Virtual events: full of value, awesome content, and lots of work to execute. Putting all that effort into a one-time event is certainly worth it but you need to know how to repurpose a virtual event...that’s when the value skyrockets…
When our client, SaaS marketing company, Metadata, decided to launch their ambitious first virtual event, DEMAND, they wanted to ensure their event content would generate results over time – and be more than just a one-hit-wonder.
Metadata’s Head of Brand & Product Marketing, Mark Huber, joined me to share the lessons learned from embarking on such an immense project, why repurposing the virtual event was part of their game-plan from day one, and his tips for executing a virtual event.
Press play to listen to our conversation…
Or watch some of the highlights from our discussion…
Or read on for the top takeaways…
What is a virtual event?
Obviously, I know you know what a virtual event is, the name gives it away – an event held virtually.
And, I’m sure you’ve been invited to and seen marketing for many virtual events. Especially since 2020. Maybe you’ve attended a few.
For businesses, virtual events present a brilliant opportunity to connect with their audience in a new way.
There’s a lot of flexibility with how a virtual event can run. So for example it could be…
- Live or pre-recorded videos (or audio only...rare but not unheard of)
- Sessions are presented solo, interview-style or a panel discussion
- A series of webinars
- A series of livestreams
While virtual events replaced live, in-person events at the height of the pandemic, many businesses saw huge benefits of taking their events online, including greater worldwide reach, more speaker availability, lower cost, and more content versatility.
Research indicates that in the near future 40% of all events will be virtual, 24% will be hybrid (a mix of in-person and online) and just 36% will be in-person only.
So they’re not going anywhere fast!
Marketers in particular have been keen to work out just how virtual events can be part of their playbook going forward. Of course, the really savvy marketers are also working out how to repurpose a virtual event for maximum ROI!
Something Mark Huber knows all about…
How to repurpose a virtual event
Embarking on an immense project like a virtual event requires a solid strategy and an experienced team to ensure seamless execution.
Metadata’s marketing team consisted of just three people. So investing all that time and effort into creating only one day of content needed to have a strong business case. Mark shared that while Metadata wanted to pull off an industry-leading virtual event, they needed to make it worthwhile beyond just the live event itself – that’s where repurposing came in.
Their event consisted of 11 recordings – making one bumper virtual event, DEMAND. Mark and his team devised a repurposing plan that would give them enough content to distribute for at least five months after the event.
“This was unheard of for a team our size. The content then allowed us to continue to stay in front of the audience that we had built through this event.”
When you have a small marketing team and big ambitious plans with your content, it’s often time to look at outsourcing/bringing in specialist external support. We’re proud to have played a key role in the repurposing of Metadata’s DEMAND event.
With our Event 10x service we repurposed each of these recordings into:
- Fully edited YouTube videos, complete with engaging thumbnails and descriptions
- A range of scroll-stopping social media videos
- Blog posts covering the key takeaways from every session
Mark and his team could then drip-feed this content to their audience in the months after the event to keep the conversation going and retain that front-of-mind position.
The best types of content to repurpose your virtual event into
If your virtual event consists of videos, you’ve got the best type of content for repurposing.
But just because you can repurpose it to every format and platform, doesn’t mean you should.
The best repurposing approach is to look at where your audience are online and what content they want to see from you. If they like video content, make sure you share all the best bits on video-friendly platforms, like Instagram. If they prefer podcasts, strip out the audio and create something they can listen to! Or perhaps they prefer reading the key takeaways? A blog post might be more suitable.
Having a range of different types, such as videos and text content, is a good way to test different formats and meet what your audience needs in the moment. Mark put it nicely when he said:
“We wanted to make sure that, as we were repurposing content, we were catering to different ways that people like to consume content.”
So, what did Mark learn from this epic virtual event and repurposing project?
5 Lessons on Running & Repurposing a Virtual Event
1. Start with the content – not the speakers
It can be really easy to get wrapped up in presenting what you want to present with a virtual event, but Mark says to start with the content your audience will find helpful. Then you can work out how to use that content to lead them to your business.
Virtual events have a huge impact on relationship-building, and getting audiences to know, like, and trust you. So, like with all marketing, while you need to be thinking about your audience’s wants and needs, you also need to think about how you can use these to create pipeline.
The biggest mistake virtual event planners make, according to Mark, is planning who they want to speak at their virtual event before planning what the content is about.
A great speaker will be able to talk about a lot of topics in their area of expertise, so it’s important to be prescriptive about what you want them to speak on.
The other danger is that you rely on people already known for speaking on X topic in your industry. You may run the risk that your event isn’t bringing anything new to the industry and is just recycling what everyone has heard before at other events, webinars, etc.
Focusing on content first will help you decide topics that support your agenda and content strategy. Plus, you’ll get talks that are unique to your brand. In turn, you’ll get more out of the content in the long run, and provide a better attendee experience.
2. Break the mould
I mentioned at the beginning of this post how flexible virtual events can be, and you can use this to your advantage.
Metadata had never hosted a virtual event before which played to their advantage. It meant they had a blank canvas to play with instead of having to stick to a particular structure. Mark says:
“We reimagined what would be a virtual event that we ourselves would want to attend.”
Mark encourages you to think like an attendee, rather than thinking like an event planner. What would your ideal virtual event attendee experience look like? How can you create an event that facilitates that?
Don’t be afraid to do things differently or approach your event with a new, creative mindset.
3. Record sessions ahead of time
Initially, Mark had reservations about recording sessions ahead of the virtual event, rather than hosting them live on the day.
But with 11 sessions planned and 20 speakers, it would have been a logistical nightmare to record live in one day!
Ultimately, there were many more benefits to pre-recording the sessions, such as:
- Being more flexible to get their ideal speakers
- Repurposing clips for promotion ahead of time
- Having presenters available in the live chat to answer questions
All of these contributed to a much better audience experience – and wouldn’t have been possible if sessions were recorded live!
4. Have a proactive repurposing strategy
A mistake Mark saw other B2B SaaS companies making with their virtual events was setting and forgetting their content.
Publishing the recordings a few days or a week after your event is all well and good, but that’s more of a responsive strategy, rather than a proactive repurposing strategy.
Mark wanted to maximize the event content as much as they could. Working with our Content 10x team, they had shareable social media assets, blog posts, videos, and more that they could distribute before and after the event, eking out more value over a much longer period of time.
5. Repurpose your virtual event playbook for other content
Mark and his team took on board all the valuable content lessons they learned from their virtual event venture, and have applied them to their next big content move: their new podcast – Demand Gen U.
They’ve taken staples such as recording video as well as audio content, and creating with repurposing in mind, and applied them to their video podcast strategy – including working with a repurposing partner, us!
We help repurpose each video podcast episode, with our service, Video 10x. Taking this weekly repurposing project off their hands means the team at Metadata can keep producing and distributing awesome original content for longer and have more time to work on their next big event…!
To hear more about Metadata’s virtual event project, listen to my full discussion with Mark. Just scroll to the top of this post and press play on the podcast player, or listen on your favorite podcast app.
You can check out the DEMAND 2021 event content here, find out more about Metadata, or connect with Mark on LinkedIn.If you want help with your virtual or hybrid event repurposing, (just like Mark and Metadata) then get in touch to find out what we can do for you. Or check out our range of services to see what other repurposing options we offer!