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How to organise a virtual conference: step by step

In the wake of the unique moment we have experienced since 2020 many conferences, meetings and face-to-face events around the world have been cancelled, postponed or replaced by virtual events. 

And while online events, such as webinars, existed before the pandemic, the truth is that virtual conferences have undeniable benefits now more than ever. Many also point to the aspect of face-to-face contact and interaction as a primary challenge to virtual events. However, it is important to remember that even before the pandemic our daily interactions, from a personal and professional point of view, were often already conducted by virtual means.

Following this market trend, hotel Dom Pedro Lisboa has extended its event offer by creating hybrid and virtual events. Dom Pedro Digital Meetings are a turnkey solution with the most up-to-date platforms for virtual meetings and events, which allow the physical audience to be integrated with the virtual one.

We know that many companies are currently rethinking and adapting their upcoming corporate events, especially their annual conferences. But how do you turn a face-to-face conference into a virtual conference? We give you some steps and tips to follow:

Develop the strategy for your virtual conference

A virtual conference is not like a face-to-face conference. Virtual conferences take place exclusively online and therefore require your participants to focus on a screen for hours on end. Thus, the conference content will have to be the driving force of your virtual conference strategy, as it is what will pique the interest of your attendees and will promote the number of registrations. 

To create a virtual conference strategy, access your event programme as a whole. Is there a gap in the programme that would benefit from a virtual conference? Do you have the resources and the budget to run a virtual conference? Do you have the resources to organise a virtual conference? You should answer these questions when deciding whether or not a virtual conference is right for your company. It is also important to realise that if you have an annual face-to-face conference that cannot happen this year or some other revenue generating event, a virtual conference is worth considering.

Identify your target audience

Before anything else it is crucial to identify the target audience for your event. If this is an event that has been run in the past, you already clearly know your target audience. But also keep in mind that with a virtual event you can also increase your target audience. One of the biggest advantages of virtual conferences is that participants can do it in the comfort of their homes, thus reducing the cost in travel, which usually generates a larger number of participants.

Define the goals or KPIs of your virtual conference

As with any event, it is essential to set goals and identify key performance indicators (KPIs) before the event takes place in order to evaluate the success of the event. In the case of virtual events it becomes more difficult to set multiple and more segmented targets. We therefore recommend that you try, whenever possible, to find a single objective that drives the mission of the virtual conference. Also consider that there are two different streams that should be considered when creating goals - business KPIs and attendee KPIs. Understand what your goals are for each.

Determine the speakers and content

Before setting the speaker or speakers it is important to have a clear idea of what your target audience would like to hear. Choose the content of your event taking into account the interest of the attendees and create a clear, fluid and organised content line-up. 

Brainstorm content ideas with your team before defining the final content and assess potential gaps and areas for improvement. 

Once the content is defined, choose a speaker who can deliver the message in an enthusiastic and interesting way. It is important to keep the audience motivated and attentive by using visual and verbal strategies that motivate the participation of your target audience.

Choose the right technology for the event

Organising a virtual conference usually means including new technology. The first question many companies ask is related to the participants. How will participants access, consume and interact with the event content? And even more, how will they interact with each other? How interactive will the conference be?

There are different solutions and the answer lies mainly in the experience you wish to offer your participants. Dom Pedro Lisboa, through the product Dom Pedro Digital Meetings, has an integrated solution that allows you to include a real stage (with Ledwall) with a virtual stage (in Chroma Key), recording and streaming system, lighting system and video system. 

In fact, technology is an essential factor in any digital event and, for this very reason, we believe we have cutting-edge solutions for you to build an event to suit your needs. 

Spread the word and promote your conference

Once you've laid the groundwork, it's time to promote your virtual conference. Do it the same way you would when promoting a face-to-face conference. Promote it on your website, by email, on social media, etc. Remember that the more you promote your event, the more potential attendees you can reach.

Trust the technical team and the technology involved

As we have already mentioned, virtual events rely on technological solutions and so it is important that you establish a relationship of trust with the technical team. We all know that when it comes to virtual events, a small technical failure is enough to ruin the show. Our team will be happy to explain to you the platforms and tools used and will ensure technical support throughout the conference to avoid possible problems and thus ensure the success of your event

Share on social networks

It is indisputable that social media has transformed the way we communicate and how we relate from a personal and professional point of view. Much of the networking and sharing of ideas happens online. Many of the participants of your event will end up sharing content related to it online.

So create an event hashtag in advance and encourage event attendees and the general public to share it online. This sharing generates notoriety and free publicity for your event and by extension your company.

Finally, it is undeniable that virtual conferences have become increasingly popular and effective, presenting a viable solution for businesses to continue to meet their event calendar and objectives.

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