virtual event checklist

Virtual Event Planning: Checklist by an Award-Winning Agency

Planning a large virtual event? Here's a virtual event planning checklist from an award-winning agency. Follow this guide to make the most of the virtual format, from increasing reach, accessibility, interactivity, sponsor value, and driving post-event results.
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The Only Virtual Event Checklist You'll Need

Are you ready to take on the world of virtual events? While they may seem like a cheaper alternative to in-person events, they require just as much effort and organization. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this tried and tested virtual event planning checklist. 

Whether you’re a seasoned event planner or new to the game, this checklist will make sure your virtual event is a hit.

Virtual Events Are Cheaper, But Not Necessarily Easier

Planning a successful, large-scale online event like a conference, summit, or symposium is no small task. It can be daunting on the first go-around.

But as virtual events have become more commonplace, they’ve proven themselves as the best way to engage with your audience even after physical gatherings become possible. This is because virtual event technology and production have rapidly evolved. There is no better time to incorporate virtual events in your organization’s strategy.

a video production studio during a virtual event

Get Our Best Tips From Planning Award-Winning Virtual Events

The below event checklist can act as your roadmap to designing engaging and sustainable virtual events.

We’ve attempted to be budget-agnostic, trusting that anyone reading this has an educated sense of how much or little outside help they would need.

Our collective experience at We & Goliath reflects that of our clients: nonprofits, unions, green business, health & wellness, music festivals and more (i.e., we gravitate to clients we love working for). We’ve been in the shoes of most people reading this. We hope our value add as consultants, producers, and event tech experts makes this the only checklist you need to read.

Benefits of Virtual Events

You’re probably already aware of the main benefits of going (and getting good at) virtual events: It’s so much cheaper than in-person. Plus, it can provide you with better returns and an expanded reach. You can leverage data in new ways – and indeed, event platforms are developing features based on the behaviors that their clients want to measure – and maximize the outcomes. Also, there’s reduced environmental footprint.

Here are a few more specific benefits to consider…

With a virtual event, you can:

✔️ Target your specific audience around the world
✔️ Track the popularity of sessions
✔️ Get data on attendee behavior
✔️ Know which sessions attendees visited
✔️ Set custom registration fields
✔️ Score leads
✔️ Create polls and quizzes
✔️ See location, demographics, and attendance rate
✔️ Download chats and recordings
✔️ Get real-time feedback and more

You don’t need to:

❌ Plan and spend on travel 
❌ Look for venues
❌ Pay for the venue
❌ Allot costs for stage design
❌ Spend on event decor
❌ Pay for expensive sound setup
❌ Plan and spend on food and entertainment
❌ Commit to unreasonably expensive “hotel blocks”

If you’re ready to reap the benefits of organizing virtual events, keep reading.

NOTE: This is an interactive checklist – just click on each item to check it off as you go through your virtual event planning process.

Plan with Strategic Event Objectives in Mind

Here are a few starting points to help guide you through the process of thinking big picture at the outset of your event planning.

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance
(say that five times fast)

Tip: Request a free consultation with our event marketing experts to help you start planning early on, and avoid mistakes that could cost you significant time, energy, engagement, and revenue.

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Positioning Your Virtual Event

Positioning your event is a creative process. And like most creative processes, they risk becoming open-ended, inconclusive at worst. One central question to help reel it all back in: Why should people invest their time and money at your event? With that said, consider the following:

Tip: Talk more about your audience than yourself. Don’t just describe WHAT your event is/WHO you are, but also the WHY, for WHO, and HOW it will improve their lives. Then set out to solve their problems.

Create A Content Plan

At virtual events, content drives attendance. It is the core of the event and makes up the bulk of the attendee experience. So, when planning your event content, always go for quality over quantity. A strong content plan will not only help you determine what type of technology your virtual event needs, but it also makes up the foundation for your event’s success.

Tip: Remember the moving parts of event planning, especially those that are beyond your control, like when a new speaker or sponsor decides to come on board. Use those to your advantage in content planning. Every moving part is an opportunity for a new promotional content push.

event team brainstorming content ideas

Find the Best Event Platform and Technology

Event technology comes in many forms, sizes and price tags. This is because every event has its own twist, and technology vendors are constantly upping their game to accommodate the latest trends.

Tip: Some event consultants (like us!) not only know this software inside and out but have already invested in licenses that offer better rates than going directly to the software providers.

Design Compelling Event Marketing Materials

The decisions you make around design collateral for your event will impact the way people perceive and interact with the event’s purpose. It’s about more than marketing and promotion. Smart design facilitates the timelessness of your cause or vision, as your audience engages with post-event video recordings, highlight reels, follow up emails, social content — and even follow up events! Consider this as you address each of the following design milestones:

Tip: Consistency is the basis of professional branding. Create all content marketing assets well before your promotion drive.

graphics designer working on an illustration using a tablet

Compile an Inspirational Conference Speaker List

Your speakers might be THE most important aspect of your event’s content. These boxes are not to be checked lightly…

Tip: Speakers are often your best promoters – aim to bring on speakers with large email lists and give them all the tools they need to spread the word.

