Do the words “online event” make you think of lengthy webinars or live streaming business conferences? You’re in the majority. But 2020 is changing the game when it comes to hosting events virtually.

Around the world, resourceful event professionals are getting creative in how they’re using livestreaming to broaden their reach, and they’re not always doing it on big budgets. Thanks to inexpensive technology and tools, events of all sizes can reap the rewards of going online.

The value of virtual events

While virtual events may seem like they’d be less engaging, you’d be surprised at the value they can bring. It allows you to bring together a wider audience, and travel costs that could have prevented attendees from being able to attend a live event are no longer an issue. 

Plus, virtual means less overhead costs — after all, you’re not budgeting for a venue, large events staff, and other in-person line items. So you get to drastically reduce your outgoings (not to mention, your carbon emissions), while spending more on curating the best virtual event possible.

Lastly, there’s the data. It’s much easier to track who is watching what when everyone is tuning in online. All that attendee data is music to sponsors’ ears, which can make securing the best ones for your online event a whole lot easier.

12 ideas for virtual events

So how can you translate your in-person event experience into something valuable for people online? It’s all about using the format to give attendees what they want (an online yoga class, family music concert, cooking masterclass, or virtual training) and offering ways to connect via chat features.

To help you get inspired, here are 12 ideas to help you pivot quickly and plan your event online:

  1. Teach a workshop on your business expertise
  2. Interview an industry influencer or expert
  3. Show how to make your most popular cupcake
  4. Host a series of courses on perennial gardening
  5. Run a question and answer session about your business
  6. Live demo your brand new product
  7. Run an awareness webinar prompting attendees to donate to your cause
  8. Teach your art/cooking/music/dance class online
  9. Create a regular podcast/livestream series that addresses the latest industry issues
  10. Invite a number of businesses and consumers to the same online platform to connect
  11. Run technical one-on-one workshops via livestream (and take questions/requests)
  12. Conduct a live virtual tour where you walk attendees through an experience from your perspective

And here are three examples of what virtual events look like in action:

  • HR Virtual Summit
    The world’s largest virtual HR conference attracts over 30,000 attendees every year. All sessions are virtual, including keynotes and breakouts. Chat features support audience participation and attendees are rewarded with industry professional credits for free.
  • 3% Conference
    Founded with a mission to help to increase the number of female creative directors, the 3% Conference provides livestream access for a reduced cost to its lineup of speakers from the worlds of advertising, marketing, PR, tech, nonprofits, and more.
  • Coursera
    While not an annual event, Coursera has mastered the free and online course niche, offering content to help people build their skills. Check their website out to get inspired on how to run engaging classes for people tuning in from all over the world.
  • USQ Online Career Fair
    The University of Southern Queensland’s online career fair brings together hundreds of employers and job-seekers to the same online platform at the same time, allowing them to connect and interact from any corner of the country or globe — just like a traditional job fair, but without any location restrictions. 

Make the transition to virtual today

In times of uncertainty, when your attendees aren’t sure they can make it in person, online events are a smart way to connect with your attendees and ensure human connection is not lost. 

Ready to get started? Discover how to host an online event that live attendees will love here