10 Virtual Event Ideas for 20216 min read

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What is a Virtual Event

We covered this in-depth in our Comprehensive Guide to Virtual Events, but if you don’t have time to read that, here’s the tl;dr:

A virtual event is any event that takes place online, whether it’s a conference, a live stream, or any other type of event you can think of – as long as it’s 100% online.

The reason virtual events are so powerful is that it opens up your audience to the entire world. Live events are limited by space and location, but putting it online means anyone with an internet connection can “attend.”

Charging for virtual events is also easier for attendees because they don’t have to worry about the cost of travel and lodging.

Ideas for Hosting a Virtual Event

1. Online Conference

These are great for educating your audience or sharing new information. You’ve probably heard of Comic-Con and other large conferences, and now they’re becoming virtual.

When you think of conferences, you probably think about breakout sessions, and other small group classes. With virtual event platforms like Webex, having virtual “rooms” for different sessions is easy for the event planner and the attendees.

You can either be the host of the conference, or choose to be an exhibitor at someone else’s online conference.

Examples:

Discover MarTech

The Tomorrow Summit

2. Webinar

Webinars tend to be shorter presentations, but they’re still a great way to cover a topic. If you’re unfamiliar with what a webinar is, it’s usually a presenter talking while showing a slideshow that attendees watch.

These days, most webinars have a live chat feature where attendees can discuss the topic or ask the presenter questions in real time.

Examples:

Chicago Flyhouse: Truss Use and Inspection

– AVIXA Live Events Exchange Week 8 [No longer available]

3. Online Workshop

Hands-on workshops usually involve teaching someone how to do something and at the end of the workshop, the person has a completed project. This lends itself well to the virtual space, but make sure you have a list of needed items (physical items, software) to do the project published prior to the event.

Whether you’re trying to teach someone how to learn a new programming language, how to make a presentation, or how to program a lighting console, it’s pretty easy to set a camera up fixed on you while you do the teaching.

Examples

Providing modern content and training

Supporting learning from the daily work

4. Live Stream

Most social networks, including YouTube, allow you to go live. That means you can click a button and instantly broadcast to your followers. 

While going live and just talking to your fans loosely fits as a virtual event, you can use the live stream features of social platforms as a way to host your larger event if you’re on a tight budget.

It’s best to let your audience know ahead of time that you’ll be going live. You can even create an event on Facebook to get people interested. Just make sure you actually go live when you say you’re going live.

Examples:

New World Symphony Fellows Live From Our Living Rooms

Blue Note at Home

5. Virtual Trade Show

Online trade shows are a great way to capture qualified leads effectively. This is another tool for educating your audience and converting them to new clients no matter where they live in the world.

Trade shows are a great way to show off your product or service.

Examples:

E3 2020

North American International Auto Show 2020

6. Virtual Product Launch

So you have a new product, and you want to share it with the world. Hosting a virtual product launch is a great way to show off your goods to a global audience.

Launching your product virtually makes it easy to increase your prospective clients.

Example:

WWDC 2020

7. Online Company Onboarding

No matter the size of the company, onboarding and initial new hire training can be a hassle, especially if your company has multiple locations across the country.

With virtual onboarding, when a new employee is hired, they can just login to a specific site, and get all the information they need there. You can include documents, training materials, and anything you want the new hire to know about your company’s culture.

An added bonus is that you can get all of your content together once, and it’s always available. If something changes with your onboarding process, it’s easy to go in and make changes.

Companies will benefit from increased productivity and a reduction in training costs. It also ensures consistency across all of your offices.

Examples:

Netpeak

8. Online Benefits Training

Similar to onboarding, benefits training can be a strain on companies. They take a lot of time, and need to be done yearly.

Moving the benefits training online allows companies to create an interactive environment where employees can learn about changes to their packages, and explore new options.

Documents and brochures can be included, and you can have a chat feature where employees can ask questions.

9. Virtual Career Fair

Need to hire new employees? Why not hold a virtual job fair? This will allow you to reach a global audience, where an in-person job fair usually limits you to a local talent pool.

Virtual career fairs and a cost-effective way to reach a diverse audience. You can hold video interviews, have a chat feature to talk to potential employees, host webinars about your company, and have documents available for candidates to download.

10. Continuing Education Webinars

If you’re in an industry that requires licensing, you probably have to travel somewhere to attend continuing education courses to keep your license current.

Moving those classes online will keep costs down for everyone, and save time by recording the sessions one time, then posting them in a virtual environment.

Final Thoughts

Virtual events aren’t new, but with social distancing measures being put in place across the world, companies have turned to new options for their events. 

While some events seem perfect for transitioning to virtual events, with creativity, almost any in-person event can be transformed.

There are huge cost-saving benefits with taking an event virtual, and we’re entering the golden age of online training, seminars, concerts, and conferences. 

If you’ve been thinking about ways to host an event, but decided to postpone those plans because of COVID, now is a good time to rethink those plans and see if you can convert it to a virtual event.

See this post as a web story: 10 Virtual Event Ideas for 2021 Story

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