A massive event is an enormous responsibility, so nobody wants to screw it up. By the case of the international online conference on business and technology PM GO, our PR & Employer Brand Manager Olha Safina shared tips on what to think about in advance when launching large-scale online events.
What Is PM GO! and Why Parimatch Is Holding It
Initially, PM GO! was an internal event for Parimatch Tech, but in April 2020, it went beyond a corporate event and became public.
The first "open" PM GO—PM GO 5.0—was held last April. It can be called a "Transition": we conducted a closed internal phase for the company's employees and an open external phase available to everyone. The speakers included both top managers from the company and Ukrainian and global experts (Dmitry Dubilet, the co-founder of Monobank; Koto and Smartass economist, Daniel Susskind; marketing director at Socialpoint, Dmitry Pinchuk).
The event ran for approximately 4.5 hours and attracted an audience of 4,000 people. Furthermore, the advertising campaign took place one week before the event — we saw a request for high-quality online content. We realized we were ready to make a full-fledged whole-day event with top speakers for the public.
The team approached PM GO 6.0 with a new concept and ideas. Firstly, we raised the level of the event, attracting 20 speakers to the conference. We also spent more time promoting the event, about four weeks in total.
Secondly, we maintained the thematic structure of the previous event. Reports were initially divided by topic: business, sports, technology, and future, but it became more well-defined. We selected the speakers according to the structure for each stream and topic. Finally, it was important for us to maintain a high level of engagement. Therefore, we put a special emphasis on interactive activities, Q&As, and giveaways. There were also rest breaks with live music.
What was the result? The online conference brought together nearly 6,000 virtual guests from 61 countries. From an organizational point of view, we kept the flow:
- There were no time lags
- The performances followed one another with no delay
- The picture and sound were of high quality
Parimatch goal is to help businesses cope with crises and learn how to find new opportunities and resources for transformations, not to give up, but to find solutions and learn from the experiences of established experts. This year we are looking for business cases that will show effective tools that can help us go beyond the local market and become a global player. We collect technological solutions and non-standard approaches for ourselves, and we believe they can help other companies as well. We strive to provide the audience with enthusiasm and new ideas and significant business opportunities.
Today, PM GO! is a place for communication with market leaders and exchange of experience and knowledge. The benefits include knowledge, direct dialogue, and a common platform for communicating with those whose successes we strive to emulate.
But let's go back to our tips.
Tip#1: Consciously Evaluate the Benefits You Can Get
First, events allow you to act as a host and present the expertise of your leaders and employees in any format. It gives you valuable personal contact with the audience to be helpful, engaging, and open. You can create a discussion and offer solutions, which means you can appeal to the press and social media with expert content and not just blatant advertising. It attracts the attention of the target audience using the channels that are of interest to them.
This includes both the promotion of personal brands and interaction with other experts. Besides, you put your brand in the same line with those from whom you learn and whom you are inspired by. We measure this by brand recognition, number of mentions, and overall feedback. In the long run, this affects both the hiring process and the overall reputation of the company.
Tip#2: Find Ways To Attract the Audience
It is becoming increasingly difficult to find an audience online. People are tired of screens and miss live communication. However, quarantine dictates its terms, and safety takes priority.
To encourage an audience to attend, we should inspire them with real cases, top speakers, a non-standard format, active communication during the event, and of course, helpful content with an engaging presentation.
Tip #3: Minimize the Technical Issues
As they say, the best improvisation is prepared improvisation. Therefore, it is important to plan an entire script and rehearse it to expose potential issues. Several rules will help you avoid them:
Choose a platform that is convenient for your audience. We ran PM GO 5.0 on YouTube, and there were no problems. This platform is familiar to everyone. In addition, its live stream format encourages chat and allows the user to get involved in what's happening on the screen.
Last time, we could not live stream on YouTube because of certain agreements and restrictions by our speakers, so we moved to Vimeo. Unfortunately, Vimeo didn't provide the user with opportunities for communication. The conclusion turned out to be obvious but still valuable—you need to use the platform that suits your goals and objectives. PM GO! Go Global will be live streaming on YouTube.
Work with experienced technical partners. No further comment is needed!
Prepare videos and cut-ins. The online format allows you to use video recordings, like interviews or presentations, as part of the stream. This is great because, in addition to their primary task, they will help fill the pauses and in the event of unforeseen situations.
Stream with delay. Here, you will always have two extra minutes to find solutions in case of technical failures.
Tip#4: Don't Chase 100% Engagement in a Long Event
The focus on engagement is important, but don't go over the top! To be honest, we kept this word in our heads throughout the entire preparation process for the previous conferences, and now it is one of the hardest tasks for us. We understand perfectly well that it is difficult for a viewer to watch an online conference all day, so we have used various interactive activities. This time we have provided not only giveaways and announcements but also active breaks.
The second important aspect is speakers. They have to be superb at public speaking. Therefore, it is important to include not only big names but also experienced and charismatic speakers.
The third aspect, not always obvious, is the event agenda and its clear structure. This time, we will be promoting the conference as a whole and separate blocks about technology, marketing, sports, and social responsibility. People will be able to connect only to those interesting streams and then leave. This is inevitable, but any contact is crucial for us.
The fourth aspect covers the dynamics of the event, various types of entertainment, change of performance formats. It is worth mixing the formats of presentations, reports, discussions, and interviews. The event should have a dramatic composition.
Last but not least is contact. It is important to provide your audience with enough tools for communication.
Tip#5: Find Your Recognizable Design
The style of the event and all the details are critical, so the design team needs to work meticulously and painstakingly. The design allows you to convey not only information but also the level of the event itself.
Tip#6: Choose the Type of Promotion
We use several tools and channels for promoting the event: social networks, partner media, mailings, publications in media, telegram channels, google advertising, and collaboration with opinion leaders. These tools are effective in varying degrees, but the leaders are Facebook and Instagram.
Tip#7: Measure the Effectiveness of the Event
For example, we use several metrics, from the number of registrations to the number of online viewers and the number of views after the stream ends. We also assess the performance based on the number of mentions and the quality of reviews and feedback from viewers and speakers.
These tips may be simple, but they work. Join us at the PM GO “Go Global!” on the 14th of May and make sure.