An interesting article over on the PR News Online web site provides some hard-won guidelines for conducting virtual press events.
The timely advice is mainly shared by seasoned corporate communications professionals who were forced to transition to more creative online solutions to reach the media, as well as critical target audiences. However, their insights apply equally to any company, NPO or government agency that are increasingly leaning on virtual conferencing technologies to reach audiences with critical, timely or sensitive information.
Let’s unpack the advice and pointers that were given and see what they might tell us about the changing realities of communicating with key audiences around the world (or in your own community) in a post-pandemic world.
Right off the bat was the interesting, almost off-hand remark made that many members of the media now actually prefer participating in these events from the comfort of their own desks. People have gotten much more comfortable with online conferences and calls, but with that also comes a “raised bar” in terms of how these events are managed. Participant engagement opportunities, well-ordered Q & A experiences and decreased waiting times to join virtual events are all becoming expected.
A second takeaway from the article is that increasingly, a single conferencing platform or technology may not be enough to smoothly manage an interactive, multi-audience virtual event. Sharing a simple Zoom or Webex link may be adequate for some events, but for conferences where the audience is wider (or international), or if there is a need to capture recordings and transcripts to distribute later, you may need a combination of technologies to get the job done.
Once you have more than one platform or function to manage, that’s when partnering with a managed conferencing service becomes an attractive and smart option. While you focus on preparing and delivering your content, you can rely on “conferencing as a service” experts to:
- Ensure that all of your audio and video connections are functioning properly
- Moderate your virtual event from end to end
- Manage any interactivity you may require during the event, such as Q&A sessions or live video presentations
- Provide recording and transcription services for distribution afterwards
- Report on conference participation and engagement levels
With press events, for obvious reasons, managing Q&A sessions and participation from those in attendance is particularly important, and critical if the information you are sharing is urgent (public health concerns or disaster response situations such as hurricanes or earthquakes). Government agencies, municipalities and organizations all over the globe learned during the pandemic year of 2020 how important virtual events were to their overall communications strategies – and how critical it is to pull them off without hiccups, interruptions and lost connections.
A final point the article emphasized was the importance of communication among presenters and organizers during the event, and of conducting practice runs leading up to the conference itself. Again, this is another area where being able to rely on a seasoned partner to manage these aspects – to communicate with your speakers/hosts and your audience members on separate lines, and to assign a personal event producer to manage both your “dry run” and your actual event for you – gives you the freedom to focus on your message and get it exactly right.
At Intellor, we routinely manage press events for businesses, government agencies (including 9 out of 15 cabinet-level departments) and NPOs across 5 continents, who trust us to deliver conferencing experiences without compromises. For organizations that are increasingly reliant on virtual communications technologies to deliver their mission-critical messages to the audiences that matter, you can save yourself a lot of stress and protect your reputation by talking to Intellor today.