In a world that still feels stalled, brands and business leaders must provide meaningful ways for partners, clients, prospects, and team members to connect. Even if bringing groups together in person isn’t feasible, hosting virtual events can be a powerful way to create community and provide valuable training and networking opportunities.
However, we’ve quickly realized that online events require a different set of skills and techniques than their live counterpart that many of us don’t know. Additionally, there is still some confusion around how a virtual event platform differs from a virtual event production company.
Here is a breakdown of how they differ and why they are both essential for creating a dynamic, successful digital event.
What Is a Virtual Event Platform?
A virtual event platform is software that allows users to host an event that includes multiple live-streamed and pre-recorded sessions.
In contrast to virtual meeting software, where all users are placed together in one “room,” virtual event software provides space for the host and presenters that are connected but separate from the space where the audience resides.
Another way to frame it is virtual meeting software is a room where everyone is sitting at the same table, while a virtual event platform has space where the audience sits and has a separate stage for the host and presenters.
A conference brings together leading experts in a particular industry or field to share the latest information, mainly for educational purposes and professional growth.
A tradeshow is where companies from a specific industry present their latest products and releases in an expo fashion. Larger events may include bonus activities like speakers, training opportunities, etc.
A live event is an occasion where a large group gathers in the same venue to participate in a shared experience, whether it be a conference, awards ceremony, trade show, or corporate training.
Hybrid events combine a live event with a virtual audience, creating a platform where virtual attendees actively engage with presenters and other attendees from their computer or device.
Related: Van Wagner Shines At Its 7th Kentucky Derby
Virtual Event Platform vs. Virtual Event Production Company
Just like a live event needs a venue where everyone can gather, a virtual event provides an online space where presenters, sponsors, entertainment, and attendees can come together to share the same experience.
Virtual event platforms allow you to bring together a vastly wider audience than would be possible with a traditional brick-and-mortar affair. Plus, you open up participation to sought-after presenters who can more easily participate from their home or office. There are dozens of platforms to choose from with a range of features like breakout rooms, polling, and chat rooms to engage your audience.
While your event platform is an integral part of an online event, it’s not the whole package. Just like your venue wouldn’t be all you needed for a live event. You still need to coordinate the production, catering, and logistics of your live event, as well as the technical aspects of the virtual component.
This is where a virtual event production company would come in. Virtual event production companies can help you manage your online event from start to finish, overseeing everything from scheduling, technology, equipment, entertainment, and production. Or, if you only need support in specific areas, they can tailor their services to more specialized areas like delivering broadcast-quality content or training on optimizing engagement.
Whatever the capacity, virtual event production teams provide a level of expertise most of us don’t have and absolutely need in order to impress our audience and achieve our event goals.
Are you trying to plan the perfect hybrid event? Van Wagner explains why you’ll need professional help!
Should You Choose a Hybrid Event Company?
Unfortunately, virtual events, or the virtual component of hybrid events, don’t mean less production is required. In fact, hybrid events often require more elaborate and carefully orchestrated strategies. And although you may have experience organizing a live or virtual event, successfully merging the two in an interactive, engaging, and polished way might be more than you have time to tackle.
To make your event shine, it’s critical to keep your audience engaged. A good virtual event platform will offer plenty of engaging features and interactive opportunities, but you first need to know what they are and how best to use them. There are also tricks to optimizing content, so your presenters don’t come across as talking heads, everything from design to sound to lighting and the type of camera you use.
Ultimately, you have to ask yourself if trying to figure it out as you go worth risking the quality and success of your event.
Related: Driving Industry Stimulation Through Virtual Engagement
What Is the Value of a Virtual Production Company?
When organizing a live event, you wouldn’t assume the role of an audio technician or camera operator, would you? The same applies to the virtual component. You want to have experts helping you ensure every aspect of your event obtains a level of excellence your participants expect and deserve.
Whether you are transitioning your live event to virtual, merging the two, or starting from scratch, these companies can help you strategize how to bring your vision to life. Even better, they can take care of all of the planning and production elements necessary to maximize the virtual experience for your users.
Just choosing a virtual event platform can be daunting. But virtual event experts are savvy to the pros and cons of live-streaming platforms and can help you find the best fit for your event. If you already have a platform or existing digital tools, they can help you integrate them to avoid reinventing the wheel or purchasing unnecessary add-ons. They can also provide support if equipment fails or you experience any technical mishaps during the event.
Keeping your virtual audience engaged and tuned in requires a whole new level of creativity and skill. Virtual event production teams are well versed in best practices for optimizing content, captivating the audience, and leveraging platform features to optimize the viewer experience. They can also train your team on implementing these practices and providing guidance for your presenters so they feel prepared and confident.
In short, virtual production companies are indispensable for creating and implementing a comprehensive, innovative event strategy that will provide an unforgettable experience for your attendees.
Learn how to plan your next hybrid event with these tips from Van Wagner!
The Right Team Can Boost Your Virtual Production Efficiency
Hosting an exciting, transformative, and professional event requires a level of expertise only a professional production team can offer. Hosting a virtual event is no different. And while finding the right digital platform is undoubtedly important, it will only serve as your foundation. If you want your event to thrive and your team to flourish, find a skilled virtual production company that knows how to maximize your platform capabilities and dominate the digital landscape.
Related: What Is the Difference Between a Hybrid Event & Virtual Event?