Best Practices for Delivering Quality Content at Virtual Events: Strategies for Capturing and Retaining the Attention of Your Online Audience

Are you planning a virtual event? If so, you need to make sure your content is different from what people have gotten used to. In this blog post, we’ll share some ideas for making your event stand out for the right reasons. So don’t wait any longer – read on and start making your virtual event better now!

Virtual events are drastically different from your in-person events, and your attendees will have different experiences that they are looking for. As an event organizer, you are looking for ways to increase your registration retention, increase attendee engagement, and improve the revenue generated by your events. 

If the attendees aren’t happy with your event, these goals won’t happen. Just like everywhere else, content is king. Here are five ways that you can improve your content offerings without increasing your production costs!

Shorter sessions

Your in-person events tend to have sessions that can run for an hour or more, which is way too long for your virtual attendees! At an in-person event, the speaker’s energy, the excitement of the crowd, and the isolation from distractions feeds attendees and allow their focus to last longer. 

In a virtual event, the opposite is often true. Virtual attendees typically watch the event alone in their house or office, surrounded by distractions, including work interruptions and family members. You must adapt your content to meet the needs of your audience!

Your sessions should be under 30 minutes, and this length will allow the speaker to go deeper into a topic or two while still allowing your audience to focus and get the most out of the presentation. If the topic is going across a series of presentations, make sure that each session is no longer than 30 minutes. To make things easier for your attendees, consider using a track system to allow attendees to organize the sessions in their heads. 

Stretch and food breaks

Much like in-person attendees, virtual attendees need stretch and food breaks! These break options are one of the many places where virtual events have a significant advantage. Include several options, such as: 

  • Zoom Lunch Club
  • Yoga breaks
  • Networking opportunities
  • Meditation retreats
  • Advertisement opportunities for your sponsors
  • Announcements regarding upcoming events or pieces of training
  • … and more!

There are so many options that you can choose from with a break in the programming. Even better? Your attendees don’t need to choose forever! You can offer many of these as an On-Demand item and allow them to have access to these to get into the current “event mindset” or cool down from the event and get ready to rejoin their family.  

Evergreen Watchability

In-person events typically have a significant flaw: They are a one-and-done experience. There are rarely recordings of in-person events, and those that exist generally are pricey add-ons. 

With your virtual event, that is no longer the case! Many platforms include an extended On-Demand availability with your event so that you can choose to allow your attendees to have access to these sessions for quite some time after the event. 

This provides you with a unique opportunity to increase revenue for your event. You can offer on-demand only tickets at the pricing of your choice. You can also create a content-reuse plan using a strategy like our Winning Event Strategy to allow attendees to purchase individual sessions or groupings of sessions. 

While this is an excellent option for your attendees, you will have to make sure that the information in your sessions is enduring or that the attendees are aware that information may have changed. This may require a little more tracking, especially if information in your industry changes dramatically and the content is no longer accurate. 

High energy and variable speakers

Without a doubt, your speakers are your biggest asset! Your speakers must be comfortable in front of a camera and be perceived as knowledgeable in your industry. They can also aid in your marketing efforts, as many of them will share that they are a speaker at your event! 

With that said, your speakers must tailor their content to your attendees. Virtual attendees split into two different camps when it comes to watching sessions. Some attendees are looking for a highly polished and professional presentation where it is clear that the speaker either spent time or money to ensure that the production value was through the roof. Other attendees will be looking for a more genuine connection with the speaker and don’t care about the production value but are interested in the content and feeling like they ‘know’ the speaker. 

Either way your attendees go with this, they will need to gain that experience from some of your speakers. So create that variability while still allowing your branding to shine through.

No, your speakers do not need to be doing backflips, but some should have higher energy levels! You likely will want to schedule your highest energy speakers as bookends to your significant schedule sections. This will allow your attendees to feed off of that energy to get them ready for the rest of the sessions, lunch, or to leave a great experience in their minds as they log off for the day. 

Options for attendees

Finally, your content delivery needs to provide options for attendees! 

  • Do they want a breakout session where they can hop on a video call with someone? Provide it! 
  • Are they looking for educational content and want to focus on that with no distractions? Let them have it! 
  • Are they looking to see only certain portions of the event live and watch the others On-Demand at 2 AM when their infant won’t go back to sleep? Give them that option! 
  • Are they looking for networking without the big-brother feel of matchmaking? Find the solution!
  • Is their budget tight, and do they need a low-cost ticket to access the event? Make the ticket! 
  • Are they only interested in the tradeshow? Let them know when to access it! 

Virtual events have unparalleled options for attendees, and you need to allow them to access them all. Different ticket types, integrations, on-demand options, and more will enable you to provide alternatives to your attendees to make the event feel custom to what they are looking for! 

Virtual events are becoming more and more popular as they offer several advantages over in-person events. However, as an event organizer, it is crucial to understand that virtual events are drastically different from your traditional in-person events and other content needs. Your attendees will have different experiences that they are looking for, and you need to provide them with what they want to increase registration retention, engagement, and revenue. Our platform offers several features that can help you do just that – shorter sessions, stretch, and food breaks, evergreen watchability, high energy and variable speakers, and options galore! Click below to schedule a demo so we can show you how it all works – we think you’ll be impressed!

Are you wondering how to navigate ever-changing attendee expectations while promoting your organization? We have a new resource for these challenges! Click below and download our Winning Event Strategy absolutely free.