Three cancelled events. Seventy-two hours to execute. One virtual solution. Here is how you execute a top-notch digital event at pace.

The spread of COVID-19 through Spring 2020 has caused a sea change in social behaviour across the globe.

Social distancing precautions have changed the face of the events industry drastically in the short term, with some event organisers caught on the back foot by the lockdown.

When you have a planned event just weeks away, and lack a socially-responsible way to get your delegates in the same room, what do you do?

The Education and Skills Funds Agency found themselves in this predicament in March, with a run of planned workshops facing cancellation unless a solution could be found.

 

What we came up with

With days left before the workshops were set to shutter, Live Group met with the ESFA to discuss the possibility of taking their sessions into the virtual space. We proposed an engaging webinar which would still deliver their message, but in a new medium, accessible to their audience remotely wherever they chose to tune in.

 

Springing to action

Initially, our Head of Content met with the client to discuss repurposing the ESFA’s workshop materials for a digital environment. We know content which shines live may not remain compelling on a stream, so the existing sessions were tweaked to maximise their effectiveness in this new format.

Training sessions were also arranged with the scheduled speakers to ensure all involved were well-versed in best practices for on-camera delivery ahead of the day.

But even with the best speakers in the world, delivering flawlessly nuanced workshop content, the client was understandably concerned that nobody would tune-in, especially considering the rapidly evolving situation in the wider world.

Through Live Group’s outreach efforts, we were quickly able to demonstrate there would be enough interest in a webinar from attendees that the approach would be more than worth pursuing. If you build it, they will come!

Behind the scenes, our content team began construction on a bespoke hosting platform. Fully branded and designed to ESFA spec, this area would provide a place for attendees to login, take part in the workshops and interact with other viewers as needed.

 

Result

Thanks to the speedy deployment of a webinar solution, the ESFA’s original day-long workshop was able to be delivered in a focused online session, lasting just over two hours. An event, which would have been cancelled entirely, was able to be streamed to the homes of hundreds of delegates through virtual means.

Audience retention proved incredibly strong, with the average viewer tuning in for 88 per cent of the webinar’s total runtime.

Not only was the turnout above and beyond expectations, but engagement was also high. Through the Q&A function, manned by the LG team, the client believes they received more questions and queries from their delegates than they would have through a traditional event.

On the day of the live stream the platform performed flawlessly, with delegates joining the session and interacting with the speakers and their content.

Viewers were able to react directly to the speakers and their content in real time, freely expressing their views and posting their queries from the comfort of their remote locations.

There were even networking benefits, with speakers reporting an uptick in LinkedIn follows and engagement during and directly following the webinar.

COVID-19 has presented a challenge to the events industry, but it is vital we continue to forge ahead and find solutions which allow our clients to get their message out there. The feedback we received from attendees to the ESFA webinar were greatly encouraging, and reflected the sentiment: that the show must go on.

One delegate said: “It’s fabulous that you have gone ahead with the webinar today. It’s so important in these challenging times to keep our sights on this massively important change to the vocational education landscape - Well Done!”

At an attractive price point, and with the flexibility to be deployed swiftly – at a moments’ notice in this instance – the webinar was the right move for the ESFA.

And the results speak for themselves.

 

 

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