Like all businesses, the speaking and events world is subject to change. This is a topic many speakers and event organizers are thinking about now, thanks to the Coronavirus, but it is something the industry needs to start preparing for in spite of these difficult times. Speakers and event planners make their living off of live events and conferences and like any business, they can have disruptions. Having multiple ways to deliver your services and a contingency plan in place is key for business continuity. Here are a few things to help you prepare for the future.
Staying Connected to Your Audience
Event planners and speakers need to stop thinking of events as a single moment. The speaker and the event should have records of who is attending and integrate those relationships into their CRM and social media profiles. Speakers should have their social handles integrated on their slides to help people quote and promote them during the live event, and also connect and join their community. The stronger the relationship is with your attendees and the more connected you are, the less it will be a one-time event and the more people will be willing to deal with postponements and virtual options in the case of disruption. Using social media you can also integrate more touchpoints through the year leading up to your event and deliver post-event value to attendees.
Let’s Get Virtual
Things like coronavirus have had an accelerating but not new impact on society. Many companies instantly adopted remote work in response, but the market was already going there. With more people getting used to engaging through technology, live streaming, and virtual interactions, this opens the door for conferences to have fully virtual events that some major conferences were already adopting and experimenting with, and micro-virtual events that can build an audience for the yearly main event. Jay Baer wrote a great article on how to ensure a successful virtual event titled, 7 Virtual Event Success Factors. This is a great time to look into virtual events and the solutions and technology behind them. This technology can also increase revenue to in-person events by expanding the event for people who can’t physically make it. Conferences and events that are already integrating this strategy are having an advantage over in-person only events when natural disasters or other disruptions happen.
Technology enables new opportunities. The great news about running virtual events is you don’t have to create them from scratch. There are complete solutions like Virtual Summits Software that have integrated turn-key solutions to create an entire summit with an easy to use solution. If you want to create a hybrid event (in-person and virtual) you can integrate live streaming. This will also get in-person attendees to get used to consuming parts of the event virtually. Mikayla Milburn wrote a great post on integrating live streaming options here. One thing is sure, technology is enabling speakers and attendees to take part in events regardless of their location.
The future beyond video. The next technology to keep an eye on is augmented reality and virtual reality. This will blend both worlds of real-time live content and exclusive remote live content. There are even companies like ARHT Media who are using holographic technology to create new types of virtual enhanced events. Flexibility and scalability are key to the future of events and speaking and this technology will enable both. Like all businesses, event professionals and speakers should be keeping an eye on and integrating these things into their business models. We don’t have to wait for some major disruption to develop our businesses and prepare for the future. New technologies can provide limitless possibilities that remove time and location as restrictions.
Making Your Event Timeless
Evergreen events deliver value all year-round. Speakers and events alike have made their money off the exclusive nature of having to be at the live event. With so many options for content and live experiences, capturing attention and extending the value of the content shared at live events means videos for speakers and events are becoming a powerful evergreen asset. Tools like On24 take it beyond the event to enable you to create personalized rich media experiences that engage users individually at scale.
It is time to start thinking beyond the event to create a persistent experience for attendees that diversifies the content and engagement year-round. We saw this happening in the music industry where people were giving away the music for free because they were able to build more value in merchandise, concerts, and community aside from the singular event. This is just a different way of thinking. In the same way Kodak thought they were in the film industry instead of the memory capturing industry, event professionals need to think of themselves in the experiential content industry and not limit their thinking to live events only.
We Are All In The Business Of Change
The best way to insulate ourselves and our businesses from change is to prepare for it. Recent events have event professionals and speakers expanding their thinking about events and this is a good thing. It’s time to start thinking bigger about the future of events. Just starting to talk about disruption and converting that conversation into practical steps for our businesses can help us solve current issues, prepare for the future, and have a stronger business model. Whether your event is in-person, virtual, or a hybrid of both, Gravity Speakers has an incredible list of speakers that can make your event a success. Look through our roster of exclusive speakers and book them today!