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Virtual event speakers are often not given the attention they deserve. Even when events are virtual, they’re often asked to travel, certainly must spend time preparing for their presentation and then give it without any feedback or recognition. Speakers are also often expected to be present and available throughout the entire event so that attendees can access them. All with little to no compensation or support.
In reality, these professionals should be treated like rock stars! Make sure that you’re giving them a good experience by providing swag, food, drinks and more. This will help make your presenter feel appreciated and show them how much you care about their success. You’ll also be able to build brand loyalty with this strategy because these speakers might consider doing another virtual event with you in the future!
In this article, we’ll talk about four ways you can impress them so they want to come back for another webinar or workshop.
Virtual event speakers often want to promote the fact that they’re speaking at your event, so creating graphics for social media will empower them to do so. As a result, they’ll be able to show off their speaking engagement while simultaneously introducing your event to their audience.
If you don’t have extensive graphic design skills, you can make use of templates and guides provided by online tools like Easil. The best approach is to decide in advance what your event’s style is going to be (colors, logo, fonts, tone, visual identity), as well as a list of what specific graphics you’re going to need. At a minimum, you should create:
This will give you the core image sizes you’ll need for posting to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, as well as being able to create story posts on all networks that support them. Find and customize a template that you like for one size and graphic and when you’re finished, duplicate and resize for the other requirements.
Once they’re done, you’ll be able to post the graphics on your social media profiles and let virtual event speakers use them too! I recommend one set of graphics that promote the event generally, and an additional set of graphics for each and every speaker you’ve invited. Upload each set of graphics to a Google Drive folder for that speaker so you can easily share with them.
Make sure that when creating these images it’s easy for people to find out where they can attend the webinar or how they can contact you if interested in attending future events.
– Graphics should include the speaker’s name, picture, and event link along with date(s).
– Virtual event speaker images should be high quality with clear pictures/logos that are easily read by potential attendees.
– Social media graphics should include hashtags for virtual events (i.e. #AgencySummit) so people can find it easier when searching on social media or through a digital marketing tool like Agorapulse.
Bonus: Create graphics that feature all of your speakers so that you can tag multiple speakers at once your social posts and generate more buzz.
Virtual event speakers love to get swag boxes filled with goodies (and will tag your company when they post about it on social media). While most speakers won’t expect you to send these, many will appreciate getting them!
– Make sure to include the speaker’s name and picture on the box – many speakers like to share pictures of what’s inside with attendees at future events when asked about how great their experience was.
– Swag items should be fun but also useful (not just promotional). You want speakers thinking about your business because they’ve been able to use something from you throughout this process, which can lead to brand loyalty. This means that the speaker might consider doing another virtual event in the future!
– Stickers should include your company logo or virtual event logo. Make sure that this is visible when stickers are put onto laptops, phones, tablets… luggage… anything your speakers might use.
If you’re based in the United States you can simply ship through your local USPS office to US-based speakers. However, since virtual event speakers can be anywhere in the world, your speakers could be outside the United States. In those instances, I recommend a service like UK Parcel Forwarding which can accept, sign for and forward international shipments. Look for similar services in your specific region.
While it’s important to send speakers a physical box with tangible goods, digital treats are nice too, particularly if you can include free access to your services or services that will help them professionally. You could email access to those digital treats or include notecards in the swag bog with instructions how to access.
I’ve heard some speakers complain about having a bad experience at an event because they weren’t fed. Some virtual event coordinators think that since the speaker is virtual, perhaps even at their own home, the event coordinator shouldn’t have to worry about food and drinks.
While it’s certainly not as expected as with in-person events, going that extra mile to make sure the speaker literally has everything he or she might need is exactly what’s going to help you stand out.
When selecting what type of food or snacks you might provide, go with something that works for most people (i.e., no seafood or other specialty items). If there’s a particular kind of snack or food that one speaker has allergies to or doesn’t eat due to religion/cultural reasons – be aware and accommodate them if possible. It would be easy enough to send an email request out prior asking which types of foods they enjoy eating on their own time (if it needs special accommodations) but this is not always possible and should be used as a last resort.
– Virtual Event Speakers are humans too, so make sure to provide them with snacks that will help keep their energy up during sessions (i.e., sweet treats, high protein foods like nuts).
– Coffee – everyone loves it! Consider sending a variety of coffee, tea or other energy drinks for the speaker to enjoy.
– Water bottles can also come in handy for virtual events speakers who don’t want caffeine but might get thirsty while listening to long presentations from other industry experts during your event. This is especially helpful if there’s no break between speaker panels – virtual event speakers need to stay hydrated.
Don’t forget the little things like mints and gum as well if yours is a hybrid event where the speakers are all in-person. A lot of speakers might talk a lot or just not feel super prepared with snacks nearby – those items can come in handy during sessions and before/after breaks!
A super-easy solution for all of the above is to provide speakers with food delivery gift cards a week before your event! All you have to do is purchase the gift cards, put in their email addresses, and prompt them to stock up on whatever they need in advance.
Anyone can read a speaker’s prepared biography before they come on stage. The problem with most prepared bio’s is that they sound prepared and dry. What if, instead, you took the time to learn about that speaker, how they relate to the virtual event audience, and wrote an introduction in your voice and tone?
You would again show that speaker how much you’re invested in their success and, at the same time, give your event the best chance for success.
Presenting, particularly virtually, is all about creating energy and connection between the speaker and the audience. Professionally trained speakers know how to energize an audience right from the start and can even use techniques that mirror the MC or audience to help build rapport right away.
But not every speaker has had that kind of NLP-level training. All you need to remember is that the audience will match your level of excitement. If you read a boring bio and hand it over to your speaker, the audience will already be bored. If, however, you immediately ramp up the energy and excitement, it’ll be instantly transferred to the speaker. They’ll feel hyped up and energized, and the audience will be in the perfect state to receive the presentation and training.
Next Level Idea: Invite someone else who knows the speaker well to join the event and introduce them!
This is just a small sample of the kinds of things you can do to make sure your virtual event speakers have a fantastic time during your next online conference. Virtual events are not only more cost effective and convenient for everyone involved, but they also allow you to bring in industry experts who would otherwise be out of reach due to travel costs or other factors.
By keeping these tips in mind, along with all that we’ve covered elsewhere on how good planning will lead to great results from every aspect of hosting an awesome virtual event, it’s easy enough to see why so many companies continue throwing their hats into the ring each year! Virtual events offer something for everyone – convenience mixed with flexibility; affordable prices combined with top-notch talent… Virtual events have a lot going for them.
Make sure to take advantage of all the benefits they offer by following these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to having an event that’s so successful it becomes part of your company lore!
If you feel like you still have questions, and want to make sure you put on the best event possible, consider using a virtual event consultant.
Mike Allton is a Content Marketing Practitioner – a title he invented to represent his holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blogging, social media, email marketing and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales. He is an award-winning Blogger, Speaker, and Author, and Brand Evangelist at Agorapulse. Mike has partnered with Jenn Herman, Stephanie Liu, Amanda Robinson and Eric Butow to write Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing published by Entrepreneur Press.
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