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Hybrid Event Production: Make Your Next Conference a Success

Posted by Deb Nicharot on August 29, 2023

When it’s time to organize your next company-wide meeting or industry conference, you can find a valuable middleground between an in-person and virtual gathering and host a hybrid event. Giving guests the option of live streaming panels or attending in person allows you to expand your scope and reach new audiences.

Running a successful hybrid event can depend on a few steps you take as the event organizer. These include planning comprehensively, selecting the right technology and engaging in effective on-the-ground management. With these boxes checked, your gathering may become a major part of your company’s calendar, year after year.

Hybrid events: Continuing relevance and increasing sophistication

The conference space saw a complete disruption in 2020, as in-person gatherings shuttered due to COVID-19 and virtual events took their place. The halting return to physical events often involved a hybrid model, brought on by ongoing uncertainty, periodic infection spikes and the value of allowing virtual attendees to dial in if they were unable to travel.

Corporate events company CEO Melissa Park told Forbes contributor MeiMei Fox that hybrid gatherings represent the perfect mix for today’s business climate. Virtual event access is cost-effective and lets businesses reach attendees around the world. Purely online events, however, suffer from a number of drawbacks, including the prevalence of “Zoom fatigue.” Many people are simply more engaged when meeting in person.

Organizing a hybrid event is a way to serve many audiences all at once. It gives each prospective attendee a choice: Do they want the convenience and simplicity of streaming the live event, or the personal touch of visiting in person?

This flexibility has expanded the shelf life of hybrid events. They aren’t just a stopgap solution for a business world in transition. They’re a powerful way to expand your company’s reach.

Learn more about how hybrid corporate events are developing over the years.

The art of running an effective hybrid event

Organizing a hybrid conference has one distinct event management challenge: You have to be adept at handling both sides of the equation, online and in-person. The experiences for virtual attendees and in-person guests are different, but they each need to be managed carefully for the maximum engagement of the participants.

Event company We & Goliath used a LinkedIn Pulse blog post to list a few important considerations for organizers to include. For instance, it’s important for online participants to be able to connect directly with speakers, presenters and other guests who are attending in person via video. Networking shouldn’t just be for those who make the trip physically.

In-person success comes down to factors such as advance run-throughs of live event production and technical cues, along with preparing the venue to host the right size of crowd. Careful advance planning is the best approach to creating a live event that will run smoothly and have attendees excited to come back for future editions.

Physical prep work and event strategy execution isn’t just about making your in-person guests comfortable and happy. Setting up the venue’s infrastructure can also have a direct impact on the virtual attendee experience, especially in terms of internet connection strength.

A venue that doesn’t have the infrastructure for high-speed wired internet connections may have trouble hosting the virtual component of a hybrid conference. A reliable signal can ensure that the home viewing experience is smooth rather than frustrating. In most cases, Wi-Fi won’t suffice, especially because these networks may be overtaxed once the onsite attendees start logging on with their devices.

Hybrid events have benefits for companies beyond broadening your potential audience — learn more.

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Hybrid events can showcase video production partnerships

Since the virtual component of hybrid events relies on strong video production infrastructure, companies that have highly developed visual media departments stand the best chance of success. There are multiple ways to build out video production capabilities today. One of the most cost-effective is to strike up a partnership with a video partner.

This kind of creative relationship can deliver high-level production capabilities for your organization, without the costs that accompany staffing an internal department or purchasing your own equipment. A video partnership can also stretch beyond the event itself, allowing you to create compelling visual materials in the months following the hybrid meeting or conference.

A hybrid event serves as a rich source of raw footage for general-purpose video content. Session, panel and roundtable recordings can become high-value gated assets, while casual behind-the-scenes footage is excellent social media material. You can even use event content from a hybrid to build a compelling hype video for future events.

Check out our latest eBook for more about video’s impact on running a successful event.

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