Technology has infiltrated almost every aspect of our lives from business to education to healthcare. Now, it’s changing the way we plan, host, and attend events. But how has streaming video transformed the events world?
In the past, events were limited to space and time. Simply put, to be part of an event, you physically had to be there. If you had the time and the budget to travel to the destination, great, but if you weren’t in the room, you most likely missed out. And even if you had the good fortune to attend, you had to rely on your note-taking skills or memory to walk away with valuable information. If you’re not a note-taking whiz or don’t have a photographic memory, there is a good chance you left much of the value behind.
Then streaming video was introduced and suddenly your event was instantly more accessible. Companies are increasingly realizing the power of having a solid video strategy for their events, and people from all over the world can reap the benefits.
Video adds another level of interactivity to your events. The global village we live in today means that event organizers can give access to everyone. People can watch your content anytime from anywhere, interacting with it and each other. After the event, the video can be used for training and professional development, marketing and sales materials — the sky’s the limit.
Whether you choose to stream one keynote speaker or multiple sessions, video gives you a global reach that can pay off in a big way. More and more businesses are streaming live videos of their events to deliver added value and reach a broader audience. You’ll need a digital video strategy that provides you with a scalable and flexible streaming solution to help you maximize the effectiveness of your events. Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way.
- Think Globally – Your Attendees Can Be Anywhere.
With video streaming, your event will no longer be limited to a local audience. Live, online footage of your event provides extensive reach, and a streaming video service can give you the tools necessary to maximize views.
So, think beyond your conference walls by creating an entire online conference pass and experience. Start thinking about your online strategy from the very beginning, like …
- What sessions will you capture? If you’re just starting out with online video, it could be as simple as streaming your keynotes to the public to get your feet wet. But it never hurts to go all in and capture everything. Just think of all that valuable content your audience could reference – and you could market – year-round.
- How will you make your online attendees feel included? Think about streaming every aspect of your event – the keynotes, breakout sessions, Q&As, special interviews, overflow lounges, virtual happy hours … you name it.
- How will you showcase your videos? It’ll be key to publish your videos immediately after your event while they’re still top of mind, and putting them all in a branded, searchable (and secure) YouTube-like showcase is a great way to share the content.
Streaming isn’t just for the online audience, either. It’s good peace of mind for in-person attendees knowing that they’ll have access to all the content later. So, if they miss a session or a keynote, it’s not a big deal. It’s a win-win!
- Turn up the Interactivity.
Streaming your event results in more interactions between you and your audience. Be sure to give online viewers a surround sound experience by going way beyond just streaming. If you incorporate things like live chat, social sharing, Q&A, quizzing, surveys and polling, you can engage with your viewers in real-time and make online attendees feel connected to the content. Increased viewer engagement often results in positive brand awareness, more valuable leads, and additional sales. After all, isn’t that the end goal?
- Make Your Content More Accessible.
Once you have a content plan in place, don’t overlook accessibility. If your videos aren’t accessible to everyone, you’re limiting your reach. Content should be easily accessed on any device at any moment.
Closed captioning is also an important feature you need to think about when creating your video strategy.
While closed captioning is a helpful feature to the hearing impaired, it has the added benefit of increasing search capabilities for your audience as a whole. Viewers can search your entire video catalog for a specific word or phrase and easily access relevant footage. Searchable video is like gold. As video libraries become larger and larger, it is critical to offer viewers a simple way to find content.
- Remember, Analytics Are Your Friends
Perhaps the unsung hero of a solid video strategy is the analytics, and too often people don’t fully utilize its power. Keep in mind all the metadata that comes along with all this content. You’ll have viewing metrics that you can use to improve your marketing strategies and increase sales. You’ll be able to analyze everything from registration, to interaction, to viewer behaviors. What was the most popular speaker? Where did viewers disengage? How long do they interact with the content?
With this valuable information, you can continuously improve your events and maximize attendee satisfaction. This will result in better customer relations and an increased ROI.
- Maximize ROI Year-Round.
High-quality video can be used in a variety of ways to maximize your event’s ROI. Have you thought about charging an admission fee to the live stream? Interested, online attendees could make a one-time payment or purchase a subscription to access your on-demand videos.
You can choose to create a sense of urgency by making your stream available for a limited time only. You also have the option to charge for online attendance or entice more viewers with free access. Viewers can watch the footage of your event at their own convenience on their laptops, smartphones, or tablets.
Don’t forget about how valuable the event footage can be throughout the year. It can be re-purposed for year-round marketing, training sessions, sales materials, and even talent acquisition. Use the most popular content (hint: use the video’s analytics to figure that out) in marketing campaigns, edit content down into short snippets to share on social media and share the event video playlist to show people what they’re missing if they weren’t able to attend. It’s the best way to promote your next event to potential sponsors and attendees.
When you stream your events, you can reach a worldwide audience while creating brand awareness and gaining new leads, resulting in more sales. The right video streaming platform can give you access to interactive tools and analytics to help you maximize your event’s outcome.
Sonic Foundry, which created a video platform called Mediasite, dove into its analytics and found that someone watches a Mediasite video every second. Each year, 35 million hours of Mediasite video is viewed, and views grow 90 percent year over year. Video streaming adoption rates are exploding because today’s audiences demand it no matter where they are. Make sure you’ve got a solid video strategy in place for your next event to engage with your audience in the way they expect.
This article was originally published in Sales and Marketing Management earlier this month.