If you’re anything like the team at BlueSky you’ll be used to attending – and for many organising your own - industry events. At a time when we can’t attend in person, it is perhaps fair to say that many recruitment marketers are removing events from their future plans. But it doesn’t, and shouldn’t, have to be that way – in fact now is a great time to create virtual events for your clients and candidates. So, how can you organise a successful virtual event? And what should they be about?
How to create virtual events: the top 5 tips
- Know what your stakeholders want
- Decide on a format
- Promote, promote, promote
- Preparation is key
- Encourage engagement
- Know what your stakeholders want: there’s no denying that the world we are operating in is changing rapidly. And the same can be said for the requirements of your target audience. The needs and wants of clients and candidates has changed exponentially in a matter of weeks so it’s crucial to take this into account when deciding on the topic of your events. While you, like many others, will have had a calendar of events lined up as part of your marketing plan, don’t be tempted to use these topics unless they are appropriate. A planned networking event discussing ‘making the move overseas’ is clearly not the right choice in the current climate. Think about what your clients and candidates really need assistance with in this time of uncertainty – could, for example, an event on upskilling while on furlough, or how to keep staff motivated remotely, be more pertinent?
- Decide on a format: once you know what topic you are going for, think about the format that is best. We’ve been hosting weekly Twitter Q&A’s on recruitment marketing, which is one option, or you could host a webinar or round table online. The latter is a good idea – some people may make the assumption that this isn’t possible at the moment. However, it certainly is, and with a bit of preparation and planning, it can be a brilliant idea to get some great speakers together in a room (virtual, of course). In fact, The Recruitment Network has just hosted one on the current landscape of the recruitment sector which our Managing Director, Tracey Barrett, took part in. Virtual events such as these mean firstly they ‘stick’ – in other words you can host them online and they can be viewed by stakeholders over and over again – and secondly they can be used for post event content.
- Promote, promote, promote: you’ve decided on your event topic, you know what format you’re going with, and you’re feeling confident that everyone involved is prepared. Don’t make the mistake of not promoting it to as wide a network as possible. Sending an e-shot to your database inviting them to take part is clearly a good start, but don’t stop there. Push out your event regularly on social media – and be creative. Could you get those involved – speakers, or consultants – to post a quick video to their LinkedIn profile to explain why people should join? Ask the rest of your consultants, or any partners you may work with, to push it out to their channels too.
- Preparation is key: the preparation that goes into a physical event is often huge – from sourcing a venue, arranging speakers, to writing an agenda and organising refreshments. So, while the good news is that a virtual event is less labour intensive, it doesn’t mean that prep isn’t key. Ensure that you have tested out all the tech beforehand – if you’re running a live Q&A using a platform such as Periscope, test it out in advance with everyone involved. Likewise if you are running a webinar or round table, ask speakers to sign in early to ensure audio, network connection, and camera functionality are all working properly.
- Encourage engagement: whatever the format of your event, it’s key to keep your audience engaged. And this particularly true when you are hosting a virtual event. Invite attendees to ask questions throughout – and make sure you answer them and give ample time either during or at the end of the event to address these. And if you are doing a series of events, such as weekly Q&As, polling your audience is a good idea – not only will it give you topics to discuss on future events, but it will also offer snippets for blogs and PR material.
Leverage your virtual event
If you’ve hosted an event, or series of events, don’t make the mistake of not doing anything with the content. You want to stretch every bit to help you communicate with stakeholders and highlight your brand’s expertise. Here at BlueSky, we’ve been transcribing our live Q&As into blog posts – which allow those who didn’t make it, or are looking for information about the topic, to find it at a later date. So, think about how you can repurpose the information gleaned from a virtual event into different content forms - an infographic, a white paper or e-book, for example. And once you have done so, disseminate it on all your social channels.
BlueSky PR's Tracey Barrett recrntly took part in a roundtable with other TRN Gold Partners, discussing the current state of the recruitment industry whilst we navigate through these turbulent times that COVID-19 has brought upon us. Check out the video below.