Doug McLain is vice president, sales, southeast for INXPO, the leading provider of online events, hybrid and live streaming solutions for the events industry. He is a seasoned meetings and events professional with more than 30 years of experience in the events space, including sales leadership positions with Hyatt and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. Prior to joining INXPO, he served as senior vice president of the Palm Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, Discover The Palm Beaches. In his current role at INXPO, he is helping event professionals embrace digital extension and reach of their content to larger audiences. His unique physical and now online event experience position him as a true thought leader in the events industry. www.inxpo.com
The biggest and most profitable events in the world all have one thing in common. The Superbowl, World Cup, TED Conferences and many others have all grown their expansive following by sharing their content beyond the physical audience. These events extend their reach to national and even global audiences through content syndication to television, social channels and online.
With the technology accessible today, the same TV-style broadcasting achieved by the largest events in the world is available as a vehicle for your meetings, conferences and conventions. Cutting-edge advancements in video, audio and integrated communication technologies, such as webcasts, online events and livestreaming, have made it possible to do much more online.
Through Facebook, YouTube, company websites or even to 28 million home TV viewers across the U.S. via OTT (over-the-top) devices such as Roku, it’s now possible to broadcast selected content from your physical meetings to a global audience.
So, what are the real benefits of content syndication to a virtual audience?
1. Identify your target audience. Ensure you understand the exact audience that you would want to reach: employees, suppliers, company stakeholders, members, non-member targets. This will influence your decision regarding the format of your event and the promotion for the introduction of an online platform. Use your online events to generate interest in your physical events and create FOMO (fear of missing out) with highlight keynotes. People are more likely to believe things they’ve experienced, so why not make an online event part of your promotional marketing strategy?
2. Decide on a format. Before you choose a platform for your online event, you need to decide on the basics. Is this going to be an online event with the recorded content from the event or a live hybrid event where the content will be shared live at the same time as the physical event? Define and decide on your goals of the event to facilitate communication exclusively to your membership or broadcast to an external audience for new membership acquisition. For existing membership, you can monetize the content (pay per view) or share selected content openly to help promote the amazing content available for an attendee coming to view it all. And be sure to decide on what kind of budget you can allocate up front so that you can support your goals and objectives.
3. Get the right staff members on board. Getting the right people involved from the start will make a huge difference. If your company is going online with events for the first time, assign resources to those on your team who can handle the project management, event configuration and promotion for your event. If you do not have the resources, choose an online event specialist company that offers the full white-glove services that can help you end-to-end. A successful online event will require some of the same skills that you employ for your physical events, and you need to account for the time and personnel resources or rely on an online events company to do it for you.
4. Choose your platform. You will need to choose an online event platform that provides you with the technology needed to achieve your goals. A great platform will come with excellent services delivered around the entire process. It’s important to partner with an online events partner who will support you, your sponsors and your attendees during the live event. Also look for scalable technology that is feature-rich and supports full integration with your existing presentation methods (fully virtual, hybrid livestreaming or pre-recorded held simu-live).
A successful event takes careful planning and practice. There is a learning curve with online and hybrid events, just as there is for physical events. Your first event will be more challenging to plan than subsequent events, and each event will be a learning experience. The analytics data which your platform provides will help you prove the ROI and improve your future presentations. Your online event partner should be an experienced, dedicated online events partner that provides, of course, the best technology. But, just as important, your partner should provide you with advice and service guidance on best practices to leverage the technology for your audience, your objectives and your organization’s maximized ROI. C&IT