Before the pandemic, almost nobody was talking about virtual events. They were the more passive, less liked cousin of in-person events. Yet, when the horrors of 2020 struck, we all turned to virtual events and webinars to connect with our friends, colleagues, and industry leaders around the world.

It was in this period of uncertainty when we didn’t know when social events, let alone global travel would return, that we realised virtual events were really useful.

In their heyday, virtual events challenged brands to be more creative and original in the way they connected with their audience and media. For many, virtual events like webinars, offered a convenient, covid-safe, and hassle-free way to hear from leading experts, engage with brands or discuss trending topics with peers without leaving home.

As a public relations agency, we will always want to be on the front foot of change and innovation, so understanding the ins and outs of what makes a standout virtual event has been crucial for us. Last week, we touched on the Wagga Wagga regional monopoly launch and how that brought a community together. Today, we will be discussing how virtual events can bring audiences together and achieve valuable results for brands, and how relevant they still are in the ‘post pandemic’ era.

In March, we had the pleasure of helping our client Future X Collective launch their webinar on ‘The secrets to success: How businesses must change to support and retain talent in 2022’. As a leading collective of workplace designers and consultants, our aim was to connect Future X Collective with CEOs and business leaders looking for advice on how to revamp their workplaces.

Leveraging off the existing conversation around the ‘great resignation’, we centred the webinar around workplace design, technology, and conflict resolution as key themes in the future of work, and for talent retention in a competitive global market.

As a PR agency once we had devised a topic for the webinar, that was both timely and relevant to the client’s expertise, we began to put the wheels into motion. A part of this process included bringing onboard two other panellists and a moderator to strengthen the credibility and reach of the virtual event. These two specialists held expertise in technology and workplace conflict, which complimented Future X Collective’s holistic workplace design knowledge.

To truly highlight the importance of technology in this webinar, we used a third-party virtual conferencing platform to ensure that we had the highest quality audio and visuals. Therefore, no screens froze or lost connection during the webinar, which can easily disrupt the flow of the discussion for audience members and result in dropouts.

Rather than a simple link sent via a calendar invitation, which is informal and can easily be misplaced. We devised a specialised landing page for the webinar which included Future X Collective’s branding, background on the speakers, direct links to the panellist’s websites and email registration to receive EDMs for the event. This level of professionalism and thoroughness is always noticed by audience members, even if it is just subconsciously, it all makes a difference.

Once we had locked in the theme, talking points, panellists, virtual platform, and date for the event, we commenced marketing. To ensure we were applying the best marketing strategy, we undertook research into where exactly our target audience was and how often we should be communicating to them before they became fatigued by our message.

Our strategy was to commence marketing the webinar via LinkedIn and client newsletters ten days out from the event. Research has shown that a more ‘hard and fast’ approach to promotion can support engagement as audience members will remember having registered for an event not that long ago. Rather than an event which has been in your calendar for weeks, and by the time it rolls around you can’t recall why you signed up.

We designed graphic materials and social media copy to be used by all panellists and their organisations so that the webinar messaging was clear and sleek across all parties.

Upon the day of the event, we had over 100 registrations, with a range of listeners dialling in from large international corporations to smaller Sydney-based companies. As expected, not everybody who registers for your webinar will attend (think about how many you have missed because a meeting ran overtime!). However, the event results showed a clear interest in the content with many asking questions in our Q&A session.

This webinar touched on important questions including how to strike the perfect hybrid balance, how to navigate the turbulent waters of online conferencing for employees, and why businesses must improve their culture to preserve talent in a global labour shortage.

As a result of the event, we saw a significant traffic spike to Future X Collective’s website and an increase in direct searches. In addition, viewers reached out to Future X Collective following the event to uncover more about workplace strategy and explore a future partnership. These tangible results and business conversions are at the heart of a successful webinar event.

If you’re interested in including a webinar or digital event in your PR campaign, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Agent Eva