The coronavirus crisis has caught the events industry flat-footed. We're desperately scrambling to produce digital events that complement or replace our in-person meetings. In this scramble to scale, the focus on content has a been lost or neglected. But more than any other event element, quality content represents the difference between a mediocre event and a successful one.
Until it is safe to meet again, this crisis presents us with a unique opportunity to master the art and science of content in order to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage. Quality content is the solution for today's crisis and your hedge against tomorrow's. Below are a few tips to consider to get the most out of your content post-event.
Gather the Data
Digital events are a treasure trove of data that can provide valuable insight into the content engagement levels and preference of your audience.
You can and should analyze the data to identify any trends in topics, speakers, formats, time of day or days of the week, etc. This can provide critical information that will help with future event planning.
Additionally, you should solicit feedback about your digital event as soon as possible. You'll get the most authentic feedback (good and bad) when the experience is fresh in participants' minds. Sadly, most of the digital events I've attended lately are only collecting a minimal amount of data at registration and often little or no post-event evaluation data at all.
There's plenty of other data you can collect over the course of a digital event. It all comes down to what metrics are important to you and your organization.
Keep the Conversation Going
Shortly after the event ends, be sure to send out a recap and link to the event page to all attendees. Remember to send this out with the event description, objectives and presenter bios just like you did with your invitation. This will help who weren't able to attend to determine whether it's worth their while to review the archived event.
In addition to sending out a recap, spend a little more time and effort in post-production and create a condensed version of your digital event (highlights or key takeaways) for easier consumption. Think of it like a movie trailer that can help drive traffic back to your event page and could even be used for promotional marketing purposes next year.
Another option to consider is serializing your content like Netflix and releasing recorded sessions for on-demand viewing on a set schedule. Or, enlist your speakers to provide a recap of the event and raise the question of "What's next?" Tap these subject matter experts to help continue the conversation with attendees by providing future predictions, sharing additional tips and answering any questions that weren't covered during the event. Doing so will provide extra value for attendees and help your audience remember you in an increasingly crowded space.
Consider Monetization Opportunities
Given the huge losses in revenue from postponed, cancelled, or reduced in-person events, monetizing digital content is critical, now more than ever.
Generating revenue with content is the Holy Grail for most content providers. Whether you realize it or not, if you're producing a digital event, you're a content provider. But well-curated, compelling content is an unrealized revenue opportunity.
When your content is ready for prime time, try a tiered approach where some content is available for free while other more premium and customized sessions are available to viewers at a fee. These sessions can also be bundled with other products and services for extra value. But remember, if you want to monetize your digital event, you're going to have to up your digital content game first.
John Nawn is the founder and CEO of The Perfect Meeting, an experiential design firm focused on optimizing the attendee experience and meeting outcomes. This piece is the third and final in a series on how to improve your virtual content (view part one and part two here). For a free consultation on how to monetize your digital event content, email [email protected]