Events have traditionally been in-person - a chance to engage and celebrate with others. And, with all of the changes that have taken place in recent years, we’ve had to rethink how to create and host successful events.
Hybrid events are a perfect blend of the traditional and current event styles. Offering increased marketing potential and engagement, they have become more and more popular for all types of businesses.
Knowing what to do and not to do when planning a hybrid event will help maximize your chances of a successful outcome.
What is a Hybrid Event?
Hybrid events are a blend of a live, in-person event, with a virtual or online component. This could be a workshop, seminar, conference, trade show, or other types of meeting or gathering.
People attending your event can experience a high-touch, in-person experience. Others can stream it at home from their phone or laptop while creating new connections and exploring your content.
With today’s technology, creating a hybrid event is easier than you may think. Your event has the potential to be engaging and connective with both types of attendees, and even more so when you combine them both.
With the right knowledge, you can create a hybrid event that will engage two different audiences while meeting their needs at the same time.
10 Tips & Ideas for Hybrid Events
1. Consider Your Audience
Hybrid events present a unique situation. You have two different types of audiences - in-person and virtual. In order to design an event that meets the needs of both, you must consider their situations. Think about how the event will look and feel, what it will sound like, and what experiences you can offer each of them. You never want either of your audience to feel “lesser than” the other.
2. Send Out Surveys
Surveys are a great way to gather important information as well as feedback. They can be used before, during, and after your event. Make sure to keep them short and sweet and think about where your audience will be when you send the survey. For example, do they have questions about what the event entails, or do they have logistical concerns prior to the event? During the event, how did they feel about the speaker or the live-streamed session? After the event, do they have feedback they could share?
Check out our Post-event attendee roadmap to learn how to ask the right questions to increase your response rate, email survey templates to connect with your audience after your event, and a question bank with over 40 questions to gather comprehensive feedback with questions that are easy for your audience to answer with minimum effort and time.
3. A Shared Experience
When planning a hybrid event, consider how you can provide multiple shared experiences. Think about how you can create interactions between the two audiences so they feel connected to each other. There may be times when this is not possible, and that’s OK, and with some creativity, and thinking outside of the box, it may be easier than you think. Try to create moments where everyone comes together and has the opportunity to engage.
4. Consider DownTime
Whether someone is attending your event virtually or in person, there will be moments when they need downtime. They may have work or personal obligations that take place during the event. Offer co-working or quiet spaces for those attending live, and virtual breaks for those attending online.
5. Separate Emcees
This is often overlooked by many event organizers, and possibly is the difference between your virtual event attendees feeling like a secondary audience or an afterthought. Consider hiring two separate moderators or emcees for your event - one for the virtual audience and one for the live audience. Doing so will help to provide continuity as well as a unified voice. They can work together to ensure that everyone understands how to use the event technology and answer questions for both audiences.
6. Keep It Interesting
People’s attention spans are short, now more than ever. The last thing you want is for your audience - virtual or in-person - to get bored or distracted. Vary your content throughout the event to keep things interesting. It’s much easier to do for those who are attending in person, so always consider how you can offer interactive experiences for people watching online as well.
7. Encourage Networking
Allow people to start making connections even before your event begins. Create an online space where all attendees (regardless of type) can network and get to know each other. Provide talking points and encourage everyone to share ideas. Keep that space available for continued networking after the event if possible.
8. Remember Your Sponsors
Hybrid events typically have a much larger audience, which makes them more appealing to sponsors. You’re able to offer them double the exposure of events that are only in-person or online, not to mention all the additional branding opportunities. Think about ways you can offer them more value, such as paid advertising for printed and virtual content, lower third call-outs, countdown timers, etc.
9. Repurpose Your Content
Take advantage of all the content you are recording. To get the best return on investment and to help promote future events, repurpose your content as soon as possible. Create paid “On-Demand” viewing of the content from your event, and incorporate clips and soundbites into your regularly scheduled marketing. Your recorded content can also build your membership and create a stronger online community.
10. Structure Matters
How you structure and organize your hybrid event matters. Utilizing a checklist or event-planning software will help ensure that you don’t miss anything. Hiring an event professional will relieve all the pressure and allow you to do what you do best, while they handle all of the heavy lifting.
Although they incorporate a level of complexity, when done right, hybrid events are worth all the effort. By following these 10 tips and ideas, you will ensure a successful event every time.
And if you still have questions or want to find out how we can handle the details for you, you can schedule a free consultation with a member of our team. We’d love to help!