programming and production become a much larger part of your work life? With the robust return of in-person events and the "don't bore me" post-pandemic expectation for virtual and hybrid options, event pros are busier than ever. Is it time to partner with a professional virtual event production company for your event programming, production, technical support, and staffing?
At what point is it more efficient and cost effective to outsource your virtual event production? We're here to help you narrow down the questions and considerations to keep in mind when deciding on the best route for you.
What's Involved in Virtual Event Production?
In a word: lots! Here's a short breakdown of typical tasks involved with virtual event production:
✔ Scheduling (including time zone considerations for presenters from around the world)
✔ Building Registration pages (including audience-targeting registration questions for data gathering)
✔ Attendee engagement strategies and planning
✔ Reporting - both pre-event and post-event, customized for your specifics
✔ Invitations and email communications (such as registration confirmation, event reminders, post-event survey invitations, etc.)
✔ Selecting event security features appropriate for your event audience/content
✔ Presentation environment configuration and settings
✔ Accessibility considerations (closed captioning, optimization for screen readers)
✔ Attendee privacy and compliance with personal identifiable information (PII) regulatory guidelines
✔ Multiple language resources
✔ Technical rehearsal/run-through
✔ Speaker training/preparation
✔ Day-of preparation and pre-event conference with presenters
✔ Live event technical support
✔ Professional moderation during your events
✔ Sufficient number of trained personnel for event coverage
✔ Post-event attendee survey management
✔ Post-event archive management
✔ Cloud storage for event recordings
This list doesn't include content/attendee experience development, speaker procurement, video creation and editing for pre-recorded content, or marketing and promotion, which are the core elements of your event in the first place! Take some time to assess your current situation and weigh the pros and cons of hiring and outside vendor for virtual event production. Ask:
Do You Have Enough People on Your Team?
They say it takes a village. Is your village looking more like a ghost town? Do you have in-house personnel to perform the necessary event tasks? Virtual event roles include:
• Organizer — Event host, coordinator, curator, and event team lead
• Producer — Live event manager; including stream control, content queue, back channel chat lead; technical support
• Moderator — Event facilitator, including tasks such as lobby monitoring, Q & A, and timekeeping
• Presenter — Delivers content and commentary
A virtual summit or conference with multiple sessions running simultaneously require more personnel. If your virtual events have a "peak" season, additional event staff and training will also be part of your plan. Remember to account for unexpected absences as part of your event staffing plan as well.
While some roles mentioned above can be combined, e.g., an event organizer can also serve as a producer, juggling multiple event roles while still maintaining focus on content, promotion, and ensuring your events run smoothly end-the-end is challenging.
A good question to ask yourself as you are deciding:
Does Your Event Software Do What You Need?
After identifying your target audience, deciding on the attendee data you wish to collect, and deciding how the event staff hiring and training timeline will go, consider whether your current event software is capable of delivering. Is there sufficient security and privacy compliance? How about in-event engagement tools such as polls? How complicated is the program to use in real time, and do you have the expertise in-house to maximize its use? Consider:
• Registration -The ability to collect data at the time of attendee registration is a key element to understanding the effectiveness of your event marketing and the entry point for lead generation. Does your event software provide the tools you need to accomplish this?
• Analytics - Does your software platform help you gather audience intelligence for the entire lifecycle of your event? Pre-event, during, and post?
• Reporting - Are you able to present and interpret the data collected in a way that supports your efforts at event success?
• Security and Privacy - Does your current platform leave your organization vulnerable if you are hosting attendees from outside your company?
• Features - Does the software do what you want and need it to do? Is it easy to navigate for both you and your attendees?
• Growth - Will it scale to meet your growing event needs?
Are you hosting a big, giant event with many moving parts? Complex events involve multiple access links for sessions and breakouts, monetization/payment processing, extra layers of security, additional staffing/moderation needs for events that run simultaneously, as well as data gathering and reporting. Or, do you have an on-going event program?
Designing your events for accessibility is an important, but often overlooked piece of event programming. Planning for access with closed captioning, ensuring multiple languages are available and easily accessed, formatting content for screen readers, adding post-event transcripts and WebVTT files, and even building in appropriate breaks when planning and moderating should be included in your accessibility plan.
What to Look For
Some essential elements a professional virtual event production company should service for you:
Flexibility - Are they able to help you with both one-time event production and on-going virtual event program management?
Experienced Event Staffing - Are they able to ramp up and be ready to help quickly?
Knowledgeable - Do they have experience in the areas you need the most assistance? Event production, moderation, technical assistance, accessibility, etc.
Accountability - Will they own up to any mistakes and work with you to make it right?
Expertise - How long have they been in the virtual events industry? Who are some of their customers?
Professionalism - How do interactions go with you and your team? Do they present themselves appropriately, reply to you quickly, and stay in contact with you? How do they respond to feedback?
Phew! The details can feel overwhelming. When preparing to decide, gather the data you have on past events, assess cost-benefit, and take advantage of visualization tools to clarify the decision you are making.
The Whole Package
Did you know EventBuilder has been in the virtual events space for decades, and have delivered more than 45,000 of Microsoft Corp's own events? We provide the highest level of professional event production and services possible, and we want to be a part of your growth in the virtual events space. Hey - we're nice, too. See what our virtual event production services can can do for you, and schedule a consultation today!