Last year, executives from homebuilding event, PCBC engaged the storytellers and event communications experts at StoryTech to bring technology to the forefront and place it within the context of the homebuilding industry. Unfortunately, PCBC had to cancel its PCBC Conference this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Once again, PCBC executives contacted StoryTech to see what sort of communication might work well in the current climate. Although some live events were able to move online, this was not an option for PCBC. StoryTech helped devise a new strategy of weekly online seminars to provide meaningful content to PCBC’s former attendees and exhibitors.
StoryTech and PCBC worked together to determine that one-hour seminars, spaced one week apart, would be a viable option to stay connected with their audience – without tiring them out. But even though the seminars are short, a great deal of care went into organizing, planning and deploying them. PCBC sent out emails, surveys and polls. And then they got on the phone and talked to their people. This helped PCBC zone in on the right speakers for the job. This helped put together a high-value product for which customers were willing to pay.
StoryTech worked closely with PCBC to plan every detail of the seminars. From the format and platforms chosen (Streamyard and YouTube Live), to the detailed technical and content rehearsals, to the professional look and feel of the final product, each moment was researched and tested. The goal was to have a broadcast feel for a broadband budget with the ability to “switch’” between speakers and content and move away from a flat and unbranded video call to a well-produced show.
The webinars had a fee for a series of panels and there was close to 90% attendance from those that signed up. The seven sessions were each an hour and there was less than 1% drop off on the broadcast. Moving forward, PCBC is going to continue to explore this kind of content to stay connected to their thriving community and now they have content to leverage for marketing purposes.
- Tools are only as good as those who wield them. Find the right team members, and practice until perfect.
- Dress for success. When at a live event, venues need to be managed and dressed. In virtual events, every single speaker or presenter calling in represents a new venue that needs lighting and set dressing.
- No tech is perfect. Have a plan for when thinks go wonky.
- Over-communicate. Don’t assume what the key speakers, exhibitors or sponsors and attendees want. Ask them.
- The look and feel of the event and branding are important.
- Understand the audience. Are they avid fans willing to sit online for hours just to glimpse a favorite influencer or celebrity? Are they work-from-home parents who need to fit your content around home schooling? Are they busy executives who are likely to start reading their emails past the one-hour mark? Create content and presentation style appropriate for the audience’s schedule – and attention span.
- Monitor and manage. Be sure there is someone managing backstage, and someone monitoring exactly what the audience is seeing. Ensure there is clear and constant communication between these folks, the speakers and the tech managers.
- Be aware of the delays that can occur in streaming. Live streams can lag significantly behind the original broadcast.
- Work in progress. Understand that everybody is still learning and experimenting. And just when things are working a certain way, a software update comes out and everything changes again.
- Remember to entertain. Informing and educating are great. But if it’s not fun, the audience is gone.