Exploring Virtual Event Content Types & Best Practices

Content is the rallying point of every great event, and a top-notch assembly of great content and presenters is essential to delivering and amplifying the core message of your event.

However, putting together great content for sessions at your event won’t come easily. It will require understanding the needs of the audience and curating a message that resonates with those needs. It will also require thinking about different content types, formats, and delivery styles that can help achieve immersive learning experiences at the event.

This article considers the different content types and formats you can explore when planning your virtual or hybrid event, and how you can use them to deliver intriguing learning sessions during the event. For easy navigation, the article is subdivided into the following sections:

  • Content Types and Formats
  • Content Delivery Types
  • How to Assemble Great Event Content and Resources

Continue reading to learn more!

Content Types and Formats

The content direction you choose will depend on the main focus of your event and your target audience.

However, at the planning stage, you will have to choose different content types and formats through which you will communicate the key message of your event. Below are some examples:

Thought Leadership

Thought leadership content and presentations are that is focused on providing insight regarding the future of an industry and your stance on the current state. It involves sharing thoughts about emerging technologies and practices, and the key changes that are shifting the goals in the industry.

Because it focuses on leadership and the future, the right audiences for this kind of content are top-level executives and decision-makers. The presenter is also usually someone in the top cadre of the industry or an expert who is well-informed about the new trends.

Technical Presentations

These are presentations that are centered around identifying and analyzing technical problems and challenges within an industry and providing working solutions to those challenges. These presentations can be about how to improve a process, increase the return on investment in some areas of business, or use specific methods to solve a problem.

The suitable audiences for technical presentations are people in operations, or those experiencing the problem firsthand. Such presentations are usually made by an expert in the area where the problem or challenge is experienced. Here’s an example from SEO:

Product Presentation/Launches

A product presentation or launch is an approach to content aiming to create awareness about a new product. This kind of presentation is usually focused on talking about an existing problem, analyzing existing solutions, pointing out their strengths and exposing their lapses. This is followed by unveiling the new product and its key features as an unmatched solution in the market.

For credibility, you can enlist an industry analyst to make the presentation instead of using in-house speakers. Also, include activities or games in the product launch to make it fun, interactive, and engaging.

Research Findings

If your organization or a marketing agency has conducted some interesting studies and gathered findings that affect your target audience, you can feature a session where the lead researcher shares insights from data. The presentation should focus on the results and their implications for the industry. You can make additional details about the research available for download.

Expert Interviews

Find some interesting topics, interview an expert based on those topics, and feature the interview during your event. The interview should be recorded in advance to afford the opportunity to add some post-production effects that will make it more colorful and engaging.

Panel Discussion

It is possible to have a panel discussion in a virtual event setting, especially if you have a physical base for your virtual production. The primary focus when organizing a panel is engaging the virtual audience and helping them make connections as the panelists share their thoughts. This will require that the panel moderator set a clear direction for discussions, prepare the panelists on the questions they will answer, regulate the time, and take comments and feedback from the audience during discussions.

Virtual Fireside Chats

These are informal discussions in a virtual setting. A moderator engages a guest to share deep insights around some issues of interest. You can have this content on the event’s main agenda or make it an additional session for attendees to join.

Artist Virtual Performance

For the purpose of entertainment and engagement, you can have artists perform at your virtual event. If you have a production base, the artist can perform live at the base to guarantee high-quality recording. Otherwise, the artist can set up at their own station and stream to the virtual event platform. Some platforms have a concert mode that can be used to enhance the quality of the streaming.

Content Delivery Options

There are different ways to deliver content to the audience in a virtual event setting. Most of the time, the choice must be made according to your budget, event platform capacity, and attendee or speaker preferences. Some content delivery formats are highlighted below.

Live Streaming

Live streaming virtually presents what’s happening in real-time. The content is captured through video and streamed online for others to follow along remotely. The speaker makes the presentation from their own location or from a virtual production base. The streaming can be in the form of live video (talking head), audio, on-screen presentation, or a combination of different formats.

SEO tool SEMrush has used this tactic to great effect to connect with their community and customers:

Recorded Content

Some content such as presentations and interviews can be pre-recorded and streamed during the event. For example, some facilitators may prefer making their presentation in advance rather than presenting live. Some content can also be recorded and made available on-demand for attendees to view or download at their own convenience.

You may also be considering planning an event for different regions (with some variations in content). If there is a presentation of common interest to all the regions, you can pre-record it and stream it during each of the events. That will release your speaker of having to make the same presentation at every regional event.

One of the benefits of recording content in advance is the opportunity for post-production enhancements which makes them more enriching and engaging.

Downloadable Content

Some content can be offered as downloads for attendees. Examples include an infographic, slideshow, podcast, video, eBook, and other content that event organizers may want to push to the audience. This  downloadable content contains  valuable information that attendees can carry with them for future reference.

How to Assemble Great Event Content and Resources

To assemble great event content and resources for your event, connect your content to your event’s big idea. It should be relevant to the needs of your audience and offer great value to them. In order to accomplish this, consider the following steps.

Identify and Ideate

Set up a content team that will identify content gaps in your industry and ideate on what can fill those gaps. This should generate some topics and titles that you can build off of.

Research and Create

After considering the topics, carry out preliminary research to create content briefs. You can pull resources from your own organization or consult outside sources.

Assign

Assign topics to experts, industry leaders, or people within your organization who can use their expertise to develop robust presentations around the topic.

To make your event content handy, you can require that your presenters provide different formats of their presentation. That includes an in-depth text or write-up, PowerPoints, infographics, quizzes, and other associated content.

This is a guest post by Jordan Schwartz

Jordan Schwartz is president and co-founder of Pathable, an event app and website platform for conferences and trade shows. He left academic psychology for the lure of software building, and spent 10 years at Microsoft leading the development of consumer-facing software. Frustrated with the conferences he attended there, he left Microsoft in 2007 with the goal of delivering more value and better networking opportunities through a next-generation conference app. Jordan moonlights as a digital nomad, returning often to his hometown of Seattle to tend his bee hives.

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