A Virtual Event Planning Checklist is Your Roadmap to Success!

In a world where public health concerns have made large, public gatherings temporarily impossible, virtual events are experiencing quite a moment. Organizations around the world have realized that virtual event technology has made it easier than ever to reach a wide audience at a low cost.

In fact, even after the pandemic has subsided, we believe that virtual and hybrid events are here to stay. Virtual events are an innovative way to gather together safely and easily, and they offer you flexibility in terms of attendance and cost that would simply not be possible at a physical location.

However, while a successful virtual event can take many forms, they are usually only successful if event planners and hosts do their due diligence, planning out all the details from start to finish.

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Preparing Your Virtual Event Checklist

As you will see, virtual events can involve a lot of moving parts, which is why so many organizers and planners have moved towards using an online event management system, similar to the systems professionals use to organize an in-person event.

To help you make your virtual next event a success, the following virtual event planning checklist will help you identify the many elements you will need to organize and coordinate, both before and after your event, as well as provide some helpful tips on how to overcome the potential pitfalls you might encounter along the way.

laptop and tablet displaying a virtual event

Types of Virtual Events

The types of virtual event you choose to host will vary depending on the goal of the event. Certain formats work better than others, and a 1-on1 interaction between two people sitting side by side in real life (webinar) will differ from the type of event that includes sharing information over video chat in front of an interactive audience.

Although each event is unique in its own way, most events fall into one of three categories:

Within each of these categories, sub-elements can be involved, including seminars, workshops and educational sessions (one-time or recurring courses), as well as storytelling, fundraisers, panels, Q&A sessions with experts, or other forums.

Each type of virtual event requires different planning considerations based on the type of format.

Webinar

Live, online presentations from an authority within an industry or field of research where viewers can submit questions and comments.

Virtual Conferences

Hosted on virtual event platforms, registrants can attend scheduled talks, panels and workshops, while chatting and networking with other attendees. Conferences can be single-day or multi-day events.

Hybrid Events

Hybrid events bring together members of an existing private community (a workplace team or committee) who meet at the same physical location while other participants participate online.

In the case where employees in headquarters want to interact with those remote, sometimes faraway teams, they can do so by using virtual platforms that facilitate communication, such as video chat software. And in a few years, these will likely be replaced by some form of virtual reality experience, held inside the relatively new concept of the metaverse.

laptop, notepad, cell phone and coffee cup on table

Start Your Virtual Event Planning Early

In order to be a successful virtual event planner, you need to start preparing long before the event date. Here are some of the things to consider in the early stages to create a successful event:

What is the Purpose of the Virtual Event?

You may not be able to control everything that happens at your event, but you can ensure a clear focus by writing down the purpose of every aspect.

From choosing an agenda for sessions and selecting speakers ahead of time so they know what topics are important in advance; allocating virtual space that is required for exhibits or other activities like workshops, and more. These decisions become easier when knowing why we're doing them!

What are the Goals of Your Next Virtual Event?

Goal setting is an important part of event hosting. You'll need to make goal estimates before your virtual events, but you can use these numbers as a baseline for comparison with future virtual events or past in-person events.

An online event management system can compile data and facilitate planning around specific goals. Event organizers need actionable data to see how they are reaching their target audience, which makes it easier to set realistic goals.

Build Your Event Content Strategy & Plan

Content is the lifeblood of any virtual event. It's what drives attendance, engagement and networking in a friendly way that doesn't feel like work!

With so many distractions available on your computer or phone at any given moment during an online conference, it can be tempting to stretch things out, but we recommend you don’t do this. Keep sessions short and prioritize quality over quantity to engage attendees.

Identify Technology Needs

With so many options on the market today, it’s hard to choose the perfect virtual technology solution for your event. For example, you probably won’t need as much tech for a short webinar as you would for a lengthy conference with multiple presentations and speakers.

But there are still some things every virtual system should offer: easy integration into other platforms like email marketing software; video broadcasting capabilities that let people connect across time zones by watching events live from their computers, as well as data collecting capabilities to track engagement and event performance.

Event Budgeting

Your virtual event budget breakdown will be quite different than one for an in-person event. While in-person events normally have a small portion of their budget dedicated to technology needs and much more dedicated to things such as venues, decorations, staff or food and beverages, that ratio flips for virtual events. Because the costs associated with the physical location are minimal, don't be shy about shelling out on the technology front.

Event Promotion

You’re about to make your event a huge success! Get started with promoting it by planning ahead and using all available resources. When you need to promote virtual events, the best ways are through email marketing and social media, but don’t be shy about including any other form of advertisement you can think of.

person typing on laptop

Post-Event Follow Up

Once a virtual event wraps up, event planners still have a fair bit of work to do. In the days following your event, it’s time to compare your virtual event planning checklist with the results of your event to learn some valuable lessons that you can apply to future events.

Solicit Feedback

Post-event surveys are a great way to evaluate the success of your event. Send event attendees of your virtual gatherings a brief, easy-to-complete survey shortly after the event for the best chance at getting helpful feedback.

Create a Post-Event Report

When you're all done with the virtual event, it's time to take a hard look at how everything went. Dig into your data to find out the results of your event stack up against your virtual event goals. By compiling a comprehensive report, you can draw some important insights and identify your formula for success.

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