Ten years ago, CommPartners introduced livestream services with a focus on helping organizations, extend their reach and value of their place based conferences. The rationale at the time was that only a small percentage of our communities are able to attend onsite, leaving a significant number unengaged with these premiere education and networking events. We felt adding a livestream would be positively received. We realized through our initial client conversations, this wasn’t necessarily the case.
One of the reasons for the slow adaption rate was within organization structures, conference and meetings and online education were not always aligned as complementary elements of an education strategy. A livestream presents the intersection of these two areas. Organizations were not internally set to address this new opportunity. Specifically the conference and meetings folks were hesitant to invest in any initiative that might take away from the number of onsite attendees.
Fast forward ten years later, we are seeing significant movement of organizations embracing the chance to increase their audience to more than just the people that attend onsite. So why is this happening now and how can you leverage this opportunity?
Position Your Livestream Programs for Success
We know attending an event remotely, without the energy of a crowd or being at a venue is vastly different than attending alone, through your computer screen. Therefore to have a successful outcome, the planning process should be based on understanding the virtual learner and planning accordingly. Having an alternative or parallel remote participant plan to actively engage online attendees moves them from passive observer to active participant. Ideas include:
- Have programming for just the virtual audience such as pre or post session interviews, pre-produced content, facilitated chats, raffles or giveaways.
- Have an on camera MC for the virtual audience stimulating chats, submitting questions to speakers, and engaging remote attendees.
- Make sure presenters incorporate the virtual audience in their session by looking at the camera, mentioning virtual attendees and having exercises available if the onsite audience is involved in an activity.
- Use a platform that offers engagement features to blend the remote audience with the onsite audience such as live polls, crowdsourcing and contests.
- Ask virtual audience members to upload their picture or groups they are participating with in the collaboration area to give the event a community feel.
- Show a live map of where virtual attendees are logging in from.
Deliver or Produce Your Livestream in a Professional and Engaging Manner
While education strategy is critical for online events, the production quality will be noticed and is critical to the program’s success. The goal is to have remote attendees feel they are onsite and have a front row seat. We recommend the following:
- Consider a room or multiple rooms to hold all your virtual event sessions that work well as a virtual setting. Think about it as a studio with excellent acoustics, visuals, camera positioning and sound.
- Use your onsite audience to build energy in the program form the virtual audience. Include roving microphones and camera shots to capture audience engagement.
- Use the virtual MC to have a prominent role representing remote participants. Have him or her on camera introducing questions to the speakers.
- Use lower third name graphics to identify who is speaking.
- Consider multiple cameras to switch shots and views.
- Have a remote interview area in a public place that attracts onsite attendees in the audience.
- Consider an eye in the sky mounted camera to cut to transitions to provide the remote audience a sense of the energy at the event.
There appears to be a realization that a livestream is an excellent way to expand an organization’s reach and impact. Providing the opportunity to participate online says to your community that you value their involvement regardless of where they are geographically or what stage in their professional life they may be.
If you are interested in discussing the opportunity for a livestream for your organization, contact Meghan Gowen, VP Client Development at firstname.lastname@example.org.