With virtual events, we tend to be enthralled by the novelty, the technology, the shiny platforms, and features. However, while technology is the enabler, people make the difference. A good team, including skilled experts and motivated people, is incomparable.
At the beggining of this year, the conventional thinking was that virtual events would require less effort and fewer people to organize them compared to in-person events.
Now, that assumption has been proven wrong. While virtual events are meant to be simple from a user perspective, that´s not necessarily the case for the event organizers. So, many event organizers find themselves in dire need of professionals, recruiting to find the right people to host virtual events.
In this context, we can outline the team roles that have risen to prominence and that contribute to to the smooth running of virtual events.
It is worth noting that, understandably, most organizations will not have all of these roles in-house. Some roles may be externalized to specialist agencies and some may be combined in one person.
Yet, this article can serve as a guide to the different tasks that ought to be considered when putting together a virtual event.
- Virtual Events Manager
- Professional Host and Moderator
- Virtual events marketing specialist
- Virtual events technical producer
- Virtual events technologist
- Virtual events curator
- Partnerships manager
- Virtual events designer
- Backstage ambassadors and support staff
Virtual Events Manager
This cornerstone role takes responsibility for the overall event, overseeing the different areas, and making sure team members perform well.
The manager has to be versed in all things virtual events, from the promotion to the event registration, to the technicalities of the platform in which the event is hosted, to the content, and production.
An event manager experienced with delivering in-person events is perfectly capable of adapting to this new challenge. Nonetheless, it is preferable to recruit a professional with a track record of successful virtual events.
This person has the expertise to understand what makes a great virtual event and is attentive to details to optimize the attendee experience. And, the virtual events manager is able to plan for the main obstacles in the road.
Professional Host and Moderator
The host is the public voice and face of the organization, leading the event on stage. This person should be comfortable in front of the cameras and inspire confidence.
The host typically opens the sessions, greeting the audience, and presenting the speakers. At panels, the host can also take on the role of moderator, directing the flow of the conversation.
Importantly, the host serves as a conduit between the audience and the speakers, relaying questions, and comments from the live chat. This person makes the event more interactive, engaging the attendees, and addressing them directly.
Additionally, the host needs to be able to improvise if technical problems arise or things go off plan, keeping the audience’s attention at all times.
Virtual events marketing specialist
The event marketing specialist is proficient with promotional communication. Before the event, this person drives registration, raises the industry´s awareness of the event, and ramps up the excitement.
In practice, the specialist sets up a captivating event registration form and website and communicates effective CTAs. This professional executes marketing strategies, including social media, PR, and email marketing.
During the event, he or she monitors the live polls and chat. And, this specialist identifies notable quotes from panelists and shares them on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram.
After the event, this person creates a post-event survey to gather valuable insights. He or she keeps the event conversation going and builds up a loyal base that will come back to future events.
Virtual events technical producer
The virtual event technical producer is in charge of the smooth running of the event from a technical standpoint, including the audio and video quality.
Contrasting with in-person events, the audio-visual equipment in virtual events is difficult to control. Generally, each speaker has his or her own laptop with a different microphone and camera.
That can save costs, which has been highlighted as a distinct benefit of virtual events. However, to the despair of many event organizers, it can also prove to be a nightmare. Important equipment can fail at critical times and compromise the event´s quality.
In that context, the technical producer is in charge of testing the audio-visual quality beforehand. If it proves defective, this specialist can advise on the equipment to use to produce a professional-looking session when it comes to the live event.
Crucially, event organizers are progressively introducing a hybrid format, combining both virtual and in-person aspects. In that setting, the producer is fundamental, taking charge of the broadcast that is streamed to the virtual audience.
Virtual events technologist
This person is responsible for the technological side of the event. Specifically, this specialist is highly knowledgeable in virtual event technology, including virtual event platforms, plugins, and features.
This professional is thus able to choose and implement a virtual event platform according to the event goals and the organization’s strategic objectives.
The technologist also has the skills to customize the event environment and embed integrations according to the event´s needs.
Virtual events curator
A virtual event commonly offers contrasting viewpoints and tackles different topics. Nonetheless, it has to convey an underlying message and clear takeaways for attendees.
In that context, an event curator is in charge of the agenda, including planning the content, panels, and speakers.
An event with multiple sessions has to be coherent, telling an overarching story instead of offering scattered pieces of information.
The curator ensures attendees follow a coherent journey, with every session adding to the bigger picture. A curator deals with factors such as the order of sessions and speakers´ chemistry on a panel since they can contribute to the overall experience.
To be financially sustainable, events often need the support of partners. Virtual events are no exception.
A partnerships manager is in charge of building and sustaining strong relationships with partners. He or she is able to liaise with brands and create attractive sponsorship proposals.
Additionally, the partnerships manager is responsible for delivering sponsorships assets and leveraging the power of sponsors to reach a larger audience.
Apart from sponsors, speakers can also be important partners. They should not only be restricted to appearing at a talk or panel on the event day. Indeed, speakers often have a following of their own and can tap into it to help event organizers.
So, the partnership manager creates a fruitful collaboration with speakers, boosting the event´s attendance and its standing in the industry. Beyond the event, he or she keeps in touch to secure a lasting relationship between the event organizer and speaker in the long term.
Virtual events designer
To be remembered by attendees, an impactful event brand and an appealing visual identity are essential.
The virtual events designer creates a stunning event aesthetic, combining visually striking colors, patterns, and fonts. This person conveys a consistent identity through all the event materials, making the event instantly recognizable in the eyes of attendees.
The designer works closely with the event marketing specialist, creating eye-catching promotional assets for different communication channels such as social media or email.
Video is central to virtual events and event marketing strategies. It is an incredibly effective tool in communicating an event´s unique proposition, and value as well as in drawing attendees to register.
So, a videomaker is in charge of developing impactful video content in various formats and for different uses and audiences. A videomaker should be able to bring to life the event brand identity and convey a memorable story that captures attendees´ attention.
After the event, the videomaker edits short snippets featuring the event´s highlights and memorable quotes. This can interest people that did not attend the event live and draw them to watch it on-demand.
Backstage ambassadors and support staff
Finally, a virtual events team should include ambassadors and support staff. While a host is the face of the organization on stage, these personnel engage and help attendees backstage.
To drive engagement, they can communicate directly with attendees, make them feel welcome, and ask any relevant questions.
If any technical issues or glitches arise, they can take care of each attendee individually. Naturally, they are fully knowledgeable about the platform and technical tools supporting the event.
They monitor all the sessions, breakout rooms, and sponsors’ booths to tackle issues promptly if needed. They should be good communicators, explaining the problems and reassuring attendees about solutions.
When attendees are not entirely familiar with the virtual event platform, the backstage staff can guide them through their event journey.
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