Even experienced event producers struggle with their first virtual event.
And it’s understandable: many people think that online events are easier to organize. But there are unique challenges and logistical issues that you have to face with a livestreamed show that can differ greatly from the process of planning an in-person event.
While many of the same skills are required, there’s often a learning curve when it comes to producing a professional broadcast, from managing encoder software to sorting out wifi issues with live performers.
Make your first virtual event a success by avoiding these five common pitfalls.
1. Not Testing your Streaming Service in Advance
The logistics of running an online event are NOT the same as those for in-person. It’s critically important to do a dress rehearsal (or two) beforehand, especially if you plan to have multiple entertainers or talent participate in the live stream.
Do a dry run with the whole team a week before the event to make sure everyone knows their cues, your equipment is connected and working properly, and your “stage” is set: this is your chance to experience lighting, backgrounds, and sound as your guests would. Do it again the day of your event, a few hours before showtime. This will give you time to sort out any wifi or connectivity issues before your virtual audience arrives.
And, of course, besides testing, it’s KEY to choose a streaming service that suits your needs. The good news is that Passage has its own built-in streaming platform that can easily be linked to your virtual event. If you’re not sure how this works, you can check our blog on how to live stream an event with Passage.
2. Trying to Do It All Yourself
You’d never attempt to plan an in-person event without any help, and a virtual event should be no different. Your event staff is the secret sauce that makes your events successful.
Just because your event is online doesn’t mean you’ll need less help. You need a team of volunteers or paid staff to help things run smoothly. Unless you’re already an experienced streamer, you’ll want to have an A/V expert on your team to manage the equipment you’re using, coordinate the technology needs of any artists or performers participating remotely, and troubleshoot any issues during the event so you can focus on giving your fans a great show.
Aside from a tech expert, you’ll need help getting the word out and promoting your event, too! Who’s going to manage social media and online ads? What about merchandise, sponsorship packages, or talent booking?
Event producers are experts at wearing many hats, so you might fill more than one of these roles yourself. But DON’T make the mistake many do of thinking you can handle everything on your own. Gather your team, reduce your workload, and there’ll be no need to panic.
3. Not Leaving Enough Time for Planning
There’s no venue to book and no vendors to secure, so you can plan a virtual event in a few days, right?
WRONG! While there are some things that certainly take less time with online events, you need to allow yourself and your team time to properly promote the event, secure talent, set up streaming equipment, sell tickets, and more. We recommend starting to plan your event 60 days in advance, and no fewer than 30 days, to allow sufficient time to plan a successful show.
If you’re planning to use any pre-recorded segments in your event (which we definitely recommend! It’s a great way to reduce the possibility of any tech issues during a performance), be sure to have those finalized and uploaded to the cloud well in advance of showtime. It will save you tons of headaches at the last minute. Trust us.
If you need any guidance on how to plan your event, you can check out our Virtual Event Planning Checklist to help you get started!
4. Charging the Wrong Ticket Price
Pricing your first virtual event can be a little tricky. Your fans need to see value in the cost of admission, just like they would for an in-person gig. At the same time, you need to cover your costs.
A lot of producers make the mistake of thinking that free tickets are best, but that can actually backfire. Guests feel less committed when they haven’t actually paid for a ticket, so they might be less likely to actually tune in to the live stream.
A better option is to offer pay-what-you-can tickets with a suggested price. Guests have the option to pay less if they’re in a tough spot financially or to give more if they want to really show their support.
The good thing here is that Passage’s event ticketing is SUPER flexible. Our ticketing software allows you to set ticket combos, bundles, discounts, group sales, and more. Whether you want to sell pay-what-you-can tickets or use a fixed price, we’ll make it simple. The key issue here is to find a pricing strategy that works for you and for your guests.
5. Not Recording Your Live Stream
One of the biggest advantages of a virtual event is the ability to continue earning revenue on it even after the show ends. If you’re not recording and replaying your livestream, you’re missing out on potential revenue!
When you record your event, you can make it available on Passage to guests who might have missed the show the first time around. They can purchase video-on-demand access or view a replay during specific time slots, and you can set the price however you like (we recommend a slightly lower ticket price than the live version). Some events continue to earn revenue for weeks after their show by re-playing the live stream.
And there you have it! The five most common mistakes event producers make when hosting their first online event. If you’re planning a virtual or hybrid event (whether it’s your first or your 500th), we’d love to support you in the process. Schedule an onboarding call with our support team today or start your event right away:
If you want to learn more tips and tricks for your next event, download our Event Organization Checklist for free: