Pivot Your Event into an Online Space

Do you feel like your world has just turned upside down? Or maybe, it’s at the very least, it’s gone sideways? It’s an interesting time in our lives and businesses and some of us will need to think about ways we can pivot. Event coordinators and businesses that focus on in-person interactions might feel like they’re struggling right now.

Despite how we are working hard to flatten the curve, the truth is, this pandemic will take time to run it’s coarse. We have a couple of options, we can stress about the changes, or we can think about what we can do in the meantime to get through these times.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and governments from all around the world are closing schools and businesses, and they are canceling all types of events. Here in Wisconsin, our Governor just extended our “Safer at Home” order for another month. From concerts to conferences, we are seeing the impacts.

Our social lives, both business and personal are being affected. But more importantly, we understand the concerns, and we need to be safe and proactive to nip this thing in the bud.

So, what can we do? 

It may be time to make a pivot.


Let’s walk through some ways to pivot your event into an online space

There are so many different tools and technologies to help you make the shift to online. Even though times are crazy and pivoting online may not have been in your plan, it’s a good time to take advantage of it and to broaden your reach!

Are you wondering how you can move from an in-person event to an online event and still be able to deliver a valuable experience?

Here are a few different ideas and formats that you can adopt. Depending on your specific event, you can pick which ones best suit your needs and the event itself.


6 Ideas To Make The Shift To Online

#1: Use Social Media:

Social media platforms can certainly help you make this shift easily. You can easily set up a Facebook live to share with your audience. This also makes it really easy to create and run a social campaign for your event. You can also go live on Instagram if that is where you like to “hang out”.

IDEA: The Rising Tide is a national group with individual chapters around the country and world. Each group meets once a month, and due to current circumstances, it’s put on hold. Instead, the groups can use social media to gather their group on Facebook Live and virtually discuss the monthly topic. Below is another example of Cassie Schmidt hosting a Facebook Live about Pinterest in her FB group

#2: Workshops:

Instead of running a local workshop, you can do it online as well. You can create an event over Zoom where everyone is working on it together and sharing the experience even though everyone is in their own homes. Alternatively, you can pre-record your instructions or content and let your audience work at their own pace.

IDEA: If your workshops are usually hands-on such as a crafting event, why not mail attendees their kit and they can join you at a specified time to craft “together”!

#3: Webinars:

Webinars are another popular way that you can use to hold an event online. Traditionally, a webinar is structured with a speaker that is presenting content in some educational form. If you were planning to host an in-person event that had to be canceled, online webinars are a great alternative. There are many platforms for hosting, I am most familiar with go-to-meeting. Many platforms even allow for audience questions which you can answer during the webinar.

IDEA: One of my favorite places in Madison, Wisconsin is a wonderful place called DreamBank. They are an incredible resource to the community offering hundreds of free events. They recently started to offer their in-person events online to the public. This not only allows everyone access during these odd times, but it allows them to reach audiences all over Wisconsin and even the United States!

#4: Interesting Interviews:

With society focused on social distancing, people need to be at home. The benefit of this means that they have more time, more often bored, and will be spending a lot more time online. Why not provide them with interesting interviews that coordinate with your event. I’ve been seeing some great Q+A with well-known entrepreneurs that you wouldn’t normally have access to without going to expensive conferences. For example, I joined in on a webinar interview with Donald Miller and Rachel Hollis the other day and it was really interesting to hear their stories.

IDEA: Team up with a well-known or exciting person in your community that you could do an interview with. If your event was already scheduled to have a guest speaker, they would make a great person to interview since they are already invested in your cause/event.

#5: Virtual Happy Hours:

Are happy hour events a popular thing around the country? Or is that just a Madison, Wisconsin thing? WE DO love our beer and alcohol here in Wisco. LOL…I guess it’s in our nature. Happy Hour networking events happen in our area monthly, and if you’re an organization that holds these types of events, you could do a virtual one!

IDEA: Invite everyone to join you online with their favorite beverage and let people introduce themselves, what they do, as see where the conversation leads. (Or you could have structured topics if you want to get more focused in your conversations.) We did this with our friends over at Julia Block Marketing and it was so much fun that I forgot I was in quarantine. BONUS, our doggies all got to join the fun! (Thanks Julia for letting us share your photo below!)

#6: Create An Online Course/Class:

Creating an online course or class is not as hard as it once was. Again, there’s a lot of platforms that help you with the setup and hosting of your course. (I’ve heard of Thinkific and Teachable to name a couple) I will say, coming up with an online class is probably the most work of all these options, but it can be a really great resource moving forward and allowing you to have passive income in the future once “all this” is over. You can include interesting material for the course or class and even organize it just like you would in a local event.

IDEA: Say you had a full day event scheduled with different parts or maybe a few breakout sessions. You could create a course where attendees could go through the courses similar to how your in-person event would. Each lesson could be set up like an event’s session.

Things will get back to normal and one-day people will FLOCK to attend in-person events.

While social distancing stands, it pays to be careful. Our priorities should be continuing to stay safe and to “flatten the curve”. But let’s not forget we can add a bit of fun and creative engagement to ensure that the human connection isn’t lost. Your events can live on, you just have to think about how you can pivot your event into an online space.


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