5 Points to Consider Before You Leave Event Content Value on the Table

March 14, 2022

Thank goodness we are finally returning to physical events. That's where we and our attendees want to be. But it always saddens me when I hear folks say "We're all going to be onsite, so we won't need any online stuff." Won't we?
Prior to the pandemic, we used to remind reluctant organizers that for the average event, only 2-5% or less of the event's sphere actually make it on-site - so what are we doing for the other 95%? One thing the pandemic showed us early on, when suddenly numbers for many events were 20-50% higher than they had ever been on site, was that if you make content available to those who can't be there (and perhaps never could have been there) they will gladly participate. 

So now that we are back to physical events, it's no time to go back to cutting off all those people whom we recently delighted with access to previously out-of-reach experiences. For those organizers on the fence about this, here's a few thoughts to consider

1. They won't stay home just because you put some of your content online.

When we started webcasting events full time in 1996, the #1 concern was, and continued to remain, "People will stay home if we put sessions online." Now that objection, for some, has morphed into "Now that they can, we want everybody to be on site." But research has long shown that those who have the time and budget will attend your show - there still is no replacement for being there in person. You know that. Your attendees know that. And that still doesn't answer the question of what are you doing for the other 95%, a surprising percentage of whom showed up for your virtual events in the last two years.

2. You have a huge investment in your event content - that investment shouldn't disappear when the event is over.

Think of all the work you and your team put into all the arrangements for your physical event. If all that's left of that effort, once the show ends, is a memory, then significant value - real dollars - has been left on the table. Whether it's the highly visible member benefit, archives for subscribers, sessions repurposed as new sponsored webinars, or several hundred seats sold to a corporate member for their learning management system, it's got value - but only if it lives past the last day of the show.

3. Not everything has to stream out live.

Some of it probably should, considering the relatively modest cost compared to the marketing value of streaming out a keynote or two. But much of it may be fine simply captured for later access - much of which can appear on a daily basis as your live event proceeds. Want to save even more money? Go old school with some sessions - capturing slide activity and audio-only usually cost a great deal less than other options.

4. Hybrid event capture should pay for itself.

For most organizers, there is one motif that really does seem to do the trick. We learned about this methodology from multiple years of producing the Content Marketing Institute's annual conference. In the materials that go out for attending the physical show, add checkboxes for your online content access. Offer attendees the chance to see what they missed, or to share their experience with a colleague, who might otherwise never make it to the show. We have found that organizers utilizing this system usually cover the cost of their hybrid capture. And those who employ other methods usually don't.

5. Don't forget the marketing value.

Even though marketing budgets are rarely tapped to help pay for hybrid event services, we need not to ignore the significant marketing value of online event content. In many cases, only certain, and often the best or most popular, sessions end up online, and that has the effect of shining a particularly positive light on that content for the remote attendees. What many organizations find is that some of those attendees, impressed by the quality of the content and other show visuals, realize that they need to be there onsite for the next one, for sure

If you saw any kind of bump in your numbers during the pandemic-necessitated virtual events, we would just note that the reasons they didn't make it to your physical events before the pandemic may persist. And what are you doing for them?

Want more ideas on hybrid event services and how they can pay for themselves? Click here.