How to prepare for your online conference?

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Recently, the world has moved on to radical changes in working conditions. You’ve probably had to work from home over the past year, and it hasn’t been easy to adjust to it. And how many lockdowns we will have to go through in the future is unknown, so it’s high time for businesses to master the digital format. Try not to consider online conferences as a compulsory measure, but give them a chance to “declare” your brand: let the developers conduct a presentation of a new product according to the “thing in focus” scenario, and instead of lectures of the same type, arrange an open interview with an influencer or top of the company.

Today I will provide you with a step-by-step plan on how to organize an online conference. Treat each step carefully. Managing an online conference is a difficult task that will require concentration and a lot of effort. But it’s worth it: if done right, your online school will get a lot of good PR and new clients!

Develop a strategy

Start with general planning. You need to write down a clear concept of the event, preferably in a separate document.

  • Who is the meeting for? Who is your primary target audience? It would help if you painted a few portraits of typical conference attendees.
  • What does the preparation process look like?
  • How many people will there be?
  • What are the audience’s interests and expectations?
  • Which performance do you consider to be the benchmark? Insert a specific reference with a brief explanation of why you like it.

When you have the answers to these questions, you will be able to formulate the idea of the event and start promoting.

Find speakers and prepare a program

Prepare a rough list of people that your target audience is interested in. Try to find not only famous people already practicing online speaking but also influencers in the niche. These can be administrators of active forums, company representatives publishing in specialized media, owners of large public pages, and Facebook groups. Write a letter that doesn’t just invite people to speak. Suggest the topic of their presentation, explain what problems the audience would like to solve with their presentation. Give a benefit to the speaker – define how many people you plan to attract to the conference, what kind of coverage is planned. If your format allows speakers to sell their products, let them know in your email.

The central position in the conference program should be an expert from your online school. If you are planning a meeting for several days, try to make his reports daily. Place loudspeakers in the middle or at the end of the session. Point out that deadlines may change, so viewers should be present at all talks. Be sure to mention that there will be expert feedback at the meeting. Those who will participate in the entire conference prepare a bonus – it can be an e-book, consultation, and other valuable materials. If you plan to sell recordings from the conference, mention them at the end of the program so that those who do not have time to attend the meeting itself can plan a purchase. Your program should be specific and understandable to any beginner.

Test the technical platform

It would be best if you decided in advance on which platform the conference will be held. Unlike a regular webinar, you will have to switch the main channel to speakers, so look for a platform with such capabilities. If the conference is planned to be attended by at least 30-100 people, use paid services – this will be more reliable, there is no risk that the account will stop responding at the right time. On a paid platform, you have a service aimed at conference remote interpreting, at the ability to demonstrate your presentation to foreign customers, clients and partners. Remember that during a pandemic, it is safe and relevant as never before.

Launch a promotion, make promotional materials

Promote your online conference across all channels where you can reach your target audience:

  • Make a blog post;
  • Prepare a mailing list for your subscribers – 3-4 letters with an announcement, a story about the program, detailed information about speakers and partners are enough. If possible, share functional materials in advance – so the target audience will receive confirmation of the usefulness of the conference;
  • Create a video with an invitation, post it on Youtube;
  • Make a meeting event on social networks, write a few posts with announcements and invitations;
  • Collect your landing page. A free constructor will do as well.

The conference is almost ready. Now you need to find the most critical thing – listeners. Please take a fee for participation, albeit a symbolic one. People don’t take significant events that are free of charge seriously. Try the usual monetization scheme for an online school – basic materials are sold, but there is “demo access.” Do a free webinar about the conference a week before the start of the meeting. Show the value of your expert, explain what transformation awaits the participants of the whole event.

Host a conference

Before the conference, remind all participants of the event by mailing. Make announcements the day before the meeting on all social networks. Ask speakers and partners to duplicate your recording at all venues. During the conference, broadcast live on social networks – tell interesting theses, write quotes from participants, post valuable materials. People need to understand that they are missing something important and exciting.

When the meeting is over, your work continues. Collect all webinar recordings, use some of them as promotional materials for your online school.

Final word 

Record in all channels offering to purchase webinars. Do not forget to write an eyeliner for each presentation – a short story about what the speaker said importantly. Collect feedback. Create a questionnaire in Google Forms, ask participants to rate the general organization of the conference and separately each speaker. In return, promise a small discount for your next meeting.

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