As a result of COVID-19, companies have had to learn how to best communicate with their customers and their employees virtually. Platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Cisco WebEx and many more have allowed for companies to continue to meet in large groups. For public relations professionals, this meant many of the traditional forms of communications had gone out the window and were now to be done through a screen. You might ask yourself, how do I plan and execute a successful virtual event that will stand out from other companies? Let’s take a look at these four simple steps!
It is important to create an agenda when planning any event, but especially when it is virtual. In order to keep the audience’s attention, smooth transitions and a time friendly schedule are imperative. Using a platform that you and the attendees are familiar with navigating such as Zoom is also important to consider.
When using technology, it is no secret that it can be faulty. This is why you should allow the speaker or speakers to practice at least once before the live event. Make sure they know the basics like how to share their screen and mute and unmute themselves. It is also a good idea for them to have a backup plan to share their information in case they are facing technical difficulties. Technical difficulties happen but being prepared to bounce back will show your audience you can think ahead.
When hosting a virtual event, it is likely the attendees will have outside circumstances diverting their attention from what is happening on screen. Utilizing break out rooms can be one way that you can continue connections and communication. This also serves as a networking tool and can initiate further conversation after the event is over. Sending a PR package to those in attendance with sample products and a QR code that leads to a questionnaire is also a fun way for attendees to learn more about your company or brand.
Once the event is over encourage attendees to post on social media platforms using a specific hashtag to keep conversations going about your event. Sending out emails with details from the event, sharing the event recording and links to more information can also be helpful tools to further engagement.
These are just a few tactics PRSSA Chapters and organizations alike can use when planning virtual events in 2021. Chapters should continue to look for new ways to engage members as virtual programming continues to evolve.
Quinn Peeper is a senior at Samford University. She is majoring in journalism and mass communication with a focus in public relations and advertising and has a minor in sociology. She serves as a YoungLife Capernaum Leader in Birmingham, AL, is a member of PRSSA, and actively involved in her sorority Zeta Tau Alpha. She recently interned for MicroVention Terumo in their HR Communications department, a medical device company.