Tips for organising a virtual event

With online events the norm for the foreseeable future follow our tips on how to organise a virtual event.

Man with VR headset and microphone at virtual event


Virtual events are set to become the norm. That might be speeches, town hall events and panels in-house at your company. Or, if you were planning to host a landmark conference that’s going to have to go online now. The technology has leapt on to meet requirements these days. Some tech allows you to virtually turn up to a virtual conference centre, choose your event and even network afterwards. 

If you’re looking to put on a virtual event, or if you’ve been tasked with organising one we’ve advice courtesy of marketing expert Nicole Garrison.

Virtual event goals

People attend virtual events to achieve certain goals. For example, an attendee may register for a virtual job fair to learn about new job positions. Or an attendee might register for a virtual trade show to obtain information about a new product launch.

The goals of your event need to be correlated to the goals of your event attendees. Therefore, you want to be very specific about what you want your virtual event to achieve.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Why are we having this event?
  • Why are we inviting attendees to this event?
  • What are the key things we want an attendee to walk away with?
  • How will we specifically measure success?

The answers to these questions are your event goals. These goals should help you stay on track throughout the event planning process and they’ll prevent you from wasting resources. In addition, you can share these goals with internal and external event stakeholders so everyone understands the purpose of your event and aligns their priorities accordingly.

Get it on paper

It will be easier to explain to your event partners and virtual environment provider how you imagine your virtual experience if you have it written down. Use this document to get potential partners on board and to motivate event speakers to take part in your event. Suffering from writer’s block? You can team up with writing services to ensure your ideas are well-written and properly interpreted.

Find the right tech partner

The success of your virtual event largely depends on the technology provider. Ideally, the technology provider isn’t just a platform where your event will take place, but your partner.

Going for the first provider that pops into your search results isn’t the best decision. Do thorough research until you find the perfect match. Start by looking for a credible company that has experience with the type of event you are hosting. Then take a look at the reviews. You want a technology provider that has a proven track record of satisfied event hosts.

Do your research

If you are a rookie in the virtual events world, it’s time to gather some experience. Before you go head-on into hosting your event, you should do some research. Social media platforms, such as LinkedIn, can be a good place to start.

Marie Fincher, a virtual event planner, shared what helped her organise her first virtual event. She says, “Social media platforms are perfect for connecting to like-minded people. Before I hosted my first virtual event, I joined Facebook and LinkedIn groups where I gathered tips and advice from other event hosts.”

Another thing you can do to gain experience is to take part in virtual events. You’ll be able to understand your audience’s needs better if you have been in the audience at least once.

Promote your event

Don’t underestimate the power of marketing. Promoting your event is almost as relevant as the event itself. Why? Because you won’t be able to have a successful virtual event if your target audience doesn’t know about it.

How you’ll market your event should be based on your target audience. If you are targeting people within your organisation or company, focus on internal means of communication, such as email or closed groups on social media.

Aiming for a wider audience means you’ll need to put more work into marketing. For example:

  • Use your email contact list to send newsletters about your event.
  • Post news about your event in public groups and industry forums.
  • Encourage sharing on your social media accounts.
  • Make sure your event is included on the Events calendar of your website.
  • Publish a series of SEO-optimised blog posts that promote your event’s value.

Remember: don’t leave promotions for the last minute. Inform your target audience in advance and send them occasional reminders.

How to engage

It’s easier to retain the audience’s attention at face-to-face events. For the most part, the audience has nowhere else to turn their attention but to the speaker.

With virtual events, audience engagement will need to be a top priority because audience retention is more challenging. Nothing can stop them from walking away from their laptop at any time.

Some recommendations for increased engagement are:

  • Have charismatic and entertaining speakers
  • Deliver engaging content
  • Hold live Q&As
  • Take live polls
  • Create games

And don’t underestimate the importance of break time. If you think you can keep your audience’s focus for hours, think again. Break sessions, give attendees time to re-energise and come back with renewed enthusiasm.

Preparation is always important

The more time and effort you invest in preparing for your virtual event, the less pressure you will feel when the day comes.


Nicole D.Garrison is a content strategist, writer and contributor at Subjecto and a number of platforms for marketing specialists. She is a dedicated and experienced author and she runs her own blog LiveInspiredMagazine.

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