The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your First Virtual Event


Table of contents
The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your First Virtual Event

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May 9, 2023



May 9, 2023


Table of contents
The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your First Virtual Event
May 9, 2023


May 9, 2023

Welcome to the ultimate guide for planning your first virtual event! In this rapidly evolving digital era, virtual events have become a powerful way to connect with audiences worldwide, regardless of geographical barriers. They offer the unique advantage of reaching and engaging people from the comfort of their homes or offices, providing a cost-effective and flexible alternative to traditional in-person events. However, orchestrating a successful virtual event can feel daunting, especially if you’re new to event planning.

Fear not! In this three-part series, we’ll navigate the exciting journey of creating a virtual event, from concept to execution. Our comprehensive guide will cover everything you need to know, including concept and objectives, budgeting and sponsorship, platform selection, speakers and content, promotion and marketing, registration and attendee management, technical production, event day coordination, and post-event activities.

Not only will this guide be educational and instructional, but it will also be entertaining and engaging, giving you the confidence to dive headfirst into virtual event planning. By the end of this series, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and actionable steps required to bring your virtual event vision to life.

Part 1: Laying the Foundation

  1. Concept and Objectives

Before you start planning your virtual event, it’s essential to establish a solid foundation. Begin by defining the event’s theme and purpose. Consider what your audience wants to learn, experience, or gain from attending. Setting clear goals and objectives will guide your decision-making throughout the planning process.

Next, determine your target audience. Who are you trying to reach, and what will resonate with them? Understanding your audience’s demographics, interests, and preferences will help you tailor your event content, format, and marketing strategies to meet their needs.

  1. Budget and Sponsorship

Creating a detailed budget is crucial for keeping your virtual event on track. First, identify all potential expenses, including the virtual event platform, marketing, speaker fees, and technical support. Then, estimate the expected revenue from ticket sales, sponsorships, and other sources.

Securing sponsors and partners can help offset costs and increase your event’s visibility. Research potential sponsors who align with your event theme and audience. Develop tailored sponsorship packages that offer valuable exposure and benefits to the sponsors, such as logo placements, sponsored sessions, and promotional opportunities. Once you have secured sponsors, maintain regular communication to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship.

  1. Date and Time

Selecting the right date and time for your virtual event is crucial for maximizing attendance. When choosing a date, consider potential conflicts, such as holidays, industry events, or significant cultural happenings. For a one-day, single-track event, determine the duration and create a rough schedule outlining when each session will occur.

Keep in mind the global nature of virtual events when scheduling. If you expect attendees from different time zones, consider scheduling sessions at times that are accessible to the majority of your audience or offer on-demand access to recorded sessions.

Part 2: Building Your Virtual Event

  1. Platform Selection

The virtual event platform is your event’s backbone, so choosing the right one is essential. Research various platforms and consider their features, pricing, ease of use, and technical support. Some popular platforms include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Hopin, and ON24. When selecting a platform, ensure it is compatible with different devices and browsers to provide a seamless experience for all attendees.

Test the platform’s features, such as chat, polls, and breakout rooms, to ensure they meet your event’s needs. Secure any necessary licenses or subscriptions, and familiarize yourself with the platform’s capabilities and limitations.

  1. Speakers and Content

Compelling speakers and engaging content are the heart of your virtual event. Start by creating a list of potential speakers and panellists who align with your event’s theme and objectives. Reach out to invite them, confirm their availability, and communicate the event details and expectations.

Develop a content plan for each session, considering presentation topics, format, and duration. Collect speaker bios, headshots, and presentation materials to help promote the event and create an engaging agenda. Schedule speaker rehearsals and technical checks to ensure smooth presentations on the event day.

  1. Promotion and Marketing

Creating a buzz around your virtual event is essential for attracting attendees. Start by developing a marketing plan and timeline. Outline the channels you’ll use to promote the event, such as email, social media, and public relations.

Design promotional materials to capture your target audience’s attention, including graphics, videos, and social media posts. Create an event website or registration page with clear information about the event, speakers, schedule, and how to register.

Develop and distribute email campaigns to keep potential attendees informed and engaged. Utilize social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, to share updates, teasers, and event highlights. Collaborate with influencers, partners, and sponsors to expand your promotional reach.

Part 3: Bringing Your Virtual Event to Life

  1. Registration and Attendee Management

Managing your attendees starts with setting up an online registration system. Choose a platform that allows easy registration, payment processing (if applicable), and attendee data management. Popular options include Eventbrite, Cvent, and Whova.

Develop an attendee communication plan, including pre-event reminders, event access instructions, and post-event follow-up messages. Be prepared to address attendee questions and concerns promptly. After the event, collect attendee feedback through surveys and analyze the data to improve future events.

  1. Technical Production

To ensure a smooth and professional virtual event, assemble a technical production team to handle audio, video, and platform management. Depending on your budget and needs, this team can consist of internal staff or external professionals.

Create a run-of-show document that outlines the event schedule, speaker transitions, and technical requirements. Test and troubleshoot all technical components, such as cameras, microphones, and lighting, to minimize potential issues during the event. Coordinate technical rehearsals with speakers and production team members to ensure everyone is comfortable with the setup and transitions.

  1. Event Day Coordination

On the day of your virtual event, effective coordination is crucial. Manage the event schedule, ensuring speakers start and finish on time. Monitor chat and audience engagement, encouraging interaction and addressing questions or concerns.

Troubleshoot any technical issues, working closely with your production team and speakers. Maintain clear communication with all involved parties to ensure a seamless event experience for attendees.

  1. Post-Event Activities

After your virtual event, showing appreciation and gathering feedback is essential. Send thank-you messages to speakers, sponsors, and partners for their contributions. Distribute post-event surveys to attendees, asking for feedback on content, speakers, and overall event experience.

Analyze attendee feedback and event data to identify areas of success and opportunities for improvement. Create a post-event report highlighting key takeaways, and use this information to inform future event planning. Finally, archive event materials and presentations for future reference or to provide on-demand access to attendees.

In conclusion

In this three-part series, we’ve walked you through the essential steps to plan and execute a successful virtual event. From defining your event’s concept and objectives to managing attendees and evaluating post-event feedback, our comprehensive guide has equipped you with the knowledge and confidence to create a memorable online experience.

As a quick recap, here’s a bullet list of actions to keep in mind:

  1. Define event theme, purpose, goals, and target audience
  2. Prepare a detailed budget and secure sponsorships
  3. Choose a suitable date, time, and schedule
  4. Research and select a virtual event platform
  5. Invite speakers and develop engaging content
  6. Create a marketing plan and promotional materials
  7. Set up online registration and manage attendees
  8. Assemble a technical production team and test all components
  9. Coordinate event day logistics and communication
  10. Conduct post-event activities, including feedback analysis and reporting

Remember, planning a virtual event is a dynamic process that requires adaptability, creativity, and collaboration. As you embark on your event planning journey, don’t hesitate to contact the BetterCast team for assistance or advice. Our team of experts is always ready to help you create an engaging, impactful virtual event that exceeds your expectations.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your first virtual event today, and don’t forget – the BetterCast team is here to support you every step of the way. Contact us with any questions or concerns, and let’s create amazing virtual experiences together!


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