Easy starting packages • Advanced options • Proven results

Find Influential Event Sponsors

Your approach to acquiring sponsors should follow many of the same guidelines listed above for speakers. Here are a few stand-out points where you want to dedicate much of your efforts:

Tip: Start small and build up – big sponsors don’t want to be first to the party. Offer your first sponsors a low (or free!) bar for entry.

Ready, Set — Production!

Virtual events have unique AV and technological needs. We recommend partnering with a virtual event production company that is familiar with the ins and outs.

event producer with multiple computer screens

Apart from this, schedule your preliminary virtual event rehearsal. This helps you determine if something else is lacking from your event flow. A few more rehearsals should still follow this one to ensure that all elements work well together.

Create an Impactful Event Promotion Strategy

Your speakers and sponsors can be invaluable in promoting your event and generating buzz. 

In fact, they can often be your best advocates.

Tip: Your speakers and sponsors are often also your best promoters – give them all the tools they need to spread the word.

Send Timely Event Reminder Emails and Texts

Maximize attendance with a multi-channel reminder campaign. Leverage marketing automation software to schedule personalized email, text, phone, and/or ringless voicemail reminders.

reminder emails and event marketing campaigns

Training & Support

Depending on the complexity of your software and the technical experience level of your speakers, staff, and attendees, you may need to provide additional training and support to ensure that everyone is comfortable with the virtual platform. 

Tip: Create a knowledgebase for your event that provides a single place where staff, volunteers, speakers and even attendees can get automated answers and submit questions.

During the Event

Once the day of your virtual event arrives, it’s time to put all of your planning into action. During the event, it’s important to stay on top of any issues that arise and keep everything running smoothly.

event planner activities on the day of the event

Don’t Forget Post-Event Promotion

After hosting an event, it’s easy to think that the hard work is over, but it’s important to remember that post-event promotion is just as crucial. This is the time to capitalize on the momentum generated during the event and continue to engage with attendees, sponsors, and partners.

Tip: Based on your goals from the Planning phase, pre-schedule a follow-up campaign including messages, events, and actions that build on your momentum and drive towards your desired results.

Engagement

Stay in touch with post-event follow-up emails, upcoming conference(s), community, and/or offers. Reach out to the community that you created during your conference. Create an online presence for your organization or brand for engagement post-event. Create a blog, website, or other digital platforms where people can find information about your organization, events, and services. Here are just a few creative event marketing strategies to reach out to your attendees.

someone pointing at a laptop computer screen with a chart of event data on it

Analyze Event Data

Collect data from a feedback survey and make notes on how to improve your future conferences. The feedback will help you see what was the most successful, what needed improvement, and what did not get audience engagement.

Many times it is easy to get so caught up that you cannot see what really works for your attendees. Reviewing analytics, post-event survey questions, a speaker feedback survey, and follow-up engagement can give you a concrete overview of the success of your conference.

Repurpose Engaging Content

Convert your videos into other formats to maximize overall engagement. Videos can become valuable assets that not only highlight your organization and the conference post-event but will offer an opportunity to build community and audience engagement for months or even years to come. Some video content has “evergreen” value, meaning your marketing team can repurpose it for marketing and future events.

Video content should always be an integral part of your post-event strategy.

Take that extra time needed to capture highlights and special moments. Don’t forget the value of testimonials, candid reels of audience engagement, and other key moments that make social media gold.

PRO TIP: Even if you don’t have a big video production budget for multiple professional videographers, take advantage of candid video clips uploaded to Instagram or TikTok by attendees as a way to not only highlight your conference but to increase overall engagement with your attendees post-event. Share these video clips with your hashtag on your official social media accounts, give a big shout-out to the original poster, and even host a fun social media contest for the best TikTok. You will be amazed at how much traction a single viral video can get once it’s circulating online. Don’t forget that by uplifting your community members, you help everyone all the way around. Now that’s making an impact!

Don’t Download This Virtual Event Checklist

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And… You’re Off!

There is no one-size-fits-all formula to making your virtual event a smashing success. That said, we’re confident that if you address all the relevant points in this checklist, you will at least avoid mishaps, and pre-empt game-changing uh-ohs. Lots of hyphens there.

But wait! Your virtual event planning is quite far from over. There is a world of strategy, calculation, technology, and storytelling to leverage during and after your event. Virtual events are like email marketing on steroids: They have become a staple marketing channel. They are the fabric of brand-building, social movements, and problem solving.

If you know you need a virtual event production partner for an upcoming event, wait no further and contact us here. If you made it this far into our literature, we owe you a free strategy session.

Thank you for diving into our world. #OnwardWeGo

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We practice what we preach — and we deliver.

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Let our event experts help you decide which platform and production style are right for you, and how to attract the audience, speakers and sponsors you need to succeed.

